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L3 focuses on the artists 3 Star, Cali P and 1ST Lady! Read what the buzz is all about.

L3 sits down with Shaggy to discuss why we need to spend a Summer in Kingston, his “Sugarcane” and what to expect with his new album!

L3 finds out that Courtney John is not just a musician, but one of a kind!

Find out why L3 is happy to discuss Alize’s first all-female mix squad!

CONTROVERSY, SUCCESS & 074 LOYAL FANS Baby Cham clears up his absence at this year’s 2011 Jamaica Day and what to expect moving forward.












In nature, an eco system is a community of living and non-living things that work together. Ecosystems have no particular size, and can be as large as a desert or a lake or as small as a tree or a puddle. The water, water temperature, plants, animals, air, light and soil all work together. If there isn’t enough light or water or if the soil doesn’t have the right nutrients, the plants will die. If the plants die, animals that depend on them will die. If the animals that depend on the plants die, any animals that depends on those animals will die. Ecosystems have lots of different living organisms that interact with each other.

The ecosystem in Dancehall works the same way. Everything is Dancehall is connected. The Artist who writes the lyrics is connected to the producer who composes the music for the artist to perform to. The Artist and Producer are connected to the fans who either buy the music, or attend the concert, and to the radio jock who plays the music for the fans. The fans, radio jocks, artist and producer are connected to the promoter, who traditionally hires the artist to perform at a show. It is at this point in the Dancehall eco system where things can get a little sticky.

The promoter is connected to the community in which a show is going to be held. He or she is in touch with the cities overall demand for the artists performance, as well as the venue in which the show is going to be held. So far, the eco system is simple and doesn’t present an opportunity for threat. Going back to nature, a threat to the earth’s ecosystem is the extinction of species which can be caused by lack of nutrients to the organisms. In this scenario, extinction is the end. When extinction occurs life through the entire ecosystem eventually comes to an end. In Durham region (a suburb of Toronto, Ontario, Canada), the Police appear to be acting as a missing nutrient, causing the emerging Reggae and Dancehall market to become extinct. As mentioned in this month’s editorial, Lady Saw was scheduled to perform in Whitby, Ontario at the Luxor Night Club, but the show didn’t go according to plan. As a matter of fact, the show didn’t happen at all. According to the promoters, Suppa Natty and Baby Girl Management, the venue where the show was to be held, didn’t have adequate security for the crowd. The crowd number by 11:30pm was approximately 500. The number of security people on staff was 15, a ratio of 1 security for every 33 people in attendance. Most security professionals (and police forces) say a comfortable margin is 1 security person for every 75 people in attendance. Ok. The SWAT Team, yes, SWAT held a heavy presence at the front of the venue as if a terrorist threat had been called in. Uniformed Police officers were also at the front of the venue, only instead of walking with guns drawn, they hurled insults to patrons by saying ‘there ain’t gonna be a show tonight – go home.’ When asked for reasoning for the cancellation of the show, patrons were told to speak to the promoter. At 12:09am, Baby Girl Management addressed the crowd and informed them of the new location for the concert. By the time fans arrived at the new venue, SWAT Team was there as well with an almost military like greeting. What’s more, the Police tried to visit Lady Saw at her hotel (the reasoning for this was not made clear despite repeated requests for comment). Was this visit to add further insult to injury? Prior to the Reggae and Dancehall market development in Durham region, money making stopped after 11pm – the time most bars and shops closed. With the market development, money making continued to 4am. Bar owners were happy as concerts and events ensured their staff got paid, and profits were high. Suppa Natty was the only promoter putting on events on a regular basis. With the Police acting in the manner they did, Suppa Natty is almost forced to develop a market in another region. The bar staff at venues he would have held events at have had their pay reduced that much more. The artists that Suppa Natty would

have employed to perform, will not be able to earn as much of an income as Whitby presents one less city they can include on a tour. The flyer designer loses his / her pay, as does the street team who would have been hired to help promote the event. The lawyer hired to process the Visa application on behalf of the artist and entourage comes up financially short. The airline company, hotel association and ground transportation service all lose too. Why? The Police force decides to play the role of ‘extinction’ enforcement. To take this a little further, an artist could become weary of having to deal with these situations, as can artists management, which could lead to the artist not wanting to make music, affecting the music producer, and affecting fans who rely on music to keep their cheer; again, all of this because the Police decide to play the role of ‘extinction’ enforcement? Reggae is stronger than that! Seeing the turn of events (Suppa Natty has been hosting successful events in Durham region for the past 5 years with minimal incident), Suppa Natty took his ecosystem to another city who was all too happy to have him. Fortunately for Natty, the new city is in need of nourishment, of which he brings plenty! He and Baby Girl Management have launched a lawsuit against the Whitby Police department and cannot comment on this article pending the outcome of the proceeding.

What is your favourite Shaggy track on his new album, Summer in Kingston?

AUGUST 2011 | NO. 002 Being a romantic, “Dame” is my track. Shaggy makes me ‘melt’!

The track, “End of the World (Drink Up) is a self-indulgent salute to the good times! Besides “F-k the Recession” I’d get drunk, smoke some blunts and partaaay!



Hands down, I love “Sugarcane”! The sly innuendo and shameless appetite for naughty double-entendres makes me love Shaggy all over again!




“Feeling Alive”.


“Fired Up (F-K the Recession” because it’s exactly what I’d do – spend that cash in spite of the economic distress! F-k the recession, I’m spending!!”


“L3” (ISSIN 1020-2000) is published monthly (Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec) by L3 Group of Companies, 123 blank street, Scarborough, ON L1R2H2. Reproduction without permission is prohibited. Copyright © 2011. Title “L3” registered CAN Patent and Trademark Office. Printed in Canada. MANUSCRIPTS AND ART: The Publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts, art, photos or negatives. SUBSCRIPTION INQUIRIES (CAN) 1-289-217-2800 or SUBSCRIPTION RATES and Possessions: 14.95 CAD/Year plus applicable taxes. SUBSCRIPTION PROBLEMS call 1-289-217-2800 or email


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Love Reggae music! Reggae is the reason why I am here, and is also the reason why (presumably) you are here too. It’s because of Reggae music why I have an outlet to express myself in word, and is a blessing I don’t take for granted. Reggae is also an industry. This industry was started with nothing, yet has grown to become so powerful that festivals are held in its honor every month in most cities around the world. It generates more revenue than you can imagine (experts put it conservatively at $2 Billion USD per year) which means it puts a lot of food on a lot of tables. With that amount of revenue and with the scope of the genre being global, Reggae should be one of the most protected industries right?! Wrong. Increasingly, Reggae music is under attack. Ironically, the attack comes from within as much as it comes from without. We have artists such as Chaka Demus who are paid to perform at a show and don’t turn up, as much as we have Police services who purposely target Reggae and Dancehall promoters and the disruption of their events (Suppa Natty from Oshawa Canada experienced this in June, 2011 when he brought Lady Saw to the city to perform), to mainstream radio stations reducing the amount of airtime Reggae music enjoys such as David Rodigan going from a 3 hour show on Total KISS FM in London, to now having a 1 hour show. All of these issues, and more, constitute an attack. I am confident that Reggae is strong enough to withstand these attacks. This confidence comes as a result of studying the music; from its roots to its fruit. In the early days, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer experienced attacks because their music awakened consciousness. They survived. Not only did they survive, their music has become the foundation upon which future generations start their careers. More and more youths have become educated to the ways of Babylon, and Babylon’s manipulation of mankind that they are aware of the ‘system’ and its perils. Each year, an increasing number of students study the business of Reggae music which means the industry grows by numbers. There are some who organize events, while others take the journalistic route and others still, pursue management. All of this and more ensure our future. One of our biggest strengths is the fact that the music is so accepted worldwide, we have become embedded in foreign countries fabric. Toronto for example has a Bob Marley day just as the Native people of Australia burn a sacred flame in honor of the Reggae hero, as India includes the superstar in cultural festivals. These are just three examples and shows the point that the music is everywhere. In this issue of L3 Magazine, we hear from Shaggy who weighs in on one of the missing components that’s needed in order to sustain our industry: Corporate sponsorships. We also hear from Courtney John who shares his thoughts on the future of the industry, and, the ultimate interview with Cham who tells us exactly what happened with Jamaica Day 2011 in Toronto, and why he didn’t perform. Reggae music is the source and the source cannot come to an end…

Natasha Von Castle



















ondon is hot these days. First came the Royal Wedding. Then there was the prolonged heat wave this spring. And now the city of 14 million people is gearing up for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Of course, London – with its myriad museums, art galleries, historical sites, pubs and parks – is always bustling. Tackling a city as old and large as London is tricky business, even for locals. Rather than offering up tips on sites you already know about (the Tower of London, Big Ben, the Tate...) we asked our UK correspondent Karen Kay to come up with her must-see, must-experience, off-thetourist-trail itinerary. Here’s her insider’s guide to The City.

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SIGHTSEEING Visiting London means hitting the National Gallery, the British Museum and the Tate, as well as well-known sites including Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey. But where do Londoners go when they want to sightsee?

One of London’s best-kept secrets, the Courtauld Gallery ( gallery) features masterpieces from the likes of Van Gogh, Monet, Gauguin and Renoir. This summer (June 16 – Sept. 18), the gallery is featuring Parisian artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, famed for his depictions of the Moulin Rouge in the late 19th century. W2 If you thought walking tours were for retirees and bused tour groups, you’ve never been on an Urban Gentry Tour ( Even longtime Londoners love these cool, bespoke tours. Themed walks include fashion, architecture, food and the arts. Or you can take in a specific neighbourhood and learn more about the life behind its doors. Book a private tour or join a small group.


