Ghetto Youths International set to release new album in time for Christmas

The Members of Ghetto YOuths

The members of Ghetto Youths International, which include some of the Marley men (Damian, Stephen and Jo Mersa), Wayne Marshall and Christopher Ellis.

By Tiffany Mea

Ghetto Youths International, the record label owned and operated by Bob Marley’s sons Damian, Julian and Stephen, will release the brand new compilation “Ghetto Youths International Presents Set Up Shop Volume 2” on December 23, 2014. The 15-track compilation follows Volume 1 that was released in February 2013 and peaked at #1 on U.S. Billboard Reggae Album chart.

The latest installment is produced primarily by the Grammy-winning brothers Stephen and Damian Marley. The album features new material from the entire Ghetto Youths roster, including Jo Mersa, Black-Am-I, Christopher Ellis, Wayne Marshall and the label’s founders, along with dancehall artist Cham. The compilation’s lead single Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s “Is It Worth It? (Gunman World),” which contemplates a killer’s conscience, will be accompanied by short film music video directed by acclaimed visionary Nabil Elderkin (Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Frank Ocean, Bon Iver and Seal). Set in Morocco, actor Saai Taghmaoui (American Hustle, La Haine and Three Kings) takes on the role of a hitman-for-hire in Elderkin’s latest visual opus.

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In addition to “Is It Worth It? (Gunman World),” Ghetto Youths International Presents Set Up Shop Volume 2 features a variety of thought-provoking material. Damian’s motivational opener “Hard Work” is lauded as “a pulsing blueprint for flipping funds” according to The FADER, while his collaborative effort “The Living Breed” featuring Black-Am-I, Jo Mersa, Illestr8 & Biggz General rallies for social change, boasting a powerful hook stating “we are the last of dying breed and the first of a new generation…”

Dancehall’s multi-faceted singjay Wayne Marshall talks about life choices on “On The Corner” (inspired by REM’s “Losing My Religion”) and proclaims to “Nah Give Up” on his single featuring Tarrus Riley. Carrying a similar sentiment, Julian Marley alongside Junior Reid encourages to push forward when times are tough on the uplifting anthem “Never Too Ruff,” while the culturally driven singer Black-Am-I contemplates the beauty and struggle of life back home on “In The Ghetto.”

Christopher Ellis, the son of Jamaican music icon Alton Ellis, “takes classic rocksteady/first wave reggae and gives it a new look” (Vice Noisey) on “Roller Coaster” and gives a fresh take on “Better Than Love” with the remix featuring Irie Love. Jo Mersa (the eldest son Stephen Marley and grandson of Bob Marley) represents a new generation too with his contemporary sound that blends dancehall, pop, and EDM – evident on “Sunshine” and the hypnotic “Rock and Swing.”

The set also features dancehall artist Cham showing how he rolls on “Sh@t” and Stephen “Ragga” Marley’s hard-hitting anthem “Bongo Nyah” with Damian and Spragga Benz. Then, Stephen and Damian team up again on the mesmerizing track “Strike Hard.” With poignant lyrics matched with top-notch modern production, the genre-bending compilation is sure to reach reggae’s core contingent along with a new generation of fans. The album has been available for pre-orders effective Dec 9-OnPointPress.net-.

 

 

Reggae cruise boasts large numbers, great music, satisfied patrons

Damian "Junior Gong" Marley participated on the Welcome to Jamrock Cruise that showcased Jamaica's beauty and culture.

Damian “Junior Gong” Marley participated on the Welcome To Jamrock Cruise that showcased Jamaica’s beauty and culture.

By Tiffany Mea

The first annual Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise broke new ground by captivating nearly 2,400 passengers with an entire week of authentic reggae experiences aboard the Norwegian Pearl ship. The cruise, which set sail from Miami on October 20, with stops in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios, Jamaica, before its October 25 return, sold out within one month after it was announced. People came from all over the world. Even though the ship embarked from the United States, 44 percent of the passengers were international, representing almost 50 different countries.

“There was such a unique blend of people. It meant a lot to see the music bring unity between such a diverse group of people,” said Damian Marley.

Iconic movies such as "The Harder They Come," starring Jimmy Cliff, were among the cruise's offerings.

Iconic movies such as “The Harder They Come,” starring Jimmy Cliff, were among the cruise’s offerings.

Filled with jaw-dropping performances from reggae’s top artists to legendary jam sessions from world-renowned DJs and sound systems, Jamaican music was celebrated on every spectrum. From themed movie selections such as “Dancehall Queen,” “The Harder They Come” and “Third World Cop,” to pick-up soccer games and  poolside jerk chicken, the Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise gave passengers a slice of the island’s culture every day.

Sean Paul was one of the many musical performers on the cruise.

Sean Paul was one of the many musical performers on the cruise.

