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    The Caribbean Invasion

    WEB EXCLUSIVE

    By Lorraine Ali
    Newsweek
    Updated: 9:03 a.m. ET Oct. 14, 2005

    Oct. 14, 2005 - Dancehall once meant the place where your grandparents stepped in time to the tunes of Benny Goodman. Or maybe the dreaded venue for weekly ballet lessons. But thanks to Jamaican artists such as Sean Paul and Damian Marley, and Rihanna of Barbados, “dancehall” now means the fresh “new” sound behind several radio hits—on top of the Billboard charts and on stage at the Grammys.

    Sean Paul’s’ “The Trinity” just made history as the hottest-selling reggae release ever. Two weeks after release, it hit No. 7 on the charts, as measured by Sound Scan. Damian Marley’s record and single, “Welcome to Jamrock,” become one of the year’s most critically acclaimed records and rose to No. 12 on the U.S. rap charts—with very little hype or marketing. Rolling Stone picked the singer—Bob Marley’s youngest son, also known as Junior Gong—as one of its artists to watch in 2006.

    Then there’s dancehall’s answer to Beyonce, Rihanna. Her single, “Pon De Replay,” which was released nearly a year before her new record “Music of the Sun,” is a staple on every hip-hop, reggaeton and modern R&B station. What this all means is that whether you want to or not, at some point during the past year you’ve been exposed to dancehall’s slamming beats and heavy-duty patois (a sample lyric from Sean Paul’s new single “We Be Burnin’”: “Just gimme di trees and make me smoke it yo/It a mek we please so don provoke it yo”).

    The Island-born genre has been fueling clubs in the Caribbean and parties in New York’s outer boroughs for almost three decades. The 1980s street style started in, well, dancehalls as a crash and flashy offshoot of reggae. It stayed underground for a large part of the decade because programmers thought it too raw for radio. The pioneers were bodacious characters like Yellowman; the audience, like hip-hop fans in America, comprised the young and disenfranchised who wanted music that reflects their urban reality. U.S. record stores relegated dancehall to the World Music bins even though such artists as Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man and Shaggy gained a following over the last decade.

    Then American pop bands took notice. In 1997, Sugar Ray teamed up with Super Cat for the massive hit “Fly.” Four years later, No Doubt mixed their ska-pop sound with heavy doses of dancehall on the record “Rock Steady.” Cut in Jamaica, the record included Lady Saw (she’s the other voice on “Underneath it All”) and dub production duo Sly & Robbie. But the genre’s biggest breakthrough came when Sean Paul’s slow-building, 2002 U.S. debut “Dutty Rock” finally broke through on the strength of his hit “Gimme the Light.” He crossed over to hip hop by recording a duo with Beyonce, “Baby Boy,” and winning heavy MTV play with the R&B hit “I’m Still in Love with You.” He eventually won a Grammy for “Best Reggae Album” (there is no dancehall category—yet) and went on to sell six million copies of “Dutty Rock.”

    Despite Paul's success, many in the music industry considered the Caribbean invasion a passing fancy. Now there’s proof that dancehall has come to stay: Paul’s second CD threatens to outsell his first. And the influence of dancehall can be heard on recent albums by pop artists such as the Black Eyed Peas. It's a breath of fresh air in the otherwise stale and often predictable worlds of commercial R&B and hip hop.

    Not everybody’s happy about the rise of dancehall on the American charts. Traditional dancehall fans and artists grumble that Paul and even Marley are sellouts—artists who traded their true roots for commercial success (Paul responded by making a less club-oriented, less-rap-influenced record). Like any expanding genre, dancehall feels growing pains as it goes global. A new subgenre, reggaeton, found a new audience in the barrio. It mixes the Jamaican-born sound and hip hop, with dashes of salsa and Spanglish for seasoning. In the past year record execs have scrambled to sign reggaeton artists from Puerto Rico and Colombia to U.S. labels. Even Sinead O’Connor’s getting in on the act. Her newest offering, “Lay Down Your Arms,” is a reggae album recorded entirely in Kingston. The Irish singer covers some known and some obscure tunes. As bizarre as that combination may sound, the record is beautiful and intriguing.

    World music purists may bemoan the fact that O’Connor would dare to cover Peter Tosh. Or that a commercial artist like Rihanna is Britneyizing dancehall. But most Americans don't care. They are shimmying to Sean Paul and Destiny’s Child; jamming to Damian Marley and Lil’ Jon. Here’s to many more dutty, dutty hits.

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9688615/site/newsweek/

    © 2005 Newsweek, Inc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Soca-Addict
    WEB EXCLUSIVE

    By Lorraine Ali
    Newsweek
    Updated: 9:03 a.m. ET Oct. 14, 2005

    Oct. 14, 2005 - Dancehall once meant the place where your grandparents stepped in time to the tunes of Benny Goodman. Or maybe the dreaded venue for weekly ballet lessons. But thanks to Jamaican artists such as Sean Paul and Damian Marley, and Rihanna of Barbados, “dancehall” now means the fresh “new” sound behind several radio hits—on top of the Billboard charts and on stage at the Grammys.

