Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Oil & Water???

With Damian Marley and Hip-Hop star, Nas, dropping their increasingly very well received Distant Relatives album earlier this month, it certainly got a few things in my mind twisting and turning (besides for writing that insanely long review) about the possibilities of what, and more importantly ‘WHO’, could be next. Of course when you look at the Hip-Hop world there’re more than a few possibilities and I’m sure because of the successes that the album is currently reportedly enjoying that some of them are going to be explored (I will not be satisfied until we have a combination album featuring Merciless and that old guy, Willie D, from The Ghetto Boys), but instead of showing my ignorance (anymore than usual) and even attempting such a thing, I thought I’d take the concept and familiarize it a bit more. We have so many artists who haven’t gotten the opportunity to work with one another for various reasons and personally I’d like to see it in a few of those occasions. Thus, I submit, for your approval, my own personal Top 10 Most Wanted Combinations.

{note: Pretty much anything goes here, the only condition I tried to observe was to not repeat artists, thus you won’t see Sizzla alongside ten different artists’ names}

{note 2: I will most certainly be doing a sequel to this list at some point and feel free to leave you suggestions as well or email them to me}

{note 3: If you happen to know of any (non-remix) tunes featuring these combinations, do not hesitate to let me know. Thanks}

#10. Beres Hammond & Cocoa Tea

The Overdo and Overdue - I only put this one so low because it may be a matter of ‘be careful what you wish for’. Should the time come when legends Beres Hammond and Cocoa Tea decide to do a song together, speakers on players and in cars EVERYWHERE may experience frostbite due to the fact of how utterly COOL the song would be. Both artists have come to become, both vocally and visually, archetypes of sorts in Reggae music in their respective careers. For example, if I were to mention ‘stereotypical COOL Reggae singer’, chances are, you’re probably going to either think of Beres Hammond and his cool ass leather hat or Cocoa Tea singing a song at his house (or on the beach or laying in a hammock somewhere) and this goes for people who don’t even follow the music too much - The person they come up with in their heads will be very Beres or very Cocoa Tea-like - almost every time. Should the two get together and voice a song (which Hammond would produce), there may actually be some universal rift created with just entirely too much COOL SWEETNESS on a single track.

Chances of Happening? If it were going to happen, I would think it would’ve already, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did.

#9. Spice & Lady Sweety

Problems! - Take arguably the two most talented female Dancehall lyricists to jump up since Tanya Stephens and put them together on a single tune and you’d have a serious situation on your hands, to say the least. For her part, Spice is in the process (and has been for a decade) of taking the hardcore side of the Dancehall and making it her own personal playground as far as the ladies go as she is BY FAR the most talented entrant in that genre consistently in Jamaica to emerge in quite some time. Lady Sweety? Sweety seems to be an ARCHITECT of the spoken word and should she choose to attack such a combination in either Englsh or Creole, the results would be MASSIVE on any terms. They’ve kind of quietly become very similar artists, in respect to their subgenres and together they’d do a major damage and letting Spice’s ‘old friend’ Dave Kelly produce it wouldn’t hurt things either.

Chances of Happening? Not holding my breath, but if it’d help, I would.

#8. Jah Cure & Ce’Cile

DUH! - So Jah Cure is scoring hit after hit while concluding his stay in prison, gets out of prison and releases a new album basically on the same damn day, continues to score hits after he’s released and does so under the Danger Zone banner and all is well in the world with the ridiculous voiced singer at the height of his power. Meanwhile, at roughly the same time, Ce’Cile has hit her prime. Having had an album “coming soon” or been in “negotiations” with the likes of Delicious Vinyl for years and years, she seemingly reemerges revitalized and refreshed and promptly proceeds to score hit after hit and also manages to release about 5 albums in like . . . A half an hour and she does so . . . Under the . . . Danger Zone . . . Banner. Hmmm. The two score MASSIVE hits, ‘Waiting’ and ‘Sticky’ respectively, over the same damn riddim (the Jam Down, also from Danger Zone, SHOCKINGLY) and no big tune together. And yet, Ce’Cile has worked with EVERYBODY and Jah Cure (musically speaking) goes to Barbados (with a stop in Trinidad to get a producer) to work with Alison Hinds and my face is planted FIRMLY in my palm. The results here would certainly be HUGE and - Well, I’m not even going to say who would produce it.

Chances of Happening? Shit, I’d say 100%, but I would’ve said the same thing a couple of years ago, so what in the hell do I know?

