Better known for his sharp-spitting rhymes on hardcore dancehall hits like “Tic Toc” (remixed by M.I.A. and Rye Rye) and “Wine Pon De Edge”, Busy Signal emerges as a charismatic roots reggae artist on his forthcoming album “Reggae Music Again”, out mid-april (check dates above) on VP Records.
A stark departure from the sequenced beats that dominated Busy’s three previous albums, the intricate, multi-layered one-drop rhythms heard on “Reggae Music Again”were created by some of Jamaica’s most acclaimed musicians (Robbie Lyn, Dean Fraser, Kirk Bennett), and recorded live at Kingston’s legendary Tuff Gong studios.
Each of the album’s 14 tracks celebrates the uplifting spirit and tightly woven grooves that epitomize Jamaica’s signature rhythm. “Modern Day Slavery”, inspired by the speeches of Jamaican freedom fighter Marcus Garvey, “Kingston Town” portraying the grittier side of Jamaica’s capital and “Run Weh” decrying societal ills such as skin bleaching, each offer the profound, provocative commentary that has distinguished roots reggae from other musical forms since the early 1970s. Reggae’s spiritual strain is heard on the devotional “Jah Love”, while its lover’s rock subgenre is represented on the exquisitely sung on “Come Over (Missing You)” produced by Wayne Unga Thompson and the gently acoustic “Comfort Zone”.
“This album will shock many people who are used to me just as a deejay”, Busy declares, “but it shows my growth, versatility and the recognition of reggae as the origin of dancehall music. Being a Jamaican, I feel like it is my duty to highlight and contribute to reggae music, and with the encouragement of my management and musicians who played on this record, including Dean Fraser, it all came together. This album is like a renaissance for me, a rebirth – reggae style.”
“Dancehall music alone cannot sustain Jamaica’s music industry”, adds Shane Brown Busy’s manager, the album’s primary producer and engineer. “Reggae has more substance and longevity and Busy is one of those rare artists of his generation who can sing as well as deejay on authentic reggae rhythms.”
In addition to the full-length album, VP Records will release a vinyl companion piece, entitled “Reggae Music Dubb’n Again’, available April 16th, special for Record Store Day on April 21. The exclusive LP will feature extended dub mixes for six of the album’s songs, which are all produced and engineered by Shane Brown and his legendary father Errol Brown.
A medley video is also currently being shot in Jamaica, which will combine five of these songs into one melodic tale.
Busy Signal born Reanno Gordon on January 24, 1982, grew up in the St. Ann parish of Jamaica singing in the church. He developed a passion for more styles of music when he moved to Kingston as a teenager and would save his lunch money to buy the cassettes from artists like Madonna, Jay-Z, Eminem and Whitney Houston. At night, he often snuck out of the house to hear popular sound systems. He became fascinated by the deejays’ voices and began voicing his own dub plates for Renaissance and Kilimanjaro sounds.
In 2005, Busy broke on the scene with hits like “Not Going Down” and the self-produced “Step Out”, the title track of his critically acclaimed 2006 debut released on Greensleeves Records.
Bounty Killer was an important mentor in the early stages of Busy’s career and provided the aspiring deejay his first opportunity to perform before a Jamaican audience as part of the Killer led artists’ consortium called The Alliance.
With the release of “Loaded” in September 2008 for VP Records, his music was now regarded as the gold standard for a new generation of dancehall artists. “Loaded” included mega hits “Jail” a grim recollection of Busy’s brief incarceration in the US on a conspiracy charge, and “Tic Toc” which caught mainstream attention and inspired M.I.A. and Rye Rye to remix their own version. Busy’s sucesss motivated him to stay in the studio and out of the streets.
His third album “D.O.B.” was released in July 2010 and earned him praise from Rolling Stone as “world’s great rappers — a wit and a charmer, with fearsome flow and great taste in beats”. This release also included ballad-like renditions of the 1985 Commodores’ hit “Night Shift” and Phil Collin’s “One More Night”, and in 2011 he covered of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” for the genre-bending compilation “Reggae’s Gone Country”.
All of these songs were catalysts and motivation for his traditional approach heard on “Reggae Music Again”.
BUSY SIGNAL “Reggae Music Again” : track listing
1. Busy Thoughts: Positive Music (skit)
2. Run Weh
3. Modern Day Slavery
4. REGGAE Music Again
5. Come Over (Missing You)
6. Royal Night
7. Kingston Town
8. 119 (feat. Anthony Redrose & Joe Lickshot)
9. Fire Ball
10. Wicked Man
11. Running From The Law
12. Busy Thoughts: Music From The Heart (skit)
13. Jah Love
14. Part Of Life
15. Sweetest Life
16. Comfort Zone (Acoustic remix)
17. Busy Thoughts: My Intention (skit)
Release Date: April 10th