The first museum in the world dedicated to contemporary design, the Design Museum ( features industrial, fashion, consumer, graphic and other design works from around the world; everything from parking meters and posters to food mixers and “trainers” (Brit-speak for running shoes). The shop is top-notch, too. W1








EATING & DRINKING Once the laughingstock of the world when it came to its gastronomy, London is now seriously hot when it comes to epicurean experiences. And we’re talking more than just fish and chips and Planet Hollywood. This is an international city, after all. Leon ( is fast food for those who care about what they eat. Enjoy delicious, healthy, ethically sourced meals in a buzzy cafe atmosphere, or you can order takeaway to eat on the move. (Locations throughout London.)


Created by Oliver Peyton (also responsible for the very stylish, very British National Dining Rooms at the National Gallery), Inn the Park ( is at its best in summer, when its wood-and-glass design blends right into the parkland. W2

London’s massive subway system takes you everywhere. Navigate the maze with Tube Map (BB), Tube Deluxe (iP) or London Underground Free (AN).

Quickly find hidden gems in specific neighbourhoods with this app. Just launch and the app finds nearby cafés and pubs, golf courses, spring rolls, Turkish baths – you name it.

Where many food destinations end up as passing fads, The Parlour at Sketch (sketch. has remained a popular choice for 10 years. Decorated in decadent style (like something from a Baz Luhrmann film set), Parlour is the perfect place for afternoon tea while indulging in people-watching. W1

This incredibly useful map app offers detailed coverage of the entire city. It also means you don’t have to pull out a map – and look like a tourist – every time you get lost.

Get the skinny on special events, live shows and other thisweek-only news and information with this handy app.

SHOPPING Every visitor to London should visit world-famous department stores including Selfridges, Liberty and Harrods as well as shopping streets like Bond and Sloane (for international designer boutiques) and Portobello Road and Brick Lane (for one-of-a-kind and vintage). Now then, where do Londoners shop? If you’re in London between Thursday and Saturday, hit the Borough Market ( Known as the larder of London, Borough is frequented by celebrity chefs and foodies. A gigantic covered food market packed with artisan producers peddling their wares, treats abound, so come hungry. W1

Not a market in the strictest sense of the word, Dover Street Market ( is more of a curated clothes shop. Covering more than six floors, Dover is home to contemporary designers and often the place to source coveted limited editions and works by top designers. The top-floor eatery (an outpost of the Parisian favourite The Rose Bakery) is wonderful. W1










After watching Shaggy’s video for “Sugar Cane,” viewers are ready to pack their bags and head to Jamaica for their own taste of Sugar Cane! The website is filled with suggestions as to what you can do while on the island paradise. One relaxing activity is Babmoo Rafting! Montego Bay has much to offer its visitors, from five worldclass golf courses to the rich heritage of historic Falmouth. But perhaps one of the most relaxing features of this region is a glorious rafting trip down one of Montego Bay’s gorgeous, tranquil rivers, the Martha Brae in Trelawny or Lethe’s Great River. Tip: Travel in pairs. The bamboo raft can comfortably host two people. Flowing for over 20 miles from the tip of the Cockpit Country to the Caribbean Sea, the Martha Brae’s fame comes from its beauty and legendary past. According to local myth, the river is named after a Taino woman who was believed to possess magical powers and to know the location of a secret gold mine. One day the Spanish forced the woman to take them to the mine, but on the way she used her powers to alter the river’s course, and so the roaring river blocked the mine’s entrance and killed the Conquistador. Today, over 40000 visitors travel down Martha Brae on bam-

boo rafts every year. Your tour starts at the “Rafters’ Village”, about thirty minutes outside of Montego Bay. While there,meander the six-acre grounds, take a dip in the village’s swimming pool, have a drink or a bite at the restaurant, or pick up a few souvenirs. Once on the calm river, you glide for three miles through Jamaica’s lush interior. At Tarzan’s Corner, you may zip through the air on a rope to swing or plunge into the refreshing water. The tour ends at “Martha’s Rest”, a rustic building that houses another souvenir shop and bar/restaurant. Tip: For real refreshment under the sun, slip off your raft into cool river pools. Lethe, a sleepy rural town, is about a 40-minute drive outside of Montego Bay. The rafting tour takes you down the Great River, past farmlands owned by Mountain Valley and under a historic 19th century bridge to the quiet “Rafters Rest” Along the way, explore the pastoral banks, or stop and sample fresh fruits handpicked from nearby trees. As you drift downstream, your raft captain may tell you interesting tidbits about the history of rafting and the surrounding community. At the end of the ride you may choose from other tours, or simply relax in gazebos at the “Rest”.





BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO INVESTING If you’ve ever wondered how to make $1Million in a year, here are 10 suggested tips as to how you can do it! Step 1: Be a thought leader in your industry.

Step 2: Create Passive Income Streams.

Start a blog, give speeches, write articles or publish a book on your niche area of business. Become the expert that people seek out when they need a solution. If you market yourself enough you will be receiving warm phone calls from individuals wanting to buy from you instead of potentially cold calling on individuals who have no interest in your business. This is the least expensive suggestion on how to grow your business - there are many places where you can start a blog for free. Invest one hour a day in learning about your market and writing about what you learn and within one year you will have potential customers and joint venture partnerships approaching you. This strategy works for all types of niches, including dog training, hedge fund investing, copywriting, fundraising and physical therapy. Every niche has an online audience looking to learn more about the subject. Start feeding them with valuable content and they will start feeding your business with leads and marketing opportunities. This tip is provided first because this alone has helped hundreds of businesses grow to more than $1 million a year in revenue.

Subscription-based models and membership programs sell to a customer once and earn a profit every month as long as you keep those customers happy. An example of this is a website information portal selling a service provider directory listing. The website charges $99 a month and receives that payment every single month of the year as long as the website remains popular and relevant. Passive income models could incorporate a low monthly fee for on-demand customer service or maintenance, subscription access to exclusive coaching or a newsletter with interviews, book reviews and market analysis on your industry.

Step 3: Upsell your current customers. If you have a customer who loves your product, perhaps he or she would like a premium version of that same product, or a second one for a co-worker or a family member. One of the easiest ways to quickly grow your business is to earn additional sales through your current customers.

Step 4: Over-deliver to every customer whenever possible. Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool that you can employ. Many large corporations spend millions of dollars on marketing only to pay their customer service personnel minimum wage. This is their area of vulnerability — your small business can create more personal relationships and provide better delivery and customer service than most of the large players in the industry.

Step 5: Conduct a best practices analysis. Analyze your top five competitors; everything from their websites and customer service, to product lines and prices. Take notes and write down 10 new ideas you could use from each of these competitors. If you do this once a year, not only will you keep up with your competitors as they innovate and evolve, but you will leapfrog over them as many others will not do this hard work, and the combination of new ideas will lead to new creative solutions for your customers.

Step 6: Stay focused. Your business is an investment; changing your environment by spending time with other motivated individuals can help you keep focused. Become a student of positive psychology, and clear your office and desk of distractions. If you get up early and start each day by studying your industry, your competitors and your top-level goals, you will work more efficiently and gain an edge on your competition.

Step 7: Sell your product / service internationally. Choose one to three target markets outside of where you are currently operating and identify would-be competitors there. What do they charge? What products do they offer? Call or email these companies as time permits, and introduce yourself. Tell them you are doing research, as many will be happy to lend some advice or tips. In a worst-case scenario, you will find that there is no way to expand abroad, but you will probably come across another product idea or customer acquisition strategy by completing the research and seeing what the industry is like within other regions of the world.

Step 8: $1Million is an intimidating number. Work toward $1 million a year in revenue backwards. If you want your business to earn $1 million a year, that means you must make $83,333 a month, or $20,833 a week, or $4,166 per business day. That is a lot of money to earn every business day, but what new products or services could you add now

that could possibly earn that much within one to two years? Think in terms of leverage, developing systems and residual passive income streams. Every minute of time you spend should be seen as an investment.

Step 9: Acquire Businesses. Who are your competitors? How are they doing business-wise? Are they about to retire? Most businesses sell for two to five times their annual earnings or profits, and many parties who are interested in selling end up simply closing shop after not finding an interested buyer. Many times, you may be able to pick up a business that, when combined with a business you already own, could pay for itself within 12-18 months. This is one of the most expensive but quickest ways of reaching $1 million a year in sales.

Step 10: Experiment. Many business owners find that it is only through listening to customers and/or trying to offer a dozen business services or products that they finally find one that really resonates with their target market and takes off in terms of sales. Each experiment that you try will teach you something about your business and customers. Many of the largest, most successful companies have market-tested thousands of products to develop their portfolios of one- to two-dozen existing product offerings. Hard work creates luck and if you experiment long enough, you will find something that sticks.






W H AT W E C A N ’ T L I V E W I T H O U T


Mobile gaming is big business, and Sony Ericsson has teamed with sister company and video-game powerhouse Sony Computer Entertainment to get in on the game with the Xperia Play, the “PlayStation phone.”Brimming with power and sporting a unique, PlayStation-branded physical interface, it looks like the sort of phone conjured up in a gamer’s dream. The Play’s engineering team clearly understands that hardware is a key factor in a game-focused device. Not only does Play have enough grap horsepower to make other smartphones cower, but it also has a distinctive interface designed by the very same people who developed Play-Station’s classic console controller.