“Nothing like this has ever been done on this scale in the reggae genre. Never before, have you been able to see legends of this level touch the stage for five straight days in such a contained intimate setting. One minute you are eating breakfast next to Sean Paul, then watching a soccer game with Christopher Ellis and Wayne Marshall. Later in the night, you are witnessing a 2-hour set from Bounty Killer, then an historical session with King Jammy’s, Shinehead and Damian Marley at 4 a.m. This is the only place to create these type of vibes, period,” said cruiser Maya Mitte.

Musical performers included Busy Signal.

Musical performers included Busy Signal.

On the main stage, Damian, Julian and Stephen represented the Marley family, as well as their label Ghetto Youths International, with solo performances from the entire crew including Jo Mersa, Wayne Marshall, Christopher Ellis and Black-Am-I. There were more live sets from legendary bands like the Wailing Souls and Morgan Heritage. Also, international, multi-platinum pop stars like Shaggy and Sean Paul, roots reggae singers like Etana, Jah Cure and Tarrus Riley and dancehall’s biggest names like Busy Signal, Bounty Killer and Cham performed. On the last night, not even the rain could stop the vibes. Stephen “Ragga” Marley continued his set inside the Atrium and brought out all the artists still on the ship for a 3-hour freestyle session, arguably one of the most epic performances in the history of reggae.

Inspiring, conscious band Morgan Heritage, showcased their musical chops on the cruise.

Inspiring, conscious band Morgan Heritage, showcased their musical chops on the cruise.

Whether patrons wanted to hear dub, ’90s dancehall, roots or today’s hits, there was something for everyone from sunrise to sunset at the various clubs and stages on board and even on-land in Jamaica. Hailing from across the globe: London’s David Rodigan, Japan’s Mighty Crown, Los Angeles’ Dub Club, and Jamaica’s own Stone Love, Renaissance and King Jammy’s were some of the renowned sound systems and DJs that took over the decks throughout the night.

Legendary sound system, Stone Love, shared the stage to add another level of merriment to the cruise.

Legendary sound system, Stone Love, shared the stage to add another level of merriment to the cruise.

Those who stayed up after midnight witnessed rare jam sessions with surprise performances from some of the artists on deck. Click the link below to see what transpired on the 5-day voyage:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bkkvynS8dg.For information on the 2015 Welcome To Jamrock Reggae Cruise, please visit www.welcometojamrockreggaecruise.com -OnPointPress.net.

Wayne Marshall shows “Tru Colors” in whirwind NYC trip

Reggae singer Wayne Marshall has returned to the dancehall scene with a bang.

Reggae singer Wayne Marshall has returned to the dancehall scene with a bang.

By Carmen Glover

The adage “good things come to those who wait,” has never been more true than what has been exemplified by reggae singer Wayne Marshall, who has made a triumphant return to the dancehall scene with his sophomore album, “Tru Colors” (Ghetto Youths International), eleven years after releasing “Marshall Law” (VP Records). But as far as the smooth-voiced singer is concerned, the timing is perfect and that’s all that matters.

Speaking to OnPointPress.net during a telephone interview from his hotel room on Wednesday, February 26, Marshall sounded relaxed and thankful as he basked in the glow of overwhelmingly positive feedback for “Tru Colors.” The eleven-year wait, Marshall explained, was a matter of divine order. “It’s about waiting for the right time, the right camp, for everything to fall into place,” he said reflectively. “The first CD was just a compilation, rather than doing a focused album, like I did with ‘Tru Colors.’ Now I feel like everything is right.”

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From all indications, Marshall’s slow simmer approach has yielded spectacular dividends. “Tru Colors” sits comfortably in fourth place on Billboard’s reggae chart, and with each layer of exposure the album receives, another veneer of excitement  is lavished on the album, which, in turn, fuels even greater interest and industry buzz. As he counts down the hours to his album release party Thursday night at The Delancey in Manhattan, Marshall points to his early musical influences, while simultaneously lauding the expertise of his current producer, Damian “Junior Gong” Marley.

“My biggest musical influence is Bounty Killer,” Marshall stated unequivocally. “As a youth when I was 13, Baby, King Jammys’ son, introduced me to a new artist that his father was working with. That artist was Bounty Killer and I always thought that he was bringing a new flavor to dancehall. When we started working together and he showed me that he liked what I was doing, that felt good.”

L-R: Stephen and Damian "Junior Gong" Marley, who are actively involved in Marshall's triumphant return.

L-R: Stephen and Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, who are actively involved in coordinating Marshall’s triumphant return with his sophomore album “Tru Colors.”

Marshal has collaborated with Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, Sean Paul and Beenie Man in the past. Like he did with his debut effort, Marshall has collaborated with a legion of stars on “Tru Colors,” including Bounty Killer, Ace Hood, Cham, Waka Flocka, Assassin, I-Octane, Vybz Kartel and Tarrus Riley. While Marshall spoke earnestly about the importance of the diversity embodied on the tracks, he was unmistakable in emphasizing that the central component for the success of “Tru Colors” is the hands-on approach taken by the album’s producer, Damian “Junior Gong” Marley.

