A Special Feature by Gerry Hopkins

Brooklyn, New York. SLINKY SHARP – BORN JERMAINE COLE - a rising versatile voice in reggae and Caribbean music, had his life cut short on Saturday, February 4, 2006 at the age of 30, when he died as a passenger in a car accident in North Carolina. The progressive young artist who already had two full-length CD albums to his credit – Sharp Truth in 2003 and Earth Defender in 2005 – has left us with a legacy of lyrically and rhythmically sound music, positive thinking, and a creative business-wise approach to packaging and marketing his music. His web site, www.coledistribution.com, which he independently constructed, is living proof of his industrious nature.

Slinky was passionate about his music and he had a good understanding of the industry. He was as much about art as he was about business. He saw himself as a messenger of truth and he was serious about empowering himself, his fellow artists and his community. He was always looking for opportunities to improve himself as an artist and as a business man. In pursuit of the latter, Slinky was also in the process of negotiating a contract with a major wireless company for use of his music for product content (ringtones, etcetera) and his website for linking purposes.

In our last conversation, which happened four days before his death, he was seriously discussing the distribution of his album and the staging of a major concert in New York City. His words are still echoing in my ear: “Hopkins, this album has a message of truth, a message of peace and respect for Jah. We must get it out to the people.”

Slinky recently did a show in New York City, dubbed “New Reggae Artists Live Spotligh.” This event was held in early October 2005 at The Palace Night Club in Brooklyn. It was organized by Cole Distribution and Hopkins Promotions & Management.

It was Slinky’s idea to have this show, primarily to give young new artists an opportunity to showcase their talents and obtain some promotional exposure. In this show, he headlined alongside Rouff Draff, Super P, Admiral Bally, Skinna, Smurfy D, Jah Pilot, Rippa Jackson, King Lion, and Fyaworks. All together, 18 young artists were given an opportunity to perform that night – the largest known gathering ever of new reggae artists for a single event in NYC.

Slinky’s final appearance in New York City was at the “Back In Time Fete” at The Palace in Brooklyn, where he shared the stage with Denison George, Chyna, Rouff Draff and Admiral Bally.

His Background
Slinky, who was born in Kingston and raised in Hanover, Jamaica until he moved to New York City as a young teenager, was already aware of his singing talent when he arrived in the U.S.A. “I’ve been singing since the age of seven in community events and in after-school programs in Jamaica,” the artist shared with me in a 2003 interview.

Influenced by, though not merely a product of the variables of tough Jamaican village-life and “dog-eat-dog” Brooklyn streets, Slinky firmly established himself as a rising conscious artist who had no reservations about condemning police misconduct and other social ills.

The Accomplishments
His record of accomplishment speaks for itself. With his hard-hitting lyrics, versatile singing ability, and creatively dynamic dance moves, Slinky had exactly what it takes to captivate an audience. His first single, “Woman Don’t Worry,” was released in 1992. His second release was another single, “Change Your Wicked Ways,” with “Pretty Face” on side two. Then in 2001 Slinky released another four of his repertoire in a Paddlock Records compilation.

Slinky was also no stranger to the professional circuit, doing live performances alongside several local and international reggae and rap stars in New York, North Carolina, Georgia and other states. The list includes, Sanchez, Sean Paul, Anthony B, Mystical, Johnny Blanco, Beenie Man, Maxi Priest, and Third World.

To date, the artist’s two biggest achievements are his 2003 and 2005 full-length CD albums - Sharp Truth and Earth Defender. A special feature of Sharp Truth is the fact that it covers the whole range of sub-genres in reggae music. There is something in this album for every lover of reggae music -- from the rocking rhythm of “Thank You,” to the dancehall styling of “Top Class Beauty,” to the hard-hitting conscious old-school-sounding “Fight I Down.”

In his newest album, Earth Defender, Slinky gives us an even clearer view of his level of sophisticated consciousness. He reflects on environmental protection, social justice and de-militarization in “Earth is My Love,” Everyday,” and “The Bomber;” love, discipline, and loss in “Mama Cry;” and righteousness and praise to God in “Prazes,” “Me and Jah,” “Foolish Game” and “Jah Can Do.” As Slinky puts it, “This album is about the defense of mother earth, and the up-liftment of those who trod upon her.”

Earth Defender, which would soon be in record stores worldwide, does have something for everyone who loves Caribbean and world-beat music, as well as soca (“Something”).

Slinky leaves behind his supportive father Derrick Cole, mother Marg Laride, grandmother Dorothy Tucker, children - Jafari, Jodine and Nia, and his brothers Narada/”Mark” and Tevern.

Looking Ahead
His wake will be held on Tuesday, February 14 and his funeral on Wednesday, February 15. Interment is being handled by the Guarino Funeral Home in Brooklyn, NY. Slinky’s family and management are also planning a major concert to celebrate his life and work. For more information about Slinky’s funeral, music, or events planned to celebrate his life, call 347-742-7256 or email thcgllc@hotmail.com.