Koffee is back on the Billboard chart again after getting some strength from former President Barack Obama. “Toast” was released almost a year ago but the hit reggae song is not yet done securing accolades. The track which was a part of former US President Barack Obama’s Summer Playlist debuted at number 50 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Airplay Chart this week. It’s been over a year since a Jamaican artiste has entered the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay after Hood Celebrity’s “Walking Trophy” climbed to number 22 last year. The chart reveals this week’s most popular R&B/hip-hop songs, ranked by radio airplay.
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Could the Alkaline and Squash beef turn physical? Some members of the dancehall community fears the ongoing feud between the Vendetta and 6ix camp out of Mobay could become more than just a musical clash. Last month, Urban Islandz reported that Squash threatened to put hands on Alkaline on sight. Even though he said it in his diss track “Pinocchio,” he did add that he is dead serious about it. Some folks inside his 6ix circle are of the view that he is angry that his rival mentioned his late brother who was killed by police officers.
Earlier this year, reggae artiste Pressure Buss Pipe decided to switch things up musically when he released a soca song. With versatility being high on his list of characteristics, he cast aside his reservations to produce the song, Do It & Done. His gamble has seemingly paid off, as the song has earned him his first nomination for a soca award. The entertainer has been nominated, among the likes of soca giants such as Farmer Nappy and Kes, in the category Groovy Soca of the Year (Male) at this year's International Soca Awards.
Koffee resume just keeps on growing. This week the 19-year-old singer/deejay was listed on Apple Music as one of the next breakthrough artists this year. We in the reggae/dancehall community already see her as a shining star, and it appears Rihanna also saw greatness in her. California rapper Haiti Babii recently spilled the beans during an interview with BET where he revealed that the “Toast” singer is writing for RiRi. “She [Rihanna] FaceTimed yesterday morning when the song dropped,” Babii said. “It was night time wherever she was. She was in a club partying. She was like, ‘I like this song, yo. It’s dope, yo.’ I was like, ‘Alright, yeah. She’s messing with it.'” Haiti Babii says he then asked Rihanna about Koffee and she already knew everything about the Jamaican sensation and even encouraged the rapper to link up with her. He also revealed that RiRi confirmed that Koffee is writing for her.
Nicki Minaj and Bunju Garlin are among the Trinidadian celebrities who speak out against cops treatment of Buju Banton last weekend.
Despite his running with law enforcement on Saturday, Buju Banton still performed to a sold out crowd at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port-of-Spain. The Jamaican singer even invited the Commissioner of Police, Gary Griffith, on stage where the two calls for peace and unity. Soca legend Bunji Garlin posted a lengthy message condemning the treatment of the reggae star by law enforcement in his T&T.
“I am not in Trinidad but I just heard some news that had me puzzled and sad and hurt,” Bunji wrote on Instagram. “I don’t know what happened nor am I a judge but I do know in all my years going to Jamaica, myself, my wife @fayannlyons and my daughter Syri, even our fellow musicians and friends have always been treated with love and high levels of respect from immigration to street to government officials. I do hope this doesn’t harden the hearts of either side of the fence. @bujuofficial Trinidad and Tobago has always been a strong support and welcome brother.”
As the people of Trinidad and Tobago experience a whirlwind of emotion ahead of the return of reggae’s long lost hero, Buju Banton, to the shores of the twin island, there is also a great deal of excitement surrounding the appearance of ORDER- the band led by Trinidad and Tobago reggae artist, Ziggy Rankin. In 2009, Ziggy opened the show for Buju Banton at the Queen’s Park Savannah in Trinidad. Now, just about a decade later, the stage once again awaits Ziggy’s entry on Sunday, April 21st.
Together with the members of his band, ORDER, Ziggy has delivered songs to audiences near and far. The band’s last major appearance in 2018 saw them open for Beres Hammond and Richie Spice at the Reggae on the Beach event in Tobago. Proudly, Ziggy asserts the inclusion of fellow T&T reggae hit makers, Ataklan, Isasha, Mr. King and Jamelody who round up the ‘Order’ for the Easter Sunday opening performance at the I Am Legend Festival. Additionally, 15-year-old female DJ on the rise, DJ Lila, who just happens to be Rankin’s daughter, is a part of the musical outfit that’s set to start things at the Queen’s Park Savannah on Easter Sunday.
The I Am Legend Festival is certainly the biggest event to hit the Caribbean country, in years.
The world has been waiting with bated breath for more than a decade for an album from dancehall's newest queen, Spice. There have been several dates announcing the release of a debut compilation from the dancehall diva but an album is yet to materialise. Earlier this year, Spice told her fans via social media that she had absolutely no control over the album's release date as her record label VP Records had been giving her the runaround. In a feisty Instagram Live video in February, Spice told fans to "Go ask nasty, dirty, stinking VP weh the album deh", adding that she had voiced songs but to no avail. Fans have not heard much regarding the situation since then, but, in a recent interview with THE WEEKEND STAR, the entertainer said she would be heading to court very soon. Speaking in her post-performance interview at Reggae Sumfest last Friday, Spice explained that the album delay results from differences between her and VP Records.
"I signed a contract with them (VP) from 2009 and that's the worst decision I've ever made in my life," she said. "Up to this day, from 2009 they have not released an album with me, and so I'm ready now to battle with them in court because I have to fight for my fans, my fans need an album from me. They (VP) have left me with no other resort but to fight them to get out of this contract. I've just started the process because I've given them 10 years." The entertainer, who is currently gearing up for her birthday party at Oneil's Place on Hagley Park Road tomorrow night, blasted VP for doing nothing for her. "I don't disclose a lot of things about my career, how hard I work, how I do everything by myself. I finance my entire career by myself because the record company does absolutely nothing for me," she said. "I promote my own music, and I want to tell all the young artistes not to make the same mistakes I made because it's really haunting me right now."
