@VPRecords) | Twitter" width="463" height="655" data-iml="8349" />Reggae and Dancehall’s Golden Era takes the main stage as VP Records pays tribute with its Dancehall Anthems compilation. The suite of classic material featuring Beenie Man, Kabaka Pyramid, and Wayne Marshall among others was released yesterday on all major streaming platforms.
A lush, contemporary musical ode, the album celebrates the contributions of Papa San, Ken Boothe, Michigan & Smiley, Louie Culture, and many other stalwarts. Curated by producer and cultural exponent Jeremy Harding, the project boasts compelling new perspectives from a rich, talented roster.
The mix has been in the works for a minute, led by a few liberated singles and visuals. Beenie Man’s Mad Kings, pays homage to his royal rival Yellowman’s Zungguzungguguzungguzeng, while Kabaka Pyramid delivers a stirring, infectious interpretation of Michigan & Smiley’s Nice Up The Dance. Renditions of Tenor Saw’s Lots Of Sign by Wayne Marshall, as well as newcomer Runkus’s salute to Papa San’s Strange have also received favourable review and airplay.
Jeremy Harding has since shared the process behind his latest exciting undertaking. “Originally, this was going to be a VP Records 40th anniversary project, but it expanded, as I wanted to pay tribute to the history of dancehall in the broadest sense, reconsidering iconic songs and particularly the roots of the genre, including what played heavily on sound systems when I was growing up”, Harding said.
When quizzed on what determined track choices and artist selections, he indicated that it came down to which songs could be revamped without samples, as well as the artists’ scheduling and comfort level with conquering the classic covers. Where some were busy and others wary, the final roster of artists, veteran and new, was confident and eager to put their spin on the timeless hits.
“Surprisingly, a lot of the artists called their own shots”, Harding added.
“One was Wayne Marshall who was like bro, I have to do a Tenor Saw. Naomi Cowan chose Garnett Silk. I’m like, you’re sure you wanna tackle a male song? She said ‘sure that’s exactly what I wanna do and not do a female version’. A lot of the people named their own records and for some of them, we brought the riddims in and said you would be great for this.”
Wrapping up his interview, the DJ, engineer and CEO concluded, “Check it out on all your favourite streaming services and give it a listen. The world’s gonna get a kick out of it. I think the old heads [would] like to hear the records that they grew up with, they’re refreshed, they sound new and they still punch. A lot of the young kids will be surprised too as well to hear it interpreted by their artist today, and it definitely gives us a birds-eye view of the history of this culture and encapsulates everything that it means to be reggae and dancehall.