“Working with Damian Marley is an advantage for any artist because he’s a legendary, excellent, writer, singer and producer: a real triple threat,” Marshall mused. “It’s a dream come true for me to be working with the Marleys because growing up as a youth in Jamaica you saw the Marleys as reggae royalty.” Marshall described Damian as “a perfectionist” who knows the exact sound that he wants. Marshall credits Damian with unleashing his raw, intense, musical essence. “That’s why I call it “Tru Colors” because I think this is me showcasing my true self,” he explained. “It’s been such a long time since the last record that my sound, my lyrics and my style are more refined; a true evolution. Musically I am much more adept at my craft.”

Wayne Marshall is reflective and thankful that his sophomore effort is favorably received.

Wayne Marshall is reflective and thankful that his sophomore effort “Tru Colors”  is favorably received.

But his music is not the only thing that has evolved. Marshall, who describes himself as “very spiritual,” sports long dreadlocks these days, but he distinguishes himself from the Rastafarian faith, and explained that he focuses on solidifying his spiritual base instead. When asked how he is responding to his whirlwind two-day New York City jaunt, Marshall did not hesitate, “I’m enjoying the press coverage. All the media reviews so far have been good,” he said. “Just as the great ones have paved the way for us, this is my opportunity to pave the way for a younger generation.”

Marshall will be touring the United States in April and May with Stephen Marley and Jo Mersa to perform songs from “Tru Colors,” which is a 13-track collection. The album features fan favorites such as “I Know,” “Stupid Money,” “Go Hard,” “Go Harder,” “Be on the Alert” and “Nah Give Up.”  Marshall, who is married to Tami Chynn, the sister of Tessanne Chin of ‘The Voice’ fame, collaborated with his sister-in-law on the “Tru Colors” final track, “On the End.”

For Marshall, “Tru Colors” is his coming-of-age party and he is determined to savor every minute of it.-OnPointPress.net.

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Irie Jamboree excited Barclays Center crowd with solid return

Damian "Jr. Gong and Stephen Marley share the stage.

Brothers Damian “Jr. Gong” and Stephen Marley share the stage.

By Robert “Bobby” Clarke

The Caribbean Fever Irie Jamboree Music Festival returned over the recent Labor Day Weekend in exciting style. Revamping the Irie Jamboree brand after a four-year hiatus and hosting the show at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was a major change. The concept for the musical event was expanded into a three-day festival featuring a different theme each night. The difference reflected bold steps, but with the support of our dedicated Irie Jam Radio listeners, music fans, and business, civic, and community partners we were able to pull it off. I sincerely thank everyone who helped make the 2013 Caribbean Fever Irie Jamboree Music Festival a success.

Dancehall legend Shabba Ranks with the ever lively Capleton.

Dancehall legend Shabba Ranks with the ever lively Capleton thrill the crowd.

 

I-Octane delivers an impressive performance, delighting the crowd.

I-Octane delivers an impressive performance, delighting the crowd.

First and foremost, I’d like to thank everyone who came out to enjoy the festival. It was your patronage that made this event successful. Thank you for being patient, courteous, orderly, and lively. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events as we continue to celebrate Irie Jam Radio’s 20th year on the air. Thank you to Caribbean Fever Inc., Irie Jamboree Inc., and all of our business partners that helped put together an incredible show. This festival was an ambitious undertaking and the result was historic.

Alison Hinds rocks the stage with her toned dancers.

Alison Hinds rocks the stage with her toned dancers.

 

Wyclef Jean gives the show his all.

Wyclef Jean gives the show his all.

Thank you to Kassav, Tabou Combo, Djakout #1, Wyclef Jean, Tallpree, Skinny Fabulous, Ricky T, Edwin Yearwood, Iwer George, Alison Hinds, Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons, Mr. Easy, I-Octane, Damian Marley and the Ghetto Youth camp, Lady Saw, Shabba Ranks, and Capleton for delivering unbelievably amazing performances. And thank you to surprise guest performers Spragga Benz and Beenie Man.

Iwer George performs.

Iwer George performs.

 

Busta Rhymes enjoys the event.

Busta Rhymes enjoys the event.

Thank you to all of the media houses, stations and outlets that helped publicize, promote, and document the festival. Please keep sharing your articles, photos, and videos. We appreciate your hard work and coverage.

Bobby Clarke proposes publicly to his lady love, Syn Dawkins.

Bobby Clarke proposes publicly to his lady love, Syn Dawkins.

And last, but never least, thank you to the production crew, staff, volunteers, interns, friends, and family who worked tirelessly, around-the-clock, behind the scenes to make this festival a huge success. I don’t know what we would have done without you. You all made this show what it was. I can’t thank you enough.

Robert “Bobby” Clarke is the president of Irie Jam Radio. OnPointPress.net.