This week, we’ve had the surprise new mixtape from Deadly Dragon Sound in heavy rotation. Deadly Dragon is a sound system that originated in Chicago in the 1990s before relocating to New York City in the 2000s. Their Chinatown record shop was a mecca for serious collectors and selectors (before rising rents forced its closure in 2016), and their weekly residencies at various downtown clubs became a centerpiece of New York’s reggae scene. Thankfully, Deadly Dragon’s founder, Scratch Famous, still dips into his massive collection a few times each year to bless us with a new mixtape. Several years ago, he created one devoted to so-called “gunman” tunes called “Year of The Gun”. While gun imagery goes way back in Jamaica (think: “The Harder They Come” film), it certainly hit a peak in the 90s when dancehall began taking cues from American gangsta rap. Scratch’s “gun tune” mix was both popular and controversial upon its release in 2004. Some challenged that he was glorifying Jamaica’s pervasive gun violence, while others commended its’ in-depth chronicle of this long-running theme in Jamaican music. Well, it seems Scratch decided to start off 2019 with a bang (ahem), surprising everyone with a follow-up mix, some 15 years later, called “Year of the Gun Part 2”. For this one, he’s dug even deeper than before, assembling a collection of rare gunman vinyl cuts from artists such as Junior Cat, Spragga Benz and Ricky General that is all at once silly, scary, entertaining and fascinating.
This Week’s Austin Reggae Fest Spotify Playlist
Click here to hear the dub sounds we have been listening to the last few days.