ADVICE FOR YOUNG ARTISTES
Spice said there were many things she could tell many young artistes based on the mistakes she had made in the past. "Never sign a contract when you're too young. Give it a few years, try to be independent and even put out your first album on your own. Do not sign away your publishing," she said. VP Records could not be reached for a comment up to press time. This is not the first time a dancehall artiste has expressed the belief that their careers have been held back somewhat because of contracts signed with VP Records. Just last year, Ding Dong said that he missed out on a deal with American producer and label owner Swizz Beatz due to the details of a VP contract he signed some 10 years ago.
A Rolling Stone report says the singer is finishing a record that will pay tribute to her "Caribbean roots." Also Skrillex is working on it.
Because pop fans are insatiable, people have been "where's the album"-ing Rihanna more or less since the moment she dropped ANTI back in 2016. I'd ordinarily tsk such needy behavior, but in this case the thirsty fans are right – summer truly doesn't feel quite right without at least one humid jam to blast from your rooftop for a few minutes. But if a new report from Rolling Stone is to be believed, we may not be too far away from a true treat for the year's hottest months: her rumored dancehall record that was first mentioned back in a Vogue profile in May.
Rolling Stone cites eight sources close to Rihanna and Roc Nation that say she's been looking for beats from Jamaica's finest producers for over a year. Some of the names floating around the project include Supa Dups – a longtime dancehall producer who most recently made mainstream waves with the beat for "Controlla" – along with R. City, Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor and Linton “TJ Records” White (both of whom have worked on big records by Vybz Kartel), the producer and singer Ricky Blaze, Tyshane “Beam” Thompson, and local hero vocalists Kranium and Chronixx. Skrillex and Boi-1da have also apparently been around, for whatever that's worth.
Between that massive crew of songwriting magnates and production whizzes, they've apparently turned out 500 sketches of songs that Rihanna and co. intend on narrowing down to 10 for the final record. “Every artist, every producer, every songwriter in Jamaica or of Jamaican descent has been working on [Rihanna’s album] and has little snippets of publishing or production credits on it,” one source told Rolling Stone. “I think they’ve got eight songs, but her A&R is still asking for records.” So it seems still in the works, but it sounds significantly further along than the last time we heard about it, which is reason for celebration. And hey, if we don't get it before fall, that just menas another few months of listening to "Work" remixes, which should be fine. There's plenty of those to go around.
JUSTICE Lennox Campbell yesterday came under more fire for his handling of the murder trial of dancehall star Vybz Kartel (Adija Palmer) and his co-appellants as another defence lawyer yesterday accused him of not having an understanding of the law.
Attorney Robert Fletcher, who represents Kahira Jones — one of three men convicted along with Kartel for the August 2011 murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams — argued in the Court of Appeal that Justice Campbell because of his lack of understanding of the law made several errors during the trial. The veteran attorney pointed out that the judge's acknowledgment that one of the phones was tampered with and his subsequent acceptance of the said phone as an exhibit demonstrated his lack of knowledge regarding the law. “How is that the learned trial judge can put to the jury the fact that the phone was contaminated, tampered and compromised and then ask them to decide if it was contaminated?” Fletcher asked. “I cannot find a word to describe that, except maybe redundant, and what special skills do they have that would allow them to make such a decision?” he further asked. According to Fletcher, the judge did not show any regard for the new developments in the case law that speak specifically to the issue of the integrity of the exhibits and went beyond mere breaks in the chain of custody of the exhibits. He also pointed to other questionable exhibits being admitted into evidence by the judge, such as the video of the alleged murder in which he said no one was clearly identified, and two discs on which materials from one of the phones that were seized were downloaded but the phone went missing.
The attorney also argued that the judge had erred during the sentencing process when he sentenced the co-appellants without having a social enquiry report, which he said is a fundamental principle that is to be observed. “You can't sentence somebody unless you know who they are,” he said, while noting that a social enquiry report would provide all the necessary details about an individual including his or her character and how he or she is viewed by community members and relatives. Fletcher also argued that the judge in sentencing the appellants did not take into account the mitigating circumstances in the case and only focused on the aggravating issues such as the level of planning of the murder, concealment of the deceased body and threats that were reportedly issued prior to the death of the now deceased. Meanwhile, Kartel's attorney Valerie Neita-Robertson urged the court to quash his conviction and that of his co-appellants as their case was prejudiced by the widespread, adverse publicity, primarily from the police.
Some of the adverse publicity which came from the police, she said, were press releases from the then Constabulary Communication Network which linked a report about a firebombing of a witness's home and vandalisation of a Digicel cell site to the high-profile case, as well as a statement made by the then commissioner of police. Neita-Robertson argued that the judge dealt with the complaints about the adverse publicity in a flippant manner and should have terminated the trial. In asking the judge to quash the conviction she also pointed out that, based on the evidence presented during the trial, her client would not have been at the house in Havendale at the time of Williams's murder. She said that contrary to evidence provided by the cell tower analysis, which indicated that Kartel was in Havendale at 7:52 pm, hospital phone records showed that he arrived there at 7:48 pm.
Pointing to the evidence given by the eyewitness in his statement that he had arrived at the house at 8:00 pm she said, “It would mean that Mr Palmer would not be at the house when Williams's death happened.” Kartel, Shawn Campbell, Jones and Andre St John were convicted in April 2014 and given mandatory life sentences. Kartel was ordered to serve 35 years before being eligible for parole while Campbell, Jones and St John were ordered to each serve 25 years before becoming eligible for parole.