Usually, when Bobby Konders visits Jamaica, it is to record songs, hang out at dances and stay in tune with ‘yaad’ vibes. For his latest trip, the producer/disc jockey/sound system operator is in the unfamiliar role of pitchman.
Konders, one of the most influential figures in dancehall for the past 25 years, recently released Massive B Legacy Volume 1, an album featuring 10 songs he produced or co-produced for his Massive B label. It includes Youths So Cold by Richie Spice, Gal You A Lead from T O K, Wave You Flags by Elephant Man and Vybz Kartel’s What You Sellin?
Even though he is responsible for breaking some of the biggest dancehall songs through his weekly radio gig on Hot 97 FM in New York, Konders admits he is still largely an unknown in Jamaican dancehall circles.
“I’m here to promote Massive B Legacy and meet the movers and shakers on the TV shows and that kinda situation. They may know the songs but not the person behind them,” he told Jamaica Observer.
Konders has been a part of the dancehall landscape since 1992 when he produced his first rhythm, that had songs by Half Pint ( Can You Feel It), ini Kamoze ( Hotstepper Returns) and Nicodemus ( Ride In A Storm). As a longstanding DJ at Hot 97 FM, he helped push Beenie Man’s Who Am I and Sean Paul’s Gimmie The Light outside the dancehall and into the pop mainstream.
“The only new single from the album is the Vybz Kartel, the rest of the songs are classics that had major success maybe in Europe and America or some success in Jamaica,” he said. “As a foreign producer, a lot of my productions went global before Jamaica embraced them. Jamaica sometimes don’t embrace foundation artistes which I find strange.”
A third-generation Polish-American, Konders embraced foundation dancehall acts like Nicodemus and Burro Banton as a teenager in his hometown of Brooklyn, New York. Nicodemus and Burro Banton, stars of the 1980s in Jamaica, had a cult following there among Jamaican immigrants, the fledgling hip hop movement and some white youth who grew up in the Big Apple boroughs which had large West Indian populations.
Burro Banton is represented on Legacy with Badder Dan Dem. He also has co-production credits for Gal You a Lead, a massive hit for T O K in 2005.
Given his expansive catalogue, Konders said he chose to release a mini album or EP rather than a 30-song set. The follow-ups will also cover his 26-year career as a producer which has evolved with changing trends in music production.
“I think I’ve grown as a producer as I have as a man. With my first (production), even though it was a computer rhythm, it was analogue and we were working with a tape machine and mixing live on 24 track,” he explained. “Now it’s Pro-Tool, so you have to relearn from an engineer’s standpoint.”
Konders, who hosts Fire Sundays from 9 pm to 11 pm Sundays on Hot 97 FM with long-time sidekick Jabba, believes radio is still essential to dancehall music even with the dynamics of social media.
“Some artistes don’t see the importance of radio because I guess the social media presence is so big. The 20-year-old listens to YouTube music, Spotify or Soundcloud,” he reasoned. “But if you have an opportunity to go on Hot 97 in New York, or Zip (FM), Irie FM or SunCity in Jamaica, you should take every opportunity you have.”
Source: Bobby Konders’ Massive Legacy