$170 | Safely bring the campfire experience to your urban backyard. Simply close the lid to extinguish the flames when you’re done.

MULTI-TOOL BBQ LIGHTER $20 | The first thing to break on any BBQ is the electric igniter. This bendy multi-tool lighter goes three steps beyond with its built-in LED light, bottle opener and corkscrew.


$30 | Don’t let the bugs, well, bug you. Fill the trap’s base with a sweetsmelling liquid (pop or sugary juice) and watch as the nasty critters fly into your deathtrap.

GOOGLE SKY MAP TABLET APP Free | Android After mapping Earth, the Google geeks looked skyward. This app uses your tablet’s GPS to tell you what stars, planets and constellations are overhead.

Grill Charms

$20 | Keep track of blue, burnt and every meat-doneness level in between with these stainless steel steak markers.


SCREEN INNOVATIONS PORTABLE OUTDOOR PROJECTION SCREEN $TBA | Don’t have a big enough blank wall handy? Use this pop-up screen for an instant outdoor theatre.


$930 | Project your HD movies – or video games– onto your own backyard big screen. Popcorn not included.


$1 | iPhone Eager to try some tasty new tipples? This comprehensive app is searchable by drink, season, ingredient and more.


$60 | Even if your yard is tight for space – or is just a balcony – you can still enjoy the full BBQ experience with this portable grill.


$350 | Sure, you’ve got the best soundsystem on the block – indoors. But these speakers let you crank the tunes out back without blasting the volume indoors.



LUEY V DA MAN L3’s Mr. August is Rap artist Luey V Da Man! Hailing from St. Louis Missouri, Luey V has released numerous catchy hit singles including the song that we love, “Drowning!” He’s been profiled on mixtapes, and has had video’s featured on BET’s 106 & Park! Stay connected to Luey V by following him on Twitter @LueyVDaMan










KARDINAL OFFISHALL THE ANTHEM ?v=9W6Jl3beOlY&feature=artis tob&playnext=1&list=TLbYftDV Hc9zE








Hailing from the U.K., Rudie Rich is a 5 time award winning music man who has been in the business of being a DJ for more than 20 years. He began his career as a Dancehall MC & Rap Artist at 12, only to take to the decks at the tender age of 15. After a Short Career on a small Sound system with some friends, Rudie did his apprenticeship as a sound engineer on a sound called Rhythm Kings. This was the start of Rude Boy Promotions, a promotions company which helped promote events in youth centres. It wasn’t long before he began servicing mainstream party promoters by assisting them promote their parties. In 1991 Rudie joined forces with African Roots Sound System (well known for the Sound Clash victories) and has since been working with the worlds best sounds passing through the U.K.

Kristofer aka DJ Uni-T from Lonestar Sound is a DJ of 15 years who began playing music in 1993 at KAOS FM. Quickly becoming hooked, Uni-T helped develop the Reggae scene in North West Seattle and Portland. Uni-T has opened for and played shows with; Slum Village, Musiq Soulchild, The Lox, Lady Saw, Beenie Man, Barrington Levy, Buju Banton, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, and most well known artists passing through the region on tour. 2002 saw a move to California playing some of the hottest clubs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and surrounding cities. His crew, Lonestar Sound, took the Soundclash title in 2006 for best sound on West Coast. Additional highlights include shows with Cypress Hill in LA, Gyptian in San Francisco as well as Stone Love, Bushman (in San Francisco), co-production of the Elephant Man show and opening for Collie Buddz. Currently, Uni-T is in Philadelphia where he contributes to the development of the Reggae and Dancehall scene in that city. He also does shows in New York, Boston, Conneticut, New Jersey and Atlanta.


Born in the suburbs of Paris, Keshkoon started DJ’ing in 1997. Influenced by Jazz and Funk music, his style is definitively urban. He rocked clubs and Festivals in Europe (Rex Club, Gibus Club, Nouveau Casino, La Flèche D’Or, Le Cabaret Sauvage // Colors Paris Estival 2010, Paris HipHop 2010), in Germany (Gladhouse in Cottbus), in Spain (Prive de Majic in Lloret De Mar), and in the UK (Live Lounge and Pure Nite Club). Resident DJ for the “Montreuil Hip-Hop Sessions Open Mic” for 4 years, several mainstream and underground French artists pass through such as 2Bal, Neg’ In 2008 Keshkoon produces the first “KeshkoonGunYa” MixCD with worldwide Hip-Hop and Dancehall artists (Mr. Easy, D.O.E, Million Dan, Sadiki, Kris Kelli, Lantan, Malicious), and Volume 2 in January 2011 (MC Lyte, Gauge, Rahzel, MixMaster Mike, Camar aka Flava Unit, Hell Raiza, G-Loc and Nuklear, Calado). Official LordGangDJz member since 2006, he worked with mc’s like Jamalski (NY), Lords Of The Underground (NJ), Shunda K (FL), Fuji Mollotti (CHI), Bonito (CAMEROON), Marky (FR),93 Lyrics (FR), and many more.


Ever since he started in 2000, DJ Weedim kept grinding his way to the top with one plan: Work! Completing one hundred mixtapes, and collaborating with 10 Jamaican Artists for the signature mixtape series called “Futuristic Drop,” Weedin is one of the best in the business. His residency is at 21 Sound Bar, and plays a monthly gig at the Gibus Club Paris for the “Got Swagg!” and “Bawse Status” parties. He has opened for and backed American artists live in Paris such as Soulja Boy, Jeremih, Trey Songz, Ryan Leslie, Ron Browz, Three Six Mafia, Snoop Dog, Big Boi, Red Cafe, The Clipse, Tech N9ne, and the list goes on Beside his activities on the wheels of steel, DJ Weedim co-founded the “Straight Up Sound” with DJ Bus High, co-founder of “French Bakery” label with Keurvil Da Five Billie, official Oomp Camp (DJ UNK’s label) representative in France and produced several exclusive remixes.


Gibril Faal, aka Gfaal is a young Gambian talented musician / Dj who starts his music career by presenting music on a radio show at the age of 16. While going to high school, he had the most listened to show in the Gambia called the ‘Official Dancehall Radio Show.’ Playing Reggae and Dancehall from then to now, he is called Gambia’s Dancehall Genius. GFAAL can be heard on West Coast Radio (95.1 FM) every Monday and Sunday. Since he began his career, he has inspired many young Gambians to become DJ’s and musicians like him. Since he came on board, dancehall in Gambia has been recognized all around the world through his efforts to make the genre well know in his country.
 “Music is my life and so it will be till the day I die. I started getting into the music scene since I was at a very little age with the inspiration coming from my father who by then was part of a band in Sweden.”






Reggae and Dancehall duo, Suga Roy & Conrad Crystal are known to the world for several international hit singles including the recent hit “Crisis” on the Stingray Records produced Run Run Riddim. Enjoying the listening ear of fans young and mature, the duo pay respect to the Cool Ruler, Mr. Gregory Isaacs on their 18 track CD called ‘Universal Tribute to Gregory Isaacs’ which covers popular hits from the legend including “Front Door,” “Rumours” and “Cool Down.” Conrad’s sweet smooth voice, tempered by Suga’s DJ style give a unique sound to these 18 most popular songs while preserving the spirit and legacy of these Reggae classics. With a lift in tempo, and increased emphasis on the songs sweet bassline, the dynamic duo lock listeners tight with the rearranged song “All I Have is Love!” Another favourite is “Front Door” in which Suga DJ’s lyrics which cause Conrad to reveal more to the story as to why he ‘gave her back the keys to her front door!’ This album is available on iTunes and all digital retailers.


Roots Reggae lovers will appreciate the inclusion of the conscious song “Black A Kill Black” which serves as social commentary about the plight of violence in the black community. For listeners who are not familiar with Roots Reggae, the pulse and drive of the bassline will be the luring quality. Classic Reggae lovers will drink the re-lick of the song “Tune In.” Setting this CD apart from others is the duo teaming with well respected Reggae artist Luciano who performs on the song “Universal.” On that chune Luciano takes the lead as he sings ‘it’s a universal, universal tribulation…’ Suga Roy joins with DJ’s lyrics pleading for an end to crime and a reminder that the youths are our future. Another treat for listeners is the rework of the song “Love Overdue!” Nothing hurts more than losing so Suga and Conrad give us a band aid until that love returns! Team L3’s rating 4 ‘L’s’ out of 5!


Black Rob’s album came out on July 26th and is available on iTunes and all online music retailers. Tweet with him @therealblackrob




Hip Hop artist Black Rob has just released a summer banger called “Celebration” putting listeners in ‘celebration’ mode every time the song comes on! Produced by The A3 for his upcoming album Game Tested, Streets Approved (Duck Down Music Group), the New York native literally celebrates life including the ups and downs as he raps “pedal to the metal y’all / I ain’t gotta settle y’all / I’m on different level y’all / smoke great / SLR ‘em / my own thing fam / I ain’t gotta borrow / a red cent / Imma show em how to summertime represent / fresh outta confinement / and I do…” Injected with a music track reminiscent of 1970’s funk, Rob keeps it real as he shares his feelings on being free, and what summer looks like where he’s from. Lyrical visuals include BarB-Q’s with steaks on the grill, men with super soakers for the finest ladies, and people of all ages and backgrounds having a good time. The Hip Hop veteran clearly has a pulse on what his fans (old and new) want to hear. He could have gone the hardcore route with his first release by rapping about what he has, but instead chose the laid back and chill route – perfect for his reintroduction to the market place. As one fan puts it ‘Black Robs always brings it and never disappoints.’ We definitely co-sign!


