First things first: I’ve been slipping. Really, really, slipping. I haven’t been around these parts much lately (life, I tell you, life), other than when I’m here sharing these Bass Kultcha videos–but even that is slipping as my “late-to-the-party-just-getting-around-to-posting-this-ness” can attest. Anyway, I’ll be back soon with my Holiday Gift Giving Guide (hint, there will be rum) and with a few cocktail suggestions too. Not to mention episode 9 of Bass Kultcha is coming up. Well, welcome back to me.
In the aftermath of the first Bass Kultcha event, we welcome Earl Grey, one of the guest selectors on that night. In this episode we discuss Earl’s upcoming projects, before settling in for an eclectic mix of classic dub, roots, dancehall and a few mashups and genre defying tracks for good measure.
Check out the latest episode of our show over at Studiofeed. This was a particularly high energy session with good vibes bubbling throughout the studio. Also, do you love independent music? Yeah, I know you do. That’s why you need to hit up supportindependentmusic.org and get involved.
Maybe it’s the Jamaican in me but I’m not the biggest calypso or soca fan; I’d be hard pressed to tell you the last time I made a point of listening to soca on my iPod for example. But there are certain calypsos or soca tunes that I just find irresistable–Lord Kitchener’s Sugar Bum comes to mind–and I take great joy in attending Caribbean weddings; once the DJ begins spinning the sweet, sweet soca it takes some doing to drag me from the dance floor.
So to celebrate Trinidad’s 50 years of independence I thought I ‘d bring out my dancing shoes and share not one, but two of my favorite soca tunes courtesy of David Rudder, one of the twin islands’ favourite sons. The tunes in question? Gotta be ‘High Mas‘ and ‘Trini To The Bone‘. Listen, if ‘High Mas‘ doesn’t make you raise your hand, and if ‘Trini To The Bone‘ doesn’t make you long for the comforts and joys of home, wherever that “home” may be, then I’m pretty sure you’re soulless.
Anyway, Happy Independence Day Trinidad & Tobago! I’m raising a glass of Angostura 1919 in your honour. Cheers.
Ask the average person if they know Freddie Scott’s music and your likely to be met with shrugs and blank stares. But trust me, everybody knows Freddie Scott. If you’ve ever drunkenly sung along with Biz Markie’s ‘Just A Friend‘ or if you’re a hip-hop head who swears that Ghostace Killah is the man, then you’ve probably nodded your head to ‘Save Me Dear‘; both of which sample ‘You Got What I Need’, as classic a slice of soul music as I’ve ever heard.
Anyway, it’s Sunday, it’s as hot as Hades and I recommend whipping up a refreshing cocktail to help make it through the day. A little Freddie Scott couldn’t hurt either.
Here’s the latest episode of Bass Kultcha via Studiofeed. urbansteve and I celebrate Jamaica’s 50 years of independence with a diverse musical mix representing a slice of past, present and future sounds of Jamaican culture. Peace. And love
As you can imagine, folks inhabiting my sphere are pretty excited today. There’s Jamaican Independence, Jamaican domination of the sprints; just all around reason for Jamaicans to puff out their chests a bit. Not that we usually need any help with that. So here, as further tribute to the land of my birth, are a couple of Heptones tunes that for me capture the mood, the hopes and dreams of Jamaicans worldwide. Plus, the legendary Leroy Sibbles‘ connections to Toronto run deep; for Jamaican-Canadians he is one of us.
…Happy 50th Birthday Jamaica. Land we love.
I recently spent 17 days in Jamaica. How was it you ask? Well, it was the perfect holiday. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. Spent some time with family and toured the island with friends. Hit beaches in Montego Bay, Negril and Port Antonio. Had fruit so fresh and so sweet that I’m not sure I can buy fruit from my grocer anymore. Ate more ackee & salt fish, breadfruit, festival and fried dumplings than necessary. Drank more beer in 17 days than I usually drink in a year (The LCBO needs to start stocking Red Stripe Light). Laughed so hard with my friends I thought my sides were going to split. Biked for the first time in over 15 years….and did so on a Blue Mountain bike tour. Splashed around in the YS Falls. Took the Appleton Estate Rum Tour. Twice. And brought back lots of rum. I can’t wait to tell you guys all about the rums so check back in soon. In the meantime, enjoy the following clip. Popcaan, the hottest artiste in Jamaica right now, has tune after tune that sticks to my ribs. I love how he rides a riddim. And I love his lyrics. Especially on this tune….
