Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Others

As you might be able to tell, I don't have much time to listen to many more different genres of music apart from the Reggae, Soca & Zouk I cover on this blog and that time gets even less and less, seemingly by the day. Still, there're a few artists who don't fall into the line of what I discuss on a regular basis, from other genres who have definitely managed to catch my attentions and these days can count me as a fan of theirs. Thus, I submit for your approval, My Favourite 'Other' Artists.

{note: This list was hard as hell. As you see it stands as a very odd 9 instead of 10 because I couldn't come up with anyone else, although I'm probably forgetting someone BIG}
{note 2: Current artists only}
{note 3: I know very little about some of these people actually}
{note 4: Should you know more or of similar artists, even though I probably won't followup with it, feel free to drop a recommendation or two}

#9. India Arie [US/R&B]

I used to be quite the fan of R&B when I was in high school (and if I could have legitimately named more than one or two of her tunes anymore, Toni Braxton might’ve made this list also), but I don’t have the ears for it anymore, save for the occasional exception here and there and many such “odd exceptions” have been provided by India Arie over the years. Of course it doesn’t hurt that the most recent one was ‘Therapy’ a downright enchanting combination featuring Gramps Morgan (oh and you cannot tell me the woman doesn't look EXACTLY like a young Rita Marley).

Favourite Tune: ‘Therapy’ featuring Gramps Morgan

#8. Nas [US/Hip-Hop]

I don’t very much like Rap music and that’s unfortunate because I’ve heard some REALLY impressive lyrical talents in that genre, but Nas holds the distinction of being the only Hip-Hop artist on this list who is actually on this list for his Hip-Hop, although certainly his immediately future ventures are about to change that forever. He also holds the distinction of having the last PURE Hip-Hop tune that I actually REALLY liked and damn near LOVED, which would have been a long ass time ago, I’m sure, but it was called ‘One Mic’ (and it kind of sounded like spoken word to me if I recall correctly). Since then I honestly haven’t paid much attention to him outside of the occasional combination, but all that is set to change as apparently in about three months’ time I’m going to have the honour of writing my very first review for one of his releases as he collaborates with Junior Gong on the much anticipated Distant Relatives album.

Favourite Tune: ’One Mic’

#7. Foxy Brown [US/Hip-Hop]

I REALLY don’t think I have to explain this one, so I won’t even insult your intelligence by doing so (oh and all of that lovely chocolate doesn’t hurt either).

Favourite Tune: ‘Oh Yeah’ featuring Spragga Benz

#6. Alicia Keys [US/R&B]

I do have to admit that Alicia Keys has a new album out just recently and I couldn’t name or hum you one tune from it most likely, but she still retains her relatively high position on this list because she’s a genius and she’s very nice to listen to, even if I don’t actually like most of the songs (and I do like most of the ones that I hear). I paid a lot more attention when she first arrived on the scene and I hope to do so again someday, but Keys’ music, even when somber, is just very nice and delightful to listen to. And of course jumping in on [Baby] Cham’s ‘Ghetto Story’ remix and remixing her own ‘No One’ tune with about 30,000 different Reggae artists didn’t hurt either.

Favourite Tune: Don’t have one.

#5. Wyclef Jean [Haiti & US/World & Hip-Hop]

Wyclef, like a couple of the previous entrants on this list (but even more so), has gone very far in linking himself with Reggae and Reggae culture that at times I almost even view him in the same light as people like Maxi Priest, Eddy Grant and others who are merely international Caribbean artists, although I think most would still consider him a straight forward Hip-Hopper (although I could be wrong). Working with the likes of Tanya Stephens, Elephant Man, Spragga Benz, Mavado, Foxy Brown, Buju, Wayne Wonder, Sizzla, Anthony B, MACHEL MONTANO and even ADMIRAL T and who knows who else, has kept a nearly permanent place for Wyclef on my players every couple of years or so.

Favourite Tune: ‘Gone Til November’

#4. Lauryn Hill [US/???]

Having mentally crafted this list for a few days, it’s not too surprising that the first (and second) (and third) time through that I had forgotten to include Lauryn Hill’s name on it as she has been virtually invisible for a long ass time. HOWEVER, I happened to notice that a couple of days ago (and maybe even yesterday) that she performed at a big Reggae festival in New Zealand, which THANKFULLY brought her back to mind. I can honestly say that EVERY tune I’ve ever heard from her (although certainly not many), I’ve definitely enjoyed and I question her actual genre because I couldn’t possibly say that about ANYONE who didn’t at least have a little Reggae ALL of the time (incidentally if you do know of a piece of rubbish Lauryn Hill tune, please don’t ruin my vibe by letting me know of it).

Favourite Tune: ‘Zion’

#3. Angélique Kidjo [Benin/Afropop]

Comparable to her legendary career, I haven’t actually been listening to Ms. Kidjo for a very long time at all, however, what I’ve heard, both new and old, has been impressive to say the least. Angélique Kidjo had an album a few years back by the name of Oyaya! which had more than a little Caribbean and Reggae overtone to it and it was absolutely dazzling! Even though I had heard her name and even listened to her before, it wasn’t until then that I REALLY became hooked. Now, just a few years on and I’m paying attention every time she does something, including her newest masterpiece, the recently released Oyo.

Favourite Tune: Bissimilai

#2. Femi Kuti [Nigeria/Afrobeat]

I have a Trini uncle, one of the many STRANGE individuals from my Father’s side of the family, who til this very day and probably for the rest of his days swears that the immortal Fela Anikulapo Kuti is the greatest musician of all time and although I’d disagree, I’m certainly in no position to argue (neither is anyone else). Unfortunately Fela has been gone for almost thirteen years at this point and when he transitioned (I would have been a couple of weeks away from turning sixteen) I was in no position to appreciate his very eccentric music. HOWEVER, the most credible and powerful living link that the world has to the genius that was Fela Kuti (and my uncle agrees) is his very similar looking son, Femi whose music is arguably just as beautiful as the lovely madness his father created. Thankfully Femi is still with us and his own legend grows stronger and stronger as does his presence on my players.

Favourite Tune: ‘Shotan’

#1. Rokia Troaré [Mali/???]

I don’t even know what to say about this woman. I believe I own every album Rokia Troaré has ever made in here entire career and in regards to their age, I listen to them fairly consistently I‘d say. . . But honestly off the top of my head I can probably name you four or five songs AT MOST. I hardly know ANYTHING at all about her and some of my favourite (ultimately nameless in my memory) tunes from her, I hardly comprehend the language at all. So why is she even here? Because this woman makes some of the strangest, yet most captivating music I have ever heard in my entire life. Her music puts my Wife to sleep. It stabilizes my mood. I’ve played it for friends and they just kind of seem to. . . PAUSE AND if you ‘indulge’ - should you ever smoke while listening to Rokia Troaré’s music, you will see things (including colours) which just do not exist. It is to this perplexing end that, especially as of late, Rokia Troaré is my absolute favourite non-Caribbean/Caribbean music making artist. Period.

Favourite Tune: ‘Dounia’


  1. Perhaps you'd like K'naan. He's a rapper from Somalia, he's got Jr. Gong on his cd, and he's said to be featured heavily on the Nas and Damian Marley album.

  2. Give thanks Repo, I've heard the name, I'll check him out yeah.

  3. Word, you might like him. Being from that he's from a really bad area of the world he has more meaningful content than your average rapper.