Produced by Mango Seed Records, July 2011 marked the release of the compilation album Vibes and Tides. Team L3 was treated to an advance copy of the disc which sees 16 of Reggae’s elite and upcoming artists contribute their best material from different parts of the world. This is definitely a unique and favored project. With the approach of literal vibes and tides (think beach), the disc begins with the classic voice of Bunny Rugs singing “Just Can’t Deny;” a song from a man who cannot deny just how much he loves his lady. Bunny’s song is joined by new comer O-Shen with the song “Angel Eyes” as well as Big Mountain’s “Baby Stay” which is a melodic journey in love where a man asks his girl to stay and not leave his side. Fans will appreciate the familiarity of Maxi Priests voice on the song “Too Busy” which features Taddy P, as well as Courtney John and the chune “Never Keep You Waiting.” All of these songs are in keeping with what you would hear on the beach next to a bonfire. Honorable mention goes to Spanner Banner for the chune “Give Thanx” which is a heavily synthesized, stripped down version of the Fly The Gate riddim made popular by Sanchez and the chune “Never Dis The Man.” Honorable mention also goes to Tony Curtis for the remake of the classic chune “How Could I Live” as well as Dean



Dean Stephens & Robert Angus for the song “So Good.” Their use of the French guitar adds flavor to the compilation that will be savored by all listeners. Of the 16 tracks on the Vibes and Tides album, the fan favorite is Jah Cure’s “All This Time.” Produced by Baby G of Yard Vybz Entertainment (Son to the legendary King Jammy’s), Jah Cure’s voice resonates as he celebrates meeting and being with a woman he highly desires. From the opening of the song with the trademark Reggae drum roll, to the dropping of the sweet bass line to Jah Cure’s rustic voice singing “honey I love your ways,” listeners are taken on a journey of love and into the heart the Cure. Label contributions include Raw Edge Productions (Jamaica), Bass Inna Yu Face (Jamaica), Itation Records (California, USA), Rumble Rock Recordz (Papua New Guinea), Truckback Records (Jamaica and U.S.A.), Yard Vybz Entertainment (Jamaica), Rebel Ink, Groove Galore, Love Culture Entertainment (Cayman Islands), Groove Galore, Star Trail Records (Jamaica), Itals Music, and Gusty Winds. For more info: ‘


With the release of his album ‘Stronger,’ Walter Saw and his labels J’Island Records and Calibud Music breathe new life into the Roots Reggae genre! Blessing his musical journey, Walter intro’s his CD with the chant “I will life up my eyes onto the hills / from whence commeth my help / my help commeth from Jah / who made the heavens and the earth / though man perform evil things against I / I did not falter for Jah was with me ….” With the blessed introduction, Walter goes on to perform fifteen tracks with careful lyrics about faith, love and upliftment. Produced by Saunjay ‘Triple Ace’ Kerr for J’Island Records and Sheldon ‘Calibud’ Stewart for Calibud Music, the two producers and artist demonstrate the strength and beauty of roots music. Choosing the right riddims such as the Satta Massagana (used for the song “Stronger”), the Pass The Kutchie riddim (used for the song “Selassie I Rule”), and the Boxing riddim (used for the song “How Does it Feel”), Walter weaves a fabric that, by the end of the CD, becomes a coat listeners rely on to keep them warm on days it becomes cold, and keep them looking fashionable when worn causally. Walter Saw’s album ‘Stronger’ is available on iTunes, and all digital music retailers.

“This CD really was a journey about things I’ve experienced and about things I’ve seen happen to other people. Life is not easy right now, so I’m giving fans spiritual strength through the music,” said Walter. Saunjay ‘Triple Ace’ Kerr also added “we’ve all experienced the topics Walter sings about in one way or another, so this CD tells people they are not alone.” One such song that offers comfort in times of hardship is “Deliverance” in which the singer pleads with Jah for help as he’s been suffering too long, and needs deliverance from those struggles. Fans treated to an advance listening of the disk immediately connected with the song, identifying that they too have had times when they asked the Father for an ease to the hardships they faced. Also included on the album is Walter Saw’s hit song “Gang War” which brought the artist to international notoriety. Produced Sackie in 1996, the song’s addition to the album helps fans appreciate how much Walter’s voice has remained consistent over the years. Additional re-mastered songs include “Child’s Game.”



Every now and again an artist comes along whose artistry just blows a listener away, and Scantana is that artist! Coming from the Sly & Robbie camp, Scantana’s first album release is ‘Best Supporting Acts’ which features the young Rapper with the Reggae industries most prestigious talents. Doing features with heavy hitters such as Third World (for the reprise of “Now That We’ve Found Love”), or Jimmy Riley on the song “Trying Man,” Scantana sound makes it clear he respects the elder generation. For the younger heads, Scantana switches the sound up such as his song “What’s Going On” with Demarco and “In Your Pants” with Sashi. Both Demarco and Bugle represent the younger generation of Dancehall, complimenting Scantana’s flow between mature and youthful sound. “What’s Going On” is rich in symphonic sound and represents an understanding that not everyone is living an easy life at the moment. The song acts as a ‘I’m touching base with you’ to make sure people know to hold on. “In Your Pants” is a fun interaction between a man who has just seen a woman who looks too hot for him to let her pass. Sashi’s lyrics add fuel to the fire when she says ‘me nuh waan no Casanova / mih nuh waan no Romeo mih need a soldier / a five star general tuh turn me ova….’ The two go head to head in playful lyrical battle. Hands down our favourite song on the album is “Family” which features Anthony Red Rose. Just as the title suggests, the song is about Family; how much we should appreciate, and respect family. A sample of the lyrics that caught our attention is “a family that prays together stays together / family that begin together win together / why don’t we all live as one / the father, the uncle, the brother the son / and blood is thicker than water / the mother, the auntie, the sister the daughter…” Each song is lyrically refreshing as Scantana does not frame his lyrics in the same pattern as most of today’s younger artists. He’s not afraid to express what he means such as the song “Jeannie.” The artist acknowledges that he’s not a singer, but is willing to sing on the track to pay tribute to ‘Jeannie’ who encouraged his career. Scantana definitely gets the mix right on this album, appealing to the broadest spectrum of Reggae and Dancehall lover! We think this album will definitely be a Grammy contender for the 2012 awards. Look out for Scantana coming to a city near you! L3’s rating is 4 stars out of 5 This album is available on iTunes!





When the e-mail went out announcing Xterminator’s newest projects, the Reggae community collectively got excited! One of the industries’ most celebrated and successful producers of the digital era, Xterminator is responsible for the early success of Sizzla Kolanji, Luciano and Sanchez to name a few. The labels newest project includes work with newcomer Jesse Royal. Mr. Royal’s announcement of arrival comes via the song “Butterflies” taken from the Butterflies riddim (currently in production). Butterflies is a re-lick of the Fly The Gate riddim (which featured Sanchez’s “Never Dis The Man”) with a modern 2011 kick. Walking with the saxophone Commander in Chief, world renowned Dean Fraser, Jesse’s sweet lyrics are accompanied by the playful tickle of Mr. Fraser’s saxophone tickle as Jesse sings about his girl who tells him that she gets ‘butterflies’ every time she looks in his eyes! What’s striking about Mr. Royal is his confidence as he sings. It’s clear that he knows he’s anointed with talent, however doesn’t allow that knowledge to get to his head. Instead, the confidence serves as conscious swagger that connects via the delivery of his lyrics.

Toasting! Toasting is the art of a mics man running lyrics to a riddim while in a session. Jamaica has numerous notable toasters, and one who remains a classic, though not too widely talked about is Shorty The President! Shorty The President’s career on vinyl begins in 1976 with the release of the album ‘Presenting.’ On that album, Shorty walks us through his style which includes a trademarked high pitched ‘hmmm’ that can’t be mistaken. Appearing on several projects, Shorty worked with Joe Gibbs, Rupie Edwards, Donn Letts and Duke Reid to name a few. His music has been made available on Cactus Records from the UK, RCA Brazil, Success Records, and Trojan, and his voice has been sampled in the introduction of songs by greats such in Hip Hop and Reggae.



“Message of Love” speaks to the people with these lyrics: ‘I lift my eyes unto the hills and I heard a voice say / be not afraid bredda / be of good courage / love I bring / do all the good you can / to all the people you can / and never stop doing your good until your good be better / and your better best ...’ Shorty goes on to make the point that we should be doing the best we can all the time, and not just sometimes. Nore more wicked nuh fih deya! Classic Reggae aficionados can sample Shorty’s style here: http://www.

In our day and age of rap, it’s not too often we find artists determined to travel in the authentic Hip Hop lane, but MCM is one such artist. Delivering fresh lyrical tales built to refresh a Hip Hop lovers soul, MCM gives us The Gospel. The U.K. native narrates what it is to truly represent the art form, single handedly assisting listeners on their quest for ‘the real.’ Consisting of 33 tracks, listeners easily get stuck in a time warp when they hear the MC DJ. Tracks like “I Got Soul,” “Early Days” and “Lyrical Lecture” take a glimpse into the MC’s soul. Staying true to the roots of Hip Hop, MCM infuses overtones of Reggae such as the bassline in the chune “Bugged Out Shit.” Giving his fans a global experience, interludes like “Brazilian Beat” hit the spot as does “Tribute to Jay Dee” which incorporates Jazz. In an arena where Rap rules, the ode to Hip Hop stays alive with MCM and his album the Gospels!