    Sean Paul’s’ “The Trinity” just made history as the hottest-selling reggae release ever. Two weeks after release, it hit No. 7 on the charts, as measured by Sound Scan. Damian Marley’s record and single, “Welcome to Jamrock,” become one of the year’s most critically acclaimed records and rose to No. 12 on the U.S. rap charts—with very little hype or marketing. Rolling Stone picked the singer—Bob Marley’s youngest son, also known as Junior Gong—as one of its artists to watch in 2006.

    Then there’s dancehall’s answer to Beyonce, Rihanna. Her single, “Pon De Replay,” which was released nearly a year before her new record “Music of the Sun,” is a staple on every hip-hop, reggaeton and modern R&B station. What this all means is that whether you want to or not, at some point during the past year you’ve been exposed to dancehall’s slamming beats and heavy-duty patois (a sample lyric from Sean Paul’s new single “We Be Burnin’”: “Just gimme di trees and make me smoke it yo/It a mek we please so don provoke it yo”).

    The Island-born genre has been fueling clubs in the Caribbean and parties in New York’s outer boroughs for almost three decades. The 1980s street style started in, well, dancehalls as a crash and flashy offshoot of reggae. It stayed underground for a large part of the decade because programmers thought it too raw for radio. The pioneers were bodacious characters like Yellowman; the audience, like hip-hop fans in America, comprised the young and disenfranchised who wanted music that reflects their urban reality. U.S. record stores relegated dancehall to the World Music bins even though such artists as Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man and Shaggy gained a following over the last decade.

    Then American pop bands took notice. In 1997, Sugar Ray teamed up with Super Cat for the massive hit “Fly.” Four years later, No Doubt mixed their ska-pop sound with heavy doses of dancehall on the record “Rock Steady.” Cut in Jamaica, the record included Lady Saw (she’s the other voice on “Underneath it All”) and dub production duo Sly & Robbie. But the genre’s biggest breakthrough came when Sean Paul’s slow-building, 2002 U.S. debut “Dutty Rock” finally broke through on the strength of his hit “Gimme the Light.” He crossed over to hip hop by recording a duo with Beyonce, “Baby Boy,” and winning heavy MTV play with the R&B hit “I’m Still in Love with You.” He eventually won a Grammy for “Best Reggae Album” (there is no dancehall category—yet) and went on to sell six million copies of “Dutty Rock.”

    Despite Paul's success, many in the music industry considered the Caribbean invasion a passing fancy. Now there’s proof that dancehall has come to stay: Paul’s second CD threatens to outsell his first. And the influence of dancehall can be heard on recent albums by pop artists such as the Black Eyed Peas. It's a breath of fresh air in the otherwise stale and often predictable worlds of commercial R&B and hip hop.

    Not everybody’s happy about the rise of dancehall on the American charts. Traditional dancehall fans and artists grumble that Paul and even Marley are sellouts—artists who traded their true roots for commercial success (Paul responded by making a less club-oriented, less-rap-influenced record). Like any expanding genre, dancehall feels growing pains as it goes global. A new subgenre, reggaeton, found a new audience in the barrio. It mixes the Jamaican-born sound and hip hop, with dashes of salsa and Spanglish for seasoning. In the past year record execs have scrambled to sign reggaeton artists from Puerto Rico and Colombia to U.S. labels. Even Sinead O’Connor’s getting in on the act. Her newest offering, “Lay Down Your Arms,” is a reggae album recorded entirely in Kingston. The Irish singer covers some known and some obscure tunes. As bizarre as that combination may sound, the record is beautiful and intriguing.

    World music purists may bemoan the fact that O’Connor would dare to cover Peter Tosh. Or that a commercial artist like Rihanna is Britneyizing dancehall. But most Americans don't care. They are shimmying to Sean Paul and Destiny’s Child; jamming to Damian Marley and Lil’ Jon. Here’s to many more dutty, dutty hits.

    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/9688615/site/newsweek/

    © 2005 Newsweek, Inc.

    Not true! how many "Main stream" musicians are of caribbean parentage. If we start subscribing to these "LABELS" then when there ready they can claim "our" music change it, dilute it and eventually take it away. Look it all comes from the same place, its just that these main landers are just realizing which genre is better finally*Evil Grin*. So when Soca/Kiaso/Calypso starts making the same strides Dancehall/Culture/Reggae is making now will that be a new invasion... No this has always been here its not new, and I don't need them "SoundScan" or "Neilson's" to validate anything that is a part of my Afrikan Culture... Zouk may never see that mainstream popularity that cross over Soca may see, but that doesn't change the fact that I may want to hear a french/Afrikan Soca chune on Saturday as dee Ras clean him bartchume.

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