#7. Etana & Queen Omega


Royal - You knew this one was coming. I had actually gone through almost this entire process (stopping just short of making the picture) with Trini Empress Queen Omega’s ‘sparring partner’ as the incomparable Queen Ifrica, but then I got to thinking that a combination featuring Etana might be even stronger. Why? I think the two artists are VERY similar, but at different stages of their careers, respectively. Queen Omega may very well be younger than Etana (although I doubt it), but she’s been around longer and if you listen to her she sounds, quite frankly, like Etana might in a few years or so, with a more aggressive stance, flowing tactfully between full singing and full chanting without missing a beat. Etana, on the other hand, given her already secured status, will have the world as her playground will grow to become whatever it is she will become with the best producers on Earth, a luxury which Omega didn’t actually enjoy (although she certainly hasn’t been starving on that end). The results, I think, would be a song where Etana would play the singer and Queen Omega, the chanter. But there would be a point in this song where both would CUT LOOSE with the vocals and that one magical moment would make it all so easily worth it.

Chances of Happening? While it doesn’t seem likely now, with Etana seemingly headed towards the ‘mainstream’ and Queen Omega ruling the ‘underground’ and doing so quite comfortably - With them both still being (I THINK) quite shy of 30 years old (biggup JC), I actually am pretty confident that this will happen at some point.

#6. Capleton & Bounty Killer

DAMN! - I didn’t think of this one until quite late in the process (and actually ended up bumping out Pressure Busspipe - Dezarie in favour of it), but now that I think of it, it’s a pretty big shame that these two didn’t get together, maybe a decade ago even. Capleton and Bounty Killer’s careers kind of both run parallel with each having established themselves as not only legends in the business, but having done so at roughly the same time and with both also having rather public spats with fellow legend Beenie Man, you would’ve thought that it would’ve happened. They’re also both INSTITUTIONS, as they’ve each helped to establish and help along artist after artist and who knows how many dozens of shows and riddims they’ve guested on together as well. So how would the tune sound??? I think it’d be pretty energetic, I also think it would be all over the place and would be surprised if it had any REAL direction to it, but be honest - Would you care? I wouldn’t.

Chances of Happening? This is another case where I’m going to say that if it was going to happen, it would’ve already and, glancing up and down this list, this is probably the most surprised I’d be for any pairing taking place here.

#5. Damian Marley & Assassin

Welcome Home - The thing about Jr. Gong from the perspective of hardcore Reggae fans (like you and me) is to try to get him more involved in making the ‘normal’ everyday type of Reggae. Of course, his name, alone, is something which separates him, but in general, Marley tends to operate on a different level. He’s usually linked up with his brothers and only his brothers, so on the occasions that he ‘comes out to play’ and does so with the likes of Bounty Killer, Capleton, Yami Bolo and the likes, it’s definitely a big deal. Still, doesn’t the notion of Marley jumping on Big Ship’s next riddim sound downright mouthwatering?! So, in order to bring him closer to ‘center’, I’d like to see him do a tune with the growing genius that is Assassin. Besides being wicked to . . . Wherever, ‘Sassin’s style is also kind of similar to Gong’s. They’re both kind of blurring the edges and where Marley ultimately goes back to Roots Reggae music, Assassin goes towards the Dancehall, but they both do so with a level of craftsmanship which is rarely match by their peers. This song would be a very powerful tune and may even sound like a more Dancehall centered version than what Marley recently gave us with Nas.

Chances of Happening? More than likely it’s just wishful thinking, but what I’m thinking is that after Distant Relatives runs its course, in 3-4 years or so Marley will want to come back with some entirely more Reggae music focused and Assassin will be in his early thirties at that point (and so will I) (shit), but he’ll definitely still be around and it may happen. A man can dream. Can’t he???

#4. Tiwony & Bunji Garlin

When Worlds Collide - I maintain (and maybe only I, but who cares what you think) that Gwada ace Tiwony and 500x Trinidad Soca Monarch sound very much alike one another. With a very kind of ‘low’ but exploding style, I think their tones are similar and they’re both extremely talented which would make a combination between the two downright LETHAL. Tiwony is the ever improving lyrical dynamo who has shown versatility with tunes like ‘Priyé Jah’ and ‘Jah Is My Guide’ on one end of the spectrum and ‘Longtime’ and the Socafied ‘Fly’ on the other. And Bunji has also proven himself quite the versatile wordsmith, both in Soca and Reggae/Dancehall. Garlin is also probably (definitely) the single most gifted Soca lyricist EVER and with hits spanning the globe, his ‘qualifications’ are unquestionable at this point. Together? I’m picturing something REALLY over-the-top and ridiculous and absolutely FIRE in every way and even if it were to go slow, one-drop like, I wouldn’t care too much, this one is a can’t-miss winner.