With his upcoming album in progress and the entire music industry abuzz about the young King MAS, the upcoming artist has teamed with Dreamroc’a productions out of Norway and Heartist Entertainment based in California to begin taking the US and world markets by storm. His lead single, “One Wish” is a fusion of the classic one drop that Mas is known for with a modern hip-hop swing accompanied by the signature smooth lyrics and melodies that have become the trademark of any tune written and voiced by King Mas. The artist shares “we have had some success in the reggae industry and with each passing day someone is hearing about MasSicker who didn’t know about me before. But the bottom line is, when you are blessed with gifts and abilities that allow you a great deal of versatility it is only right that you make use of them and impact the world in every way possible.” Fans are invited to get to know the King by visiting





With a handful of artists (literally 5), veteran producer Jeremy Harding fuses symphonic sounds with deep base for this sweet one drop riddim. Teaming with Reggae and Dancehall’s best artists, the Deep Cover riddim explores topics such as the will to pursue goals despite negative energy from onlookers. The song, performed by I-Octane is called “Keep On Walking.” Adding to the mix is the topic of senseless violence on Busy Signal’s “Hear What I Say,” difficulties in relationships on Konshens “Hard Fi Love,” and Denyque’s “When We Touch” which is a woman’s look back at a man she loved. Denyque’s voice is as sweet as the finest sugar, and is definitely one to keep on the radar for fresh talent! Natel sings about men’s sensitive side with the song “Without You.”

The stand out favourite on the riddim comes from Assassin, now named Agent Sasco and the chune “Still Ah Carry On.” Speaking of the will of people who are determined to reach their goals, Sasco DJ’s, “I will never let go of / my values or my culture / cause tho times hard / we nah flex like no vulture … no gold spoon neva dey inna we mouth when we born / nuttin nah gwaan / we still ah carry on / ah one suit me have wear it like a uniform / it’s not Louis Vuitton / we still ah carry on….” Speaking for many people in Jamaica and around the world who struggle to make ends meet, Sasco reminds them that Nelson Mandela was in jail for 30 years and still became the President of the same country that oppressed him. That example alone, Sasco suggests, is what we should keep clear in our minds. L3 Rating 4 stars out of 5

CLEAN UP RIDDIM If you’re looking for a HOTTT New Dancehall riddim to add to your iPod or your mixed CD juggling, the Clean Up riddim is it! Produced by Kisko Hype for Studio 91, the riddim features some of the brightest talent in Dancehall, including a familiar veteran, Mr. Lexx! With his song called “Wine On Me Sum’m, Lexx mixes up the girls and gives them ideas to take home to their man after the party. In the case of them men, Lexx vocalises what they’re thinking making the chune one of the hottest on the riddim. A new talent to look out for is Asha Flamzz who proudly says: “ah one man me have an mih nah bun him / an no other man caan mek me run him / so all dem a psst and ah call to me / mih nah ansa dem caw mih know mih love him....”

We rate Asha as she’s a new voice who is not afraid to let people know ‘one man to she ting!’ Kisko Hype has been producing riddims for a good minute, and definitely maintains his high standards vocally and musically. Unlike other Dancehall riddims that focus on the synthesised tones and nothing else, Kisko treats the synthsiser as a base from which he builds. The subtlety of the hand clap, the compliment of the drum pattern and the pulse of the bass make this a must play riddim. If we were to talk about the key the riddim is composed in, as well as the chord structure, this review may not come to an end, so! Click the link to preview the Clean Up Riddim! id413713721














Star is known for “real” music. He speaks the truth as he sees it and is inspired by the reality around him, his experiences in Jamaica, living in the US and being a US soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan. 3 Star draws on his extensive travel experiences and all the good and bad he has seen to create his music and write his lyrics. The album “Nothing But Real Talk” is a reflection of the artiste and his life and the world around him. The artiste says “I wrote the songs for the album ‘Nothing But Real Talk” while I was serving as an active duty soldier in the United States Military! The album is about real life drama, real life experiences that happened to me or someone close to me. That’s why I chose the title ‘Nothing But Real Talk‘.” The first single off the album is entitled “No Badman.” Making strides on international airwaves, the accompanying video for the song is in rotation on international TV stations and has entered various video charts in Jamaica. The album, produced by Jallanzo, was released on the label Star Throne Family. In additional 3 Star news, the Dancehall soldier shot the video for “Mr Top Shoota” live on location in New York. As the second release from his album, the storyline picks up where the video for “No Badman” leaves off and is a story about a man who had the option, early in is life, to choose between music or the life of the gun. He chose the gun and becomes a “top shoota”, creating a lot of mayhem and trauma in other people’s lives along the way. He keeps killing people and eventually wishes to change to a career in music but it is too late. He ends up in confinement. The song is based on personal experiences of the artiste as he has seen many people choose the life of a “top shoota” which either ends in confinement or, as 3Star expresses it, “six feet under.“ It is an eye opener to show that every action causes other actions and reactions. 3Star says, “Karma is real! What you put out, that is what you receive. I wanted to make a video for people to see the message!” 3Star makes music sharing his experiences in life and he channels his memories of warfare into positive energy. As a US soldier he has experienced war first hand in Iraq and Afghanistan and he promotes positive music and anti-violence messages, especially to the youth of his native Jamaica. ‘Nothing But Real Talk’ is available on I Tunes and Amazon.






f you read Cali P’s official bio, he says that he is lyrical ‘faya,’ but there are some who don’t agree with that single word description! For many, Cali P is more than lyrical fyah; he’s a truth teller, a nation builder, and female empowerer, all within the strides of music and entertainment. Originally born in Switzerland and raised between Switzerland and Guadeloupe, this Reggae and Dancehall artist speaks to and for the Caribbean and African Diaspora as he regularly chants that we are all one with no division. These lyrics are evidenced in the song “Roll Deep” where the artist proudly states “we roll deep, and when we flex then we flex with the flex of the West Indies …” and goes on to sing “some call it West Indies, some say Caribbean, some call it yaad, but inna mih heart mih know we ah real African!” In addition to being an incredible entertainer, Cali P is also an astute business man. Partnering with medal earning ski giant Tanner Hall, sound selector turned record producer Anil “Phantom” Montaque and movie producer Eric Iberg, this foursome run Inspired Music Concepts which is responsible for hit records including “No Time” and “Like A Lion (Hotsteppa)” which were used in the soundtrack for the movie ‘Like A Lion’. In Switzerland the combination “As one” between Cali P and Switzerland’s top rapper Stress, which was also co-produced by Inspired Music Concepts, is currently enjoying regular radio and TV play. Spending time equally at his homes in Switzerland, Guadeloupe and Jamaica, Cali P is focused on staying true to his roots, and connected to the spirit and energy of the people, the very ones he represents through his music.


“Since I came to Jamaica I’ve been overwhelmed by the support and love of the people which means a lot to me, as it is the home of Reggae music” said the artist. “My greatest inspiration comes from life and the people in this beautiful world” Partner Anil “Phantom” Montaque, the music producer says “Working with Cali P is always fun. Sometimes he provides the lyrics first and I make the beat for it. At other times my riddims inspire him to write a song. It’s just a good vibe!” Cali P has collaborated with industry greats such as Freddie McGregor and Mykal Rose, and young artists GWhizz, Wasp and Devano. He is also featured alongside Tarrus Riley, Omar Perry and Ziggy, and more on the Gorilla Riddim produced by Europe’s Necessary Mayhem. Cali P continues to draw large fans to venues, a reflection of the numbers his music receives on YouTube. The artist is performing songs from his catalog, as well as songs fans can expect to hear on his upcoming album ‘Unstoppable.’





ometimes it pays to be different! At just 20 years old, female artist 1st Lady has become a breathof fresh air in the New York music scene. Hailing from Harlem, NY, a city known for its make it or break it attitude, 1st Lady is truly out of the ordinary. She is known primarily for her frenetic energy and style, which pays homage to old school ways yet has the confidence to add her own twist. At the age of 15, 1st Lady had already launched herself into the music industry. By 16, she had a single out and soon after, formed a group with some long time friends to later on be known as “The Retro Kidz “. As the only female member of The Retro Kidz, 1st lady held her own against her male counterparts and like female rappers before her, gave male rappers a run for their money. Now in her solo career, 1st Lady brings a new pop sound with her old school background. Peers like Kesha and M.I.A really have her pushing to bring a new sound to the table. To not only push the envelope, but to push herself musically and to have an individual unique sound. With a collection of original written material, this young stunner was writing songs long before she intended on making it a career from her prose. As she tells us “it was just a part of me!” Her musical inspiration comes from leading females of the 80’s and early 90s such as Mc Lyte and Queen Latifah. R&B groups such as Xscape and SWV also played a major role in influencing her as these are women she considers to have paved the way for her and others. Of Dominican descent, 1st Lady intends on bringing her flavor to the Spanish market, a move she says is one of diversity. To date she has worked with JoJo Simmons, Spanish sensation Sensato, DJ Webstar, Krys Ivory and Joell Ortiz just to name a few. 1st Lady is has officially released her highly anticipated solo single “Party Girl.” The single was premiered on New York City’s famed Hot 97 and Power 105.1 FM. Not stopping there, 1st Lady adds Broadway to her resume as one of the cast members of the off Broadway play ‘Love Lies in Lust’ which debuted in February of this year. There’s no limit to the heights this young talented female artist from New York is willing to climb. She’s sure to be one of those few to leave her imprint behind in the years to come! Take a listen to her HOTTT single “Party Girl” here:



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f you really look at Shaggy’s history, you’ll see a pattern, and the pattern goes like this: release multiple hits – tour. Release multiple hits – tour. Win a Grammy. Release multiple hits - tour. Since his earliest days with “Oh Carolina” in 1993 to now, this is the pattern, and the pattern is success! It is no secret that we are huge Shaggy fans. Long before we knew him as the international success he’s become, we knew him for the cassette tapes he appeared on that were produced by Sting International. What’s cool to know is Shaggy really hasn’t changed since the beginning. He’s become a business man, and a nurturer and developer of talent, but he’s the same person really in terms of his music. For that reason, fans will not let him go, or let him stop.

