October 23, 2020 – Kingston, Jamaica) – Get ready for a Whole Lotta Lovin’..the title of Papa Michigan’s new five-track EP. The EP is released on Michigan’s own Rashanco Music label and distributed worldwide by Tuff Gong International. It includes a remake of his 1981 hit song of the year “Diseases” and the classic “Nice Up The Dance.”
When asked “why now?” Papa Michigan answers, “It’s that relevance that makes it the right time to redo “Diseases” now in my original trademark ‘tongue-twisting’ style of delivery. Michigan has had a strong motivation to do this project and had an eclectic producer and a group of musicianship in mind at the beginning way before the pandemic hit. During the early worldwide lockdown period, however, what really caught his attention was, it took very little for the irony of writing a very special song 40 years ago to come to light in a massive way. Plus for his songs to remain so relevant. today.
Papa Michigan’s song “Jamaica Dance” was the second-place winner in Jamaica’s 2020 Festival Song Competition behind Buju Banton’s “I Am A Jamaican” (August 2020). Papa Michigan continues to be a high profile entertainer and has been featured recently in numerous TV, radio, and newspaper features such as The Jamaica Observer, the Jamaica Gleaner, TVJ, and the TVJ Museum.
Ethan ‘Sir Sultry’ Margolis:
“I produced, arranged, played, and co-wrote on my brother Papa Michigan new EP: Whole Lotta Lovin’. We redid his biggest hits “Diseases” and “Nice Up The Dance” and added a Peter Tosh cover plus two originals. Papa Michigan is one of the founding artists of dancehall in Jamaica, and Michigan and Smiley and Yellowman are considered major influencers for so much of what we hear today. It is a total pleasure to support roots creators and artists who paved the way for contemporary beats and rhymes….not to mention that his song “Diseases” was more than prophetic 40 years ago when it was written. ‘Flabba’ Holt, Desi Jones, and Mitchel Forman all added to this killer stew. Artwork by my uber-talented dude Tazroc. Please check it out, and note the differences in the street feel of roots riddim and a pure Jamaican sound!”
The Los Angeles-based producer offers a hi-fi meets classic-street production approach for this 2020 EP. The five-song EP started with an impromptu visit amongst friends by Sir Sultry to Papa Michigan’s home in Portmore, Jamaica. The two artists, who had worked together before, quickly decided to take advantage of the time in Jamaica and record the rhythm tracks. They chose Anchor Studios for the original sessions engineered by Fatta and Sir Sultry. The music for the sessions were arranged within three days, and the drum and bass tracks were recorded in three hours before Sir Sultry returned to Los Angeles.
From that point, the EP took a year and a half to finish as it quickly progressed into a complex musical production with high profile session artists in Los Angeles. Sir Sultry never wanted to lose the roots focus on the tradition of Jamaican dancehall and reggae, but it was important to do something unique with a different sound. At the album’s core, all of the songs are devoid of digital sampling and include musical performances by some of Jamaica and Los Angeles’s finest musicians. On four of the five songs, Errol ‘Flabba’ Holt of the Roots Radics band plays bass along with the award-winning Desi Jones on drums. Sir Sultry arranged and co-wrote on the EP as well as playing guitar on all of the songs. The production concept was aimed at glorifying an older, classic-sounding mix with new hi-fi effects and modern arrangements. The EP was mastered in New York by the award-winning Greg Calbi of Sterling Sound.
The Cover artwork was created by Los Angeles artist, TAZROC, known for his work on Kobe Bryant’s LA Lakers Car gifted by Snoop Dog. The artwork depicts Papa Michigan ‘deejaying’ outside at a beach that symbolically represents Hellshire Beach in Jamaica.
WHOLE LOTTA LOVIN’:
1. Nice Up The Dance was the song of the year, 1979 by the duo Michigan and Smiley. Its beat was composed by Clement Dodd. Papa Michigan has been performing this song for 41 years and It has always been a crowd favorite.
2. Whole Lotta Lovin’ is a modern reggae song that has a wonderful hook and is supported by outstanding female background vocals and a feature female vocal by Emi Secrest, background vocalist for Kanye West, John Legend and Christina Aguilera. Sir Sultry and Michigan worked hard together to find a seamless bridge between a reggae beat with Spanish guitars and lush melodic vocals. Original music and arrangement by Sir Sultry.
3. No Commitment was written by Papa Michigan after learning of a story about a university student who was committed to finish her education regardless of her financial constraints. It’s production style and musical composition falls between the musical genres of Reggae, Bossa Nova, and Flamenco. Original music and arrangement by Sir Sultry.
4. Diseases came out in 1981 and is perhaps Michigan’s biggest song to date. It feels almost prophetic in the current year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was originally written by Michigan, performed by Michigan and Smiley, and produced by Henry ‘Jungo’ Lawes for the Volcano record label. It became a massive reference for dancehall and reggae beats, melodies and rhymes. Diseases has influenced more songs and artists than one will ever know.
5. “Till Your Well Runs Dry” was written by Peter Tosh. Papa Michigan knew Peter Tosh personally and met him at the beginning of Michigan’s career 42 years ago. They also performed at festivals together in Jamaica. Papa Michigan states that Peter gave him important advice in his early days with regards to the right musical career path. As a result, this song is Michigan’s tribute to Peter Tosh. Sir Sultry chose this specific Tosh song because he felt that Michigan would do a wonderful job with an acoustic cover of Peter’s delivery and poetic message. The feeling incorporates Peter Tosh’s essence with the background of a nylon string Spanish guitar.