ATX Sound System: April 4, 2019

Today we return with a round-up of new tracks for April. You can check these out (and more) on our Austin Reggae Fest Playlist on Spotify.

Marla Brown: “Hello”

If the last name is familiar, it’s because Marla is the daughter of reggae legend Dennis Brown and Yvonne Brown (aka Yvonne Special). Originally born in the UK, Marla mostly grew up in England, where she was heavily involved in the arts from early on (she’s toured Europe as a dancer, model, singer, and even appeared on the UK television show “Britain’s Got Talent”), but has recently been spending more time in Jamaica. Her recent singles (“Trigger”, “One Time”), both released on the family’s Golden Brown label, have been radio-friendly affairs, and new one “Hello” is no exception. An ideal blend of modern dancehall, afrobeats and pop. One to watch in 2019.

The Up Top Boss draws his breaks and slows things down for an unexpectedly laid-back, gospel-tinged jam that celebrates the blessing of life and the power of staying positive and grateful for simply being alive. Perhaps the sweetest and most life-affirming two and a half minutes you’ll hear this week.

Since the end-of-year announcement that Popcaan was officially signed to Drake’s OVO label starting in 2019, we’ve seen 10+ new tracks surface from Poppy already this year, albeit none on OVO yet. One gets the feeling they may be clearing out the proverbial ashtrays of all the stuff that’s been sitting in the can in preparation for some sort of career relaunch by Drake’s team. Whether or not that’s the case, there have been a couple of gems in this batch, particularly the tracks with producer Dunwell. We wrote briefly about rising star Mario Dunwell last month (he produced the new single from Unruly signing Quada, as well as producing the recent Supreme Riddim). Among the four tracks he’s released with Popcaan this year, latest singles “ReDress” and “Unstoppable” are both winners.

Determined to be dancehall’s next queen, Shenseea has rarely put a foot wrong since bursting onto the scene a couple of years ago. So, we’re relieved to see her back on form with this new single following the release last month of “I Can” (with Ding Dong), a disappointingly-overcooked attempt at air-punching sing-along summer anthem. Produced in-house by her manager Romeich Major, this is the Shenseea we know and love.

Jamaican singer Alaine Laughton usually leans a little MOR for our taste but her latest single caught our attention for a couple of reasons: Tapping into Ghana’s hot dancehall scene, she’s not only brought in Stonebwoy for guest vocals, but the tune itself comes courtesy of in-demand Ghanaian producer Willisbeatz (aka William Osafo), best known for being the hand behind many of Shatta Wale’s recent hits. (On a side note, it’s also kind of amusing, given the recurring feud between Stonebwoy and Wale, to see Stone working with the latter’s producer.) Meanwhile, Alaine has also turned up on a couple of fresh riddims this past month: The tasty Kingston Riddim (“Man Crush Everyday”) and St Andrew Riddim (“You Give Me Hope”), both via Chimney Records.

 

Click here to hear all the dub sounds we have been listening to the last few days.