It’s become a commercialized thing. It’s tax free and about money. My spirituality is still there because that’s my connection with God. The last time we spoke to you, you had just released the album Intoxication, and the song “Church Heathen” was a hit record. How has your view changed or not changed since then? A lot has changed. When I did Intoxication it was an album for me to do Dancehall because I was doing all these commercial songs. I had all these huge commercial successes. To be honest and real talk, I would play some concerts and people would stand up and look at me like ‘this’ because I had these huge pop hits that they couldn’t connect with. The streets, ghettos and inner cities just could not connect – so that was

I WANT THIS ALBUM TO EMBODY WHAT JAMAICA IS WHICH IS A FEEL GOOD, EASY LISTEN. AT THIS POINT IN MY CAREER, I HAVE TO REINVENT MYSELF BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT YOU DO. I HAD TO COME WITH A STYLE OF MUSIC THAT’S ORGANIC AND CREDIBLE. His ‘mainstream’ fans and his ‘Dancehall and Reggae’ fans each get a piece of this incredible man / artist. Mainstream has what we call the ‘island pop’ side of him, and Dancehall has the roster of artists and projects he participates in such as the recently co-produced Green Faces Riddim and the club banger with Leftside Dr. Evil called “Jump Around.” We travelled to New York to sit down with Shaggy; here’s the ‘chop up’ session…! L3: What would people most be surprised to know about you right now? S: People don’t know the real Shaggy. They don‘t get to see how stupid me and my crew get when we go out! They think ‘oh, there’s the rapper or musician’, but they don’t realize that I’m a goof ball! My spirituality is deep. I’m a Christian boy raised by a Catholic Grandmother. I went to Sunday School, had my rebellious streak, but I still put God first. That’s how I roll. I don’t go to church, but I put God first. That’s how the song “Church Heathen” came about. To this day it is what it is. It’s bugged out when you look at Pastors who are blinged out more than I am. These churches are not churches of communities. You don’t even know who the sister is sitting beside you. They have churches that have cash machines in them.

a real problem. I started out in Dancehall, so to not be accepted in Dancehall was a problem. When I got released from Geffen in October of 2006, I wrote Church Heathen in November of 2006. By January 2007 it was #1 and that’s when I decided to do the album Intoxication. I was a free agent and could do anything I wanted so it came out in the album Intoxication. Church Heathen spent 19 weeks at #1 and all of a sudden I gained a tremendous amount of inner city fans that I never had – younger generation. They started to reflect on all my other stuff. How this album, ‘Summer In Kingston’ came about is I made an appearance for Boom, the energy drink, in downtown Kingston. They blocked off all the streets, and as soon as I stepped out, the crowd went crazy, and they were singing every song to every record. Songs like “Strength of a Woman,” and my other cross over records. At that moment I knew that I had done all I could do, and it was time to go back and make a new record, but this time back in my lane. The title ‘Summer in Kingston’ because?! I want this album to embody what Jamaica is which is a feel good, easy listen. At this point in my career, I have to reinvent myself because that’s what you do. I had to come with a style of music that’s organic and credible. Still have the cross over tone hence “Sugar

L 3 M A G A Z I N E . C O M | J U LY 2 0 1 1


Cane”. It has its tongue in cheek, it’s ambiguous, it’s clever, its funny. Everything I’ve listed there coincides with what a Shaggy single always was, but the sound is now Island Reggae. When you think about what’s coming out of Jamaica, everything is island dark. Take for instance ‘Welcome to Jamrock;’ incredible song, the video was an incredible video that matches the song. The problem is that everyone copied it. Everybody thinks that is what Jamaica should be and what every Reggae song should be. That was the blueprint - that worked; that made sense. Everybody wants to do a video in the inner city; Drake went there and did his video in the inner city, Rihanna came there and did her video and it’s the same kind of thing. So now what is happening is that the mainstream is thinking that this is what Jamaica is. Reggae and Dancehall has gone from back in the days when it was sun, fun, weed to music of guns and violence and homophobia. Let me make it clear: I am a product of Dancehall. I love the armshouse of Dancehall. When you see Sting going on, I’m right there on stage. I’m in the middle of a Clash, I love Clash – when two sounds go at it or even two artists. I’m an adult, I’m allowed, I can do that. I love it – but there needs to be a balance because that’s not all there is to Jamaica. If you have a ship ready to sail, and everybody decides to run on one side of the ship, it’s going to topple over. In Dancehall there has to be a balance. Everybody can’t be a Mavado and Bounty Killer which is why I say I’m back into my lane. You have the Etana’s the Tarrus, Beres ah do fih him ting. You need all of these people to keep a balance. If you look at radio, Reggae radio shows, such as David Rodigans and Daddy Ernie went from 3 hour shows to 1 hour shows. Why do you think that is? There is no consumer within that timeslot. So the fans of this new ‘Dancehall’ are not consumers. Within that timeslot when Dancehall is playing, these consumers aren’t buying – they’re not a buying market so no one will advertise in that timeslot so the radio stations and even TV stations are going to cut those programs. We as Dancehall are not partnering and aligning ourselves with the corporate sector. When a Hip Hop artist such as Lil Wayne, going straight down, goes on tour, you have Coco-Cola, Kelloggs and whomever that want to sponsor their tour and be a part of it. Nobody wants to do that for Reggae because there are too many negative overtones and they don’t want their family products to be involved with that. In doing Summer in Kingston, I want to show the other side. You can’t have people thinking that when they come to Kingston they’re going to get shot. There has to be a balance! There are places in New York that I would tell you don’t go after 12am. There are places in Canada that I ain’t touchin after 9pm so why is Jamaica any different?


The song Sugar Cane is very obvious in its meaning, yet not obvious in its meaning. What is its meaning?! What do you mean what is its meaning?! She likes the taste of the sugar cane… Ok. Did you see a young lady eating a piece of sugar cane and say ‘that’s it, that’s the song right there!’ I’m talking about a plant! You know that Rum is made from sugar cane right? Maybe I’m just saying my chick likes rum. Can you tell me differently? She likes the taste of the rum. Every Jamaican I know likes sugar cane – it’s a staple. It is sweet, it is juicy. Listen to the lyrics: we bought some fruits from the fruit stand, roots from the roots man, coconut water – you get it from the jelly man – she had a piece of my sugar cane – from there she hasn’t been the same. It simply means she likes the taste of the sugar cane. What is so wrong about that? Choosing Sugar Cane as the lead single made sense. We knew what we were doing when we did it! All the ambiguity, the cleverness – it is so Shaggy! You are such a lyrical master. Do you have an opportunity to write songs for other people? I have written songs for other people such as Maxi Priest, Tony Kelly, Brian and Tony Gold, Chico and more. One artist you seem to be collaborating with (this is our impression), is Alaine. How did that collaborative process come about? I met Alaine when I met Tami Chynn. Tami was sent to me by a mutual friend during the Hot Shot time. Tony Kelly called me with the joint “For Your Eyes Only” and Alaine was on the hook. She wrote the hook and we sat down in my studio and wrote the verses and when I heard it I thought it was hot, so I picked up the charge and started to promote it really heavy; went into a partnership with Lime TV to launch it (the single) and it became a massive record for us.