On my way home. Or back to Toronto. Whichever.
Yes folks, I’m still on the move. Wondering where I am? Well, I’ll let General Trees fill you in……
Jamaica, and my memories of Jamaica inspired the very first post on this blog. Well, I’m heading there once more and felt like sharing this (ch)tune with you all. Walk good people.
Chune! Yes, we’re back again….
Kevin Reigh and urbansteve return for the fourth episode of the Bass Kultcha show, on StudioFeed Radio. This episode is filled with a blend of dancehall, spacey dub, future bass, and “a few odds and ends”. Kicking the set off with the trippy Sun Araw and punctuating things with their agreed upon big tune of the mix by Up, Bustle and Out, The Bass Kultcha duo guide us through what is arguably their best episode yet. Oh ya, all this and a special reggae tinged tribute to their favourite Beastie, the late legendary MCA.
Check out this wicked cerebral and tripped out episode of Bass Kultcha in the video below, or download the free mp3 audio podcast from the SoundCloud player. Track list after the jump. Enjoy.…
Alright folks, it’s that time again. My man urbansteve and I are back with episode 3 of our Bass Kultcha program via Studiofeed radio, and this time around we’re bringing you a heavyweight clash of dancehall titans. In one corner, urban is reppin’ Cutty Ranks and Beenie Man. In the other corner, I’m the flag bearer for Shabba Ranks and Buju Banton. Plus, we brought along our usual mix of reggae-fied sounds, highlighted by a selection of soulful reggae covers, mashups and a dancehall-ification of The Cure. Peace. Love. And Bass.
If you’re a foodie, live in Toronto and enjoy a well conceived cocktail you need to drop by The County General if you haven’t already. Now, I’m not going to bother with a proper review; Mr. James Chatto, blogTo and a host of others have already done the honours. No, I’m interested in one thing and one thing only:
Okay, those who know me understand that family, friends, music, rum and good times are my passions. And not necessarily in that order. And those who know me also understand that I’m often b*tchin’ and moaning about this city’s lack of respect for my favourite spirit. The rum selection at too many establishments in Toronto is the liquor equivalent of buying a suit at Value Village; it looks like what you want or need but doesn’t really fit that well and is of questionable quality.
So I was quite skeptical when a friend told me about the great rum selection at CG. Then I went on their website and checked out the menu for myself. Ka-ching! Not only did/do they carry some of my favourite rums but I’ve also been getting into a little bourbon these days and their bourbon selection is pretty sweet.
But you want to know the best part? Want to know how I knew they were serious about providing quality? Well, the minute I walked into County General, sat at the bar and realized that Bacardi and Captain Morgan were nowhere to be seen, I knew I was in an establishment that really respected rum. I knew I was in a place that would make me happy. Sometimes, the thing you don’t do is just as significant as the thing you do.
So do yourself a favour, grab your girl/boy, grab your friends, grab your rabbi, whatever; just get yourself to County General. The food is good. The staff is great. And the rum is excellent. I promise you won’t regret it.
So, urbansteve and I are back with the second installment of Bass Kultcha, our monthly program featuring some of our favourite reggae-centric and reggae-fied tracks. This episdode is heavy on 80′s and 90′s era dancehall and reggae with a smattering of more contemporary sounds. Again, much love to the Studiofeed crew. Check out the video below or download the mp3 from the Soundcloud media player. Bass Kultcha…Studiofeed…Bass Kultcha…Studiofeed. Bass Kultcha…Studiofeed…
The title of this post tells you all you need to know. Check out the promo clip I put together for Vivek Mehmi, a rapper out of Toronto. Check out him out and download his single (it’s free!) here:
Folks, a year has ended and a new one is beginning. Really, I have nothing more profound to say than that. Let’s just hope your coming days are filled with good times, good laughs and good people. And good rum. And good music. Speaking of which, enjoy the following video clip and may the new year bring you sun-shiny days….