Chances of Happening? I don’t think it’ll ever happen. While Bunji does go after combinations with Jamaican artists (Beenie and Busy in just the last couple of years), I’ve never known him to bridge the language gap (unless we’re speaking Hindi) and for his part, Tiwony seems almost exclusively focused on combinations with Creole and French artists. Dammit!

#3. Destra & Faye-Ann Lyons

. . . Or die - Can you imagine? The colours! The madness! The ROAMING FITS OF INSANITY! It would all be absolutely beautiful and it would probably kill me in the process, but again, I really wouldn’t care too much. Should Destra, in all of her splendour and wonderfulness link up with Faye-Ann, who has been on a fantastic streak now dating back four years or so and is in the prime of her career, I mean that would be the stuff Soca legends are made of. They’re styles, although different (Lyons is much more aggressive and lyrically more impressive, while Destra’s greatest talent comes in her incomparable delivery and showwomanship (and her voice is better also)), are quite comparable and I think would make for an undeniable winner. And did I mention the madness? Go back and pluck ‘Get On’ from Faye-Ann and imagine if Destra was guesting on the tune. Imagine Faye-Ann having a verse on ‘Bacchanal’ or on ‘Last Lap’! DAMN!

Chances of Happening? In 2008 Faye-Ann did a tune, ‘Getting’ On Wild’ with Nnika Francis from out of Greenz and that same year it was all about the obsessive wining going on with Destra, Alison Hinds and Saucy. I think it’s only a matter of time before these two give everyone what they want and bridge the gap with one of the biggest moments in Soca history.

#2. Aidonia & Saïk

In the Year 4000 - Should it actually come to fruition, you’d probably need a computer of some sort to count the words per second between Aidonia and young Gwada superstar, Saïk. Aidonia has become this kind of otherworldly gifted wordsmith who links words and phrases with words and phrases and gives his words and phrases the feel that they simply do what he says with . . . Words and Phrases. It’s almost FUNNY at times to hear that man deejay . . . If that’s what we’re still calling it when he does it. For his part, Saïk isn’t very far behind and tracing him back to his earlier moments you can literally hear him becoming more and more talented to the point where we hear what he hear today - An artist with a TIMING for the words which may just be unmatched in the Dancehall - Of any kind. And he’s still progressing and I think before he’s finished, he’ll be a virtual mirror of Aidonia (with a higher pitch and in Creole). If/when they actually got together for a song, I think it would be best to take such a thing and pack it up in a time capsule and bury it with the instructions ‘Do Not Open Until Year 4000’, but before you do that, I’d like to hear it please. Thanks.

Chances of Happening? Not bad. In his career, Aidonia has done combinations of sorts with both Kalash and Krys (and Kartel) as well as a few Soca artists, while Saïk has worked with Nicky B, so the connections have kind of been established (and Saïk also, kinda/sorta also dealt with Beenie Man). It would almost have to be a Saïk project in order to get to that level to involve Aidonia, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if Saïk’s next album rolled out (maybe even this year), with a tune featuring Aidonia.

#1. Sizzla & Vaughn Benjamin

And die a happy man - It would have to be perfect. You’d have to take any attractions to any inclinations whatsoever Sizzla might have to act crazy on the track. You might need to do a straight Nyah drum for the riddim and you’d have to take absolutely precise precautions. It might even be impossible at this point. But if you could do it . . . A straight forward Roots Reggae tune featuring Sizzla Kalonji alongside the genius front man of Midnite, Vaughn Benjamin would be EPIC. You might not be able to understand the concept, but it would be timeless. I’m thinking lock the two in the studio with someone like Linval Thompson, someone like such who commands an incomparable lot of respect and just destroy some type of vibration, using it to craft what would be one of the greatest songs ever heard. To this point, they’ve certainly appeared on the same projects and who knows how they’re paths may have crossed through the years, but never on one same track. Should they ever, you talk about POWER. The song would be amongst the greatest written compositions in the history of word, sound and power.

Chances of Happening? Wouldn’t be surprised at all and hoping hoping hoping.


  1. Weird man, I was listening to Bounty Killer and Barrington Levy's Living Dangerously and the idea to post A Perfect Pair came to light. But me being me, my attention span got sidetracked after Buju and Red Rat's Love Dem Bad. Actually Buju and Friends is two discs of perfect pairs. I am still gonna post it 'cause yours is hypothetical theorizing and mine is simple math. One plus one is equals massive hit single. I know-I am showing off my addition skills.

  2. All of that math Nico . . . I mean really, I can't follow along.