Within that time of working with Alaine I realized that she’s an excellent writer and very quick. After seeing her perform, and how she is with the audience, I just said ‘wow, there is something here to tap into.’ When we started to work together, her vibe was really good. You don’t have to call her to come to the studio – she’s there. She came to New York the other day and came to my studio. I was away touring, but when I came back, there were 6 songs done and waiting. We’re working with her; DJ Kue (Shaggy’s longtime friend and DJ) is doing a lot of A&R’ing with her. There’s a small group of artists that we’re going on a new venture with Ranch Entertainment, and she’s one of them. How did the Green Faces riddim come about? It’s been well received by the Dancehall community and features Chris Martin, Alaine, Lady Saw Lukie D and others… It is a collaborative effort with King Yard, so we were both equally involved in the project. We marketed the riddim according to how it was going to be received and perceived. We A&R’d 3 records on the riddim. The rest was King Yard. What can fans do to most support you right now? I wouldn’t say do for me, I would say do for the genre. How can we have chart success or corporate success in this day and age of social media; how are we going to compete? How they can help is to be a part of it. Be a part of this new branding. For me it’s more about fan appreciation hence the reason for us putting this album out for $2.99 (USD) which is next to nothing. It’s not about making money it’s about making fans get the music that you have for a recession price. Speaking of recession, the song “Fired Up / F*ck the Recession” is great. Did you choose Pitbull to be on the track? Pit heard it, liked it so we said ‘let’s do this!’ He came to my house in Miami, and just did it! Pit has been great. We had problems with Sony and getting clearance for it from Sony so we stopped promoting it and won’t do the video, but the song is on the album. The Bar song is a Bartenders dream! Yes - funny song! One of people’s favourites, and again, clever! It goes back to the original Shaggy style such as Oh Carolina! A warm Ska feel to it …definitely. Soldier’s Story is another song that showcases your writing skills. I was in the U.S. Military. I did the Gulf War – I’m a veteran and all of that and I never wrote about anything to do with the military; I just stayed away from it. I do a lot of work with USO, I’ve gone to Bosnia and to Germany to perform for the wounded troops. I’ve done it all. I didn’t feel I wanted to do anything pertaining to the military until I saw the movie Fahrenheit 911. In the movie, they had some Marine recruiters trying to recruit some inner city kids. The kids told the recruiters they wanted to do music, so the recruiters said ‘Shaggy was a former Marine!’ I just found that ironic because I was not a model Marine! The song tells you what goes through a kids mind when he decides to join the military, and the relationships they might have with their loved ones or significant others. Things like how they’re going to be treated. Are they going to be a statistic or an individual. The words are powerful. Any general advice for our readers on Life, Love, Lyrics?! Life is what it is. Love is what you do. Lyrics is not what is said but how it’s said!




e is so kind, and so humble. He is so great, and tries to appear less great. It’s difficult to be in the presence of Courtney John and not be inspired. Either by the examples he gives when answering a question, or his unique perspective on the world in which he lives, Courtney is one of a kind. We watched him thrill us as Yogi, and woo us as Courtney John. Proudly representing Jamaica (his last album was called ‘Made In Jamaica’ and won critical acclaim from the International Reggae community), Mr. John embodies the essence of the country in his music. One of the lead singles from ‘Made in Jamaica’ called “Lucky Man” was chosen to as the song for Unilever’s Axe Lynx Summer Holiday campaign. Pitched by the artists publishers, Calabash Productions, the company fell in love with the song. As one executive put it, “the song fit perfectly with the campaign!” In the interview, he refers to planting and reaping the benefits years after. The Unilever campaign is a perfect example. “Lucky Man” was recorded and released in 2009, and is being picked up widely in 2011! We sat down to speak to the artist and have to say, his is one of the best interviews, and one of the most informative…

L3: We’ve watched you transform from Yogi to Courtney John, and now musically transform from the Lover’s Rock Reggae crooner to an up-tempo call to action ‘Hey Jamaica’ man. What inspired the change? CJ: I bought some new shoes and they are made for dancing! (Laughing). The old shoes were for relaxing, but these new shoes are some up-tempo shoes. Anytime I put them on mih waan dance! For me, music has always been about having fun, and sometimes we drift off a little and get caught in a box where you’re comfortable because a particular style may have worked because you had some success. For me, for where I’m at right now, I’m having fun with the music. If it connects great; if it doesn’t then we try something else. Having fun is all that matters. Although Hey Jamaica is fun, it doesn’t mean I’ve gone away from the Lovers Rock, it just means that for right now, I’m having some fun!

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you say your past musical experiences prepared you for where you are today? I think everything and all things that I’ve accomplished through this vehicle of music has been done by me working on it and working for it. Things have never been handed down or given to me so I’ve paid my dues. Some of the things I did years ago, I’m just starting to see the rewards from it, but if I didn’t do it, I couldn’t look forward to the rewards I’m receiving now. I treat it like planting; like a big garden or a big field of fruits that you plant. You plant as much as you can in terms of making songs; you put out and make sure whatever the style or genre that they are is good. If I don’t enjoy the benefits then my kids and grand kids will! I’m enjoying some of it and I give thanks for that! If we had to give you a military category for your music, we would call you a sniper. The reason why we would say sniper is because you only need one song and one bullet. You always hit your target. What are some of the things that inspire you to create the songs that you create? (Humbled). Most of it is really people. I try to say things that is relative to what people are doing and what people are really all about and what they’re going through. I do think that’s what makes great artists. Whether you’re a painter or a film director; a vision is knowing that in the

next 14 years people are going to want to see your film. In the case of Avatar, director James Cameron made something that people will want to see in the next ‘x’ amount of years. If you make a movie, it takes a lot of vision to know that people are here today, and plan for where they’re going to be. There’s a recession right now, but you can plan for a recovery because you know that a recovery is coming. When it comes to song, how are people going to feel when they come out of that recession? They’re going to start enjoying life, they’re going to start going out; they will start doing a lot of things they can’t do now. Music and the arts have to represent what the people are going through, and I guess the more I go and the more I evolve is the more capable I am of making sure that whatever I do is going to resonate with the people. We read a quote from you which said: “Sometimes music takes you on a journey and while on that journey you capture and explore different moments”. What are some of the moments you’ve been able to explore through “Hey Jamaica” and your new sound? In building anything, let’s say in building a home - you have a nice home, you put on a nice paint. Sometimes the paint is all that people see. You have nice windows, and people comment and say ‘oh, nice windows,’ but they don’t see the steel and the foundation. I look at my career and my music like that. Right now the music that I’m making is like the icing on this cake I’ve been putting together and baking for a few years. With Hey Jamaica and the newer stuff that I’m doing, I’m getting new fans who probably didn’t know about the songs “I Give Up” or “I Go Crazy,” but they were introduced to Courtney John through the new songs which are palatable to their tastes. They then start to listen to other songs and say ‘hey he did this song from years ago’ etc. So I would say that is the journey. They start with me here, but do research to discover that I’ve been doing so much over the years. The new stuff is open-

ing a lot of doors and windows and securing newer opportunities, but it still wouldn’t have happened without the foundation and all the stuff that I’ve done. The fans musical exploration of my music is the journey! Another quote from you says: “I want to represent globalization in every way in my music, I feel a lot of barriers are there to be crossed with this progressive vibe that is bounded in me, I just want to explore it and share it with the world”. Can we give you the nickname as being the ‘Jaques Cousteau’ of music?! The great thing about music and the arts is that everybody sees it a different way. I’m one of those persons who likes the whole thing of different and variety such as different kinds of foods and different kinds of fashion. I like the ability to be free and take a piece of religion and or culture and put it into music. Right now, we can travel anywhere in the world just by turning on the computer. The human experience is universal. No matter what our culture, we fall in love, we get hurt, we feel happy etc. They are universal emotions, but what we do with the emotions can be different as it pertains to culture. I try to incorporate cross culture in my music. Right now, I can record a song and put it up on YouTube. Someone will see that video in New Guinea and leave a comment. A few years ago, it would take years to get the music to New Guinea. For us now, it’s important to really think of not only what we think about, but what the world thinks about and make the music in the form that the world can appreciate. They have been for many years, but it’s easier now to reach more people so much faster hence the ability to share and explore with the world! You have worked with many seasoned artists including Ce’Cile, Beenie Man, Anthony B, Nelly Fertado and most recently Mr. Lexx on the “Hey Jamaica” track. Tell us about the energy exchange and creative process when working with other people on projects?! Anyone that I’ve worked with so far, I have not had a bad experience. It has always been good and fun! Because I’m an artist myself, I understand that when it comes to working with other artists I have to wear 2 hats, especially if I’m producing the track. As a producer you become a little bit more accommodating, especially with great artists who are great. There are some artists who don’t wear a watch and who work off of guestimated time. There are other artists who wear a watch, and are late, even though they are surrounded by every time piece in the world. The one thing that is common is they both deliver great music even though they have two different outlooks on time! Right now I’m working with some great artists who are not yet known, but they will be known because they are so great. I’m working with them in music, and I’m also sharing my knowledge with them that I have learned over the years. Hopefully I can be a part of their growth and development they way others have been a part of mine. I remember being in the studio and writing stuff for Joseph ‘Culture’ Hill on the album ‘Humble African,’ also with Marcia Griffiths, and writing a song for her. It’s just a great feeling, and I want to share that.


One artist you’ve worked with who is dear to the L3 family is Ammoye. What has it been like working with her over the years, especially producing the song “Lost Love” which has become an international hit record for her? First, Ammoye is really talented! I was introduced to her by my brother who co-manages her, and he told me about her. We did some stuff – the magic just happened! I’d love to do some more stuff with her, but her career has taken off and she’s real busy! It’s weird because I’ve done so much stuff, and sometimes I don’t remember the amount of stuff I’ve done. In the last year I’ve worked directly or indirectly with 30 different artists.