Every once in a while I come across a song that fully and completely articulates things I’ve been thinking or feeling. Sizzla Kalonji’s ‘Thank You Mama’ is one of those songs. If you’re a man and if you love your mother, you can’t possibly hear this song and not be moved. Unless of course you actually are a real life cold hearted son-of-a-bitch. And if that’s the case, well, never mind.
Anyway, it’s my mother’s birthday. So I felt like playing this for her….
……Thank you mama for the nine months you carried me through.
Our pop-cultural landscape is decidedly beige. Vanilla. Nondescript. Nothing is truly dangerous. Our icons assume dangerous poses without actually being threats to the world order, to the orthodoxy, to the conventional. To anything really. Our icons threaten the order of things in the same way that Jean Claude Van Damme poses a threat in Kickboxer or Bloodsport ; only if you suspend belief, play make believe or don’t actually have to fight. It’s pantomimed danger.
And I say “our”, because these are our icons, the ones we crave, create and debate. These are our icons because we don’t demand any more of them. Now I’m not about to suggest that things were better back in the day. I wouldn’t really know if that were the case. Plus it’s too easy to reflect on days gone by and make heroes out of men, make martyrs out of pop singers and make sages out of songwriters. But I do know that I’m not the only one fighting to stifle yawns when so-called cultural critics and commentators talk about the likes of Lil’ Wayne, Lady Gaga or Rihanna with the reverence one usually associates with statesmen, spiritual leaders and social activists.
I was left pondering this crap after enduring a conversation with someone who seriously believes Christina Aguilera and Rihanna are legends. Think about that for a while. Let it marinate. It makes me want to scrub my brain of this conversation. Not erase. Not clean. Scrub. It makes me wonder what the cerebral equivalent of Dettol would be. I decided there was but one antidote: Nina Simone.
There are some songs guaranteed to tear up a party, I mean, seriously mash up a dance. Boogie Down Productions’ ‘The Bridge Is Over’ is one of those songs. It is primal, rhythmic and melodic and never ceases to make me want to…I don’t know what it makes me want to do but it makes me want to do something. And when you hear folks talk about “real hip hop” this is the kind of sh** they’re talking about.
Watching this clip brings me back to my youth, one spent taping videos and re-watching them with friends. The thing I love most about this video? Easy, the energy of the crowd. Their joy, their enthusiasm is palpable and every time I hear this song I feel something. Again, I’m not sure what it is but I feel something. Isn’t that what great art is supposed to do?
I’m going to keep this short but sweet. I was at the Harbourfront Centre a couple weeks back and checked out Rum Chef Paul Yellin’s food demo. How was it you ask? Well, the food was good (I tried Coo -Coo for the first time) and I drank rum. I think that’s a win. Anyway, I know a guy who dates a girl who knows a guy who knows another guy (okay it wasn’t that convoluted but I like how mysterious it sounds) who introduced me to Chef Paul. A small group of us ended up sharing rum later in the evening. The highlight? Probably this:
Yeah, you’re reading that right. Mount Gay Rum. Eclipse Black. 100 proof. Now, it wasn’t good for sipping, but it was magic mixed with a little orange juice and bitters. Unfortunately for me the LCBO doesn’t carry this gem. Anyone heading to Barbados?
Oh, and for your troubles I thought I’d share another gem. If you don’t know Darondo, you’ll want to after checking out this video clip. If you love soul music, you’ll love this tune.
I know it’s been a long time since I’ve been here. Miss me? I hope so. Regardless, there’s been a lot going on in my life and in the world. Rather than bore you with the details I thought I’d share a music mix that captures my mood during these dog days of summer. Oh, and check out the video of Junior Murvin mashin’ it up in his 2nd childhood.