A Dj warrior from the nineties Dancehall experience, Kashif Omar Downs, battled at a time when the music industry was a cut – throat business. He fought his way on the music scene with the overwhelming power of his voice and bar over bar style.
Born on February 6th, (the celebrated earth-strong of the legendary King of Reggae, Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley) in Port Maria, St. Mary, Kashif attended the Port Maria Primary School before journeying to Kingston. As a young adult, he learnt a trade inauto-body repairs; however his lifelong ability to deejay, much to the delight of his family and his community audience was expounded upon at several studios in Kingston including King Tubbys, Jammys, Penthouse and Black Scorpio (the epitome of Studio One music). Eventually Black Scorpio became his studio-base and there he did his juggling between career choices.
Kashif became Cush Hunta in the years that followed. It was while honing his skills; he met and formed a relationship with established Reggae Artiste/Producer, Sugar Roy. Together they released Cush’s first single “Kotchulla” on the Ratchet Riddim. The single enjoyed much success in the underground, where he gained a loyal and supportive fan base and this spurred him to seek the attention of the main stream media outlets; a decision which reaped instant success with the production of his first hit song “Greens”. The song speaks to the many debates regarding a Rastaman vegetarian and non vegetarian preferences and Cush stood his ground with his beliefs that the Rastaman does not eat just vegetables; Cush sang, “Rasta nah feed pon greens alone, ital stew, veggie chunks nuh carry bone”. The independently produced single on the Dollar Sign.
Productions Label made a big impact on the local music industry and got regular rotation on the major local Reggae radio station, Irie FM. Encouraged by the overwhelming response to “Greens,” Cush began to partner with various producers and collaborated with artists of a diverse appeal. His continuous efforts created opportunities for him to perform on major local shows such as; Cure Fest,a welcome concert produced by the Management Company of Reggae artiste Jah Cure on his release from prison after 10 years and Rebel Salute in 2007 (an annual reggae festival produced by popular Reggae artiste Tony Rebel). Cush however found that handling his own affairs and creating music was tedious so he sought management.
In March 2009 Cush Hunta approached Calvin Hunter, a young Banking Executive who managed a branch of a local bank in Kingston and passionate about getting involved in the local music industry. They both resided in the Allman Town community in Kingston and had developed a friendship through football and music. Bitten by the music bug, Calvin Hunter then formed the Cornerstone Productions Limited with Darlton Fuller (a life long friend and music enthusiast in Canada) and together they started to manage Cush. This strategic partnership saw a rejuvenation of Cush’s career after a 1 year hiatus from the limelight. There was instant success as Cush made an impressive ‘come back’ on the music scene with the release of a comical follow up to his “Greens” single; entitled ‘Mawga Bwoy’. Cush’s management team quickly shot a video for the song which got more rotation than his previous single as other local stations picked it up and was spinning it in prime time slots.
It was now time to get as much exposure for the artiste and this was strategically planned and executed. It began with the local reggae show ‘Giants of the 80s’, an event held in 2009 that showcased popular Reggae artistes who gained prominence during the 1980’s. Cush followed up with a cameo appearance at Celebrity Wet-Wet (a one time local event), the annual major Dancehall show Fully Loaded and Appleton Temptation Isle (another popular annual event held in the tourist resort parish of Jamaica, Westmoreland).
Corner Stone Productions involvement in Cush’s career came at an opportune time. It brought about significant changes as the focus extended from just making music to personal growth, an important aspect in the life of any artiste whose ambition is to reach for the stars. Cush Hunta under the stewardship of his management company spent many months interacting with industry insiders and the local media. He did a host of interviews and social interactions, attended press launches and other media blitz events, performed at outside radio broadcasts, school events, corporate road shows and many other events of extreme importance to shaping his career. The partnership between Cush and Cornerstone Productions further lead to two major accomplishments in 2009;
August 2009, Cush made his debut international performance where he shared stage with veterans Marcia Griffiths, John Holt and Ken Boothe at the prestigious Reggae Giants Show in Canada. His performance was well received and the feedback positive feedback, since then Cush’s management team decided to make Canada an area of focus.
Cush Hunta second major achievement in 2009 came after being selected as one of the promising Reggae artistes to perform in a special segment at the highly anticipated staging of STING by the promoters of the annual event. Cush’s management team used the opportunity to further pave the way for his prominence in 2010 by initiating a promotional campaign leading up to the show. Cush did not disappoint the over 20,000 strong audience with an outstanding performance on that event. After the success at STING in December 2009, Conerstone Production re-shuffled its objective focusing on the desired market to shop Cush’s music. Although Jamaica is the capital of Reggae music worldwide, unfortunately this does not translate to good record sales and as such the International market became the main focus. Conerstone Productions Limited dropped its first single for Cush Hunta created with an international audience in mind. The single entitled, “No Skylarking” is a collaborated effort between the reigning Queen of Reggae, Marcia Griffiths and young rapper Phaze Kryme from Triple L Records in Jamaica. No Skylarking is a remix of the late Coxson Dodd/Studio One hit originally done by Horace Andy. On its release the song immediately captured the attention of a few radio jocks in the United States and Canada. The roots, rock, reggae format, fused with an American Hip-Hop flavor was created to attract the attention of both the US and European markets. No Skylarking somewhat describes the mode of the artiste and his intention for the future.
Cornerstone Productions Limited later entered into a major 5 year deal with local music distribution company MSE (Media, Sports and Entertainment) Limited to distribute the single through its corporate partnerships with operations in 29 regions around the world. MSE covers New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Kolkata, Johannesburg, Moscow, Prague, Mexico City, Melbourne, Paris, Milan, Athens, Berlin, Barcelona, Nairobi, Lagos, Sao Paula and the list goes on. Each office is said to be extended to give a global scope. Thereafter, Cornerstone Productions Limited negotiated yet another successful deal/arrangment for its artiste Cush Hunta. The company released another single with chart topping, current International Reggae/Dancehall Artiste Gyptian, entitled “Love Confessions.
The foundation has been laid as Cush Hunta prepares himself mentally and physically to win the hearts of Reggae music fans across the globe.