“MUSIC AND THE ARTS HAVE TO REPRESENT WHAT THE PEOPLE ARE GOING THROUGH, AND I GUESS THE MORE I GO AND THE MORE I EVOLVE IS THE MORE CAPABLE I AM OF MAKING SURE THAT WHATEVER I DO IS GOING TO RESONATE WITH THE POEPLE” By the way, The Wizard is a new young female producer who is the hottest thing off the block. You can tell the world that from now! She’s the one who produced “Hey Jamaica” and she is CRAZY talented. This young lady puts another definition to talented! She just finished producing Kreesha Turner’s (Canadian artist from Toronto) entire album which was done here in Jamaica. The first single for Kreesha’s album is called “Rock Paper Scissors” and should be dropping in a few weeks. The Wizard is really good! She’s going to make Jamaica proud! With so many songs in your catalogue performed by you or other artists, do you have a few that reflect your personality. The song for Marcia Griffiths would be for a woman who has lived the life like Marcia Griffiths would sing, and that’s my Mother; therefore it’s not the song that I would sing because it wouldn’t make sense me singing it. My Mom singing it represents a big part

WANT TO GET SOCIAL WITH COURTNEY JOHN? FOLLOW COURTNEY ON TWITTER @COURTNEY_JOHN of my life. If I write something for Luciano, it’s not something I would sing, but it has to do with a close friend or a brother it’s because of that experience why I would write it. I very rarely make anything up, like what they call fictional writing. I stay true because I’m still a big fan of telling the story for the relate-ability. People must connect with the song and share that experience. You’ve been able to amass an impressive status in music, and have done it essentially without the backing of a major label per say. What do you think has contributed and contributes to your continued success?! The many years is the contribution. There have been some tough times – times where I wondered if I should have faith in the music. There always seems to be a way that the music pulls one out of the hat for you. Just when you think you’re about to hit the ground, the music says ‘no no no – you’ve invested in me and now I’m going to take care of you!’ I have an excellent team of people who work to make sure that I enjoy the hard work I’ve put into music. It’s a great team. An agent, manager etc., it took some time but at the end of the day, if that music is good, there’s a lifetime of guarantees that you will benefit from it. When I say me benefiting, it’s not necessarily me directly, it could be my kids and grand kids and great grand kids! You’ve mentioned your son a few times. Has he shown signs of having a career in music? Actually he has. I have to keep him away from some clients because he will sometimes say ‘oh Daddy, that girl can’t sing!’ Or he’ll say ‘daddy – she sounds flat!’ I won’t push him into it, but if he decides it’s something he wants to do, I will encourage him for sure! Some parents force their kids to do something they don’t like, and the children end up resenting them for it. I’d rather let him explore! Your decisions in music have enabled you to perform around the world for the most diverse listeners. What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had abroad in music? My most memorable experience was not abroad but in Portland, Jamaica which is one of my most favourite places by the way! That place is the gem of gems. But to answer the question, sometimes you go on a big stage, and that’s what it is … a big stage. But then you can play for a small room that’s ram

packed with a handful of people, and the magic that happens is like ‘whoa!’ To go on a stage with 30-40,000 people, there is an adrenaline rush that happens. There’s just nothing that compares to that experience of going on a stage – each time is a memorable experience! The Black Tie Affair in Boston in November 2010 saw you perform for fans in a dinner theatre setting. How did that style of performance come about? You hadn’t done that before! It was a joint venture in terms of the idea. It went well. People really enjoyed themselves. It was different – like a whispery kind of performance. The people said they hadn’t experienced something like that, but they loved it! Looking at your promotional picture, we see that you’re dressed in a sleek black shirt, and you’ve taken your glasses off (which is a difference from some of your other photos where you have your sunglasses on). Can we conclude that you’re allowing fans to take a deeper look into you, and maybe you’re willing to share a little more of yourself; bare yourself to us if you will?! Yes it is! It’s just time now to let people in – let the fans in a little bit more. They say the eyes are the window to the soul so I’m going there with the people. You’re right – I’m letting people in! With the release and success of “Hey Jamaica,” can we presume there’s a new album on the horizon?! Yes, we’re looking at the end of August going into September but I’m doing this a different way than what I’ve done on previous albums. I’m releasing the album song by song. The audience has moved towards buying individual songs as opposed to buying albums. A fan can buy track 1 and track 12 and not buy any of the other songs in between so we want them to buy the song for the song and create the picture. The next song will be a continuation of the previous song so that each song tells a story but to get the full picture, they need the song before. “Hey Jamaica” is the beginning of the story! What general advice can you give our readers about Life, about Love and about Lyrics?! Life is a nice cool drink on a bright warm sunny afternoon – drink up and enjoy! Love is the one thing that is never deceiving. Lyrics is a representation of how we feel!



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When it comes to Baby Cham, there is one thing you need to know; he is the best. Cham is always #1. If he releases 1 song every 2 or 3 years, it doesn’t matter; his fans rate him as #1. If he does a collaboration with a well known artist, not so well known artist, or performs a chune on his own, he is #1. On any given day, you can visit a song posted on YouTube, and guaranteed, just an hour to a few hours ago, a fan has posted an ‘I love you Cham’ or ‘this chune sounds like it’s brand new even though it’s years old.’ Cham knows his voice, and knows his musical style. He knows who to work with, and knows ultimately, that his fans respect him for his truth, and truth is what he delivers.

Despite the millions in record sales, the superstars he’s recorded and performed with, the countless tours and the endless air miles, Cham is humble and cares only about 1 thing: his fans. We sat down to speak with Cham to discuss his not appearing at the 2011 staging of Jamaica Day. Just as we suspected, Cham nor his management team, Madhouse Productions were at fault. The tempest in the nest was Raheem Visram from Ultimate Entertainment who acted as the booking agent for the show. Cham clears up what happened, and what fans can expect moving forward...

L3: Cham. Let’s start with Toronto and the 2011 staging of Jamaica Day. What happened and didn’t happen from your perspective? C: First things, first, I was there (in Toronto), in my hotel, ready to perform. They (the Jamaica Day organizers) said they would come and get us in 15 to 20 minutes, and at that time is was 7:45pm. We were there waiting on them to come and get us, with the balance. It’s like any ordinary show, you wait until they get there with the balance or the full fee for the show, receive the payment, then you go to the concert. They didn’t turn up. We called the booking agent because he was the one responsible for all of that (Raheem Visram from Ultimate Entertainment and The Edge Agency), and we couldn’t get him. But it all fell apart before we even got into Canada. My Manager didn’t get the full deposit fee from the promoters of the concert. She wasn’t hearing from Raheem, so she reached out to the promoters to let them know that something doesn’t feel right about the booking, and we’re not going to do it. They didn’t get back to her. Right then and there, that’s fault on the promoters. If you can go straight to the artists manager, why wouldn’t you go straight to the artists manager? The day before the show I wasn’t going to do the concert because we didn’t have tickets to travel – nothing. My manager had to pay for the tickets out of her pocket, so the deal was when we landed, they (Jamaica Day) would pay us back for the tickets instantly when we landed at the airport. They didn’t have the money at the airport. We’ve worked with this dude before (Raheem), so we felt like, ‘let’s go.’ He was going to make sure we get it in the morning. In the morning I didn’t hear anything at all. We were told they had to go and get Max. I wasn’t even worried about that; I just wanted to make sure everything flowed right for the concert because 3 weeks before that, the same booking agency had done some bad deals which my manager knew nothing about. These were concerts that were being promoted in Toronto and the surrounding areas and we had pulled on those concerts because of the bad promotion. We heard after that promoters had paid their money. The only reason why I had said yes I would do Jamaica Day is because those 3 other shows didn’t work out. The fans were there, so I wanted to settle the other concerts and make sure I do Jamaica Day because that’s the show that was really booked. I didn’t know anything about the concert before. He (Raheem) was booking concerts for me to perform here while I was on tour in

Europe and on top of that, he’s not getting in touch with Madhouse Records. No matter how Madhouse Records tried to contact him, he wouldn’t return a call. When he returned the call is when I landed from Paris and I tweeted that the concert in Canada, ‘I know nothing about.’ Two minutes after that tweet, he called Janet Davidson from Madhouse Records and she had been trying to get him for 2 weeks so that alone tells you that that’s some shady business. I don’t know what he told the promoters from Jamaica Day; I don’t know what went wrong. They released a press release saying that I wanted more money. I’ve never ever done that in my life. No one has

heard of me in any form of negative vibes over the years. I’ve never been a part of that type of lifestyle, and I never will be. Madhouse Records has never been nothing like that. We always stay low key; we always let the music speak for itself. It’s not about hype, it’s not about ego, it’s not about the individual. It’s about the work and the music and the vision. That’s our philosophy. For him to go behind out back and tell the promoters I want more money; and the promoters on their part, showing that they’re not good promoters, just taking that (request) without reaching out to Madhouse – Madhouse Records is not hard to find. How could you not just reach out to Madhouse?

Just to be clear, there were no tour dates scheduled? There were no tour dates scheduled. He (Raheem) was booking tour dates, and not checking with Madhouse Records. As a booking agent you’re supposed to confirm with the artists agent. If it’s feasible, the artist says yes, and then you continue from there. He was booking and collecting deposits without confirming if we are available for those shows. I’m on the road every week. If there was a tour date, on his tour sheet, I would be in Canada this week also (the week of July 25th, 2011). Right now you’ve been calling me, I’ve been on the phone with you, and we have a concert in Albany, New York tonight (July 29th), tomorrow night I’m in Chicago (July 30th) and the next night it goes on. There is no way those dates could be right. He’s been using my name, using Madhouses name to do whatever is wrong. He wasn’t like this before. I worked with this dude, which is

“THERE WERE NO TOUR DATES SCHEDULED...I’VE NEVER BEEN IN NOTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE. THE FIRST TIME SOMETHING LIKE HAPPENED IS WHEN WE LANDED FROM EUROPE 4 WEEKS AGO AND I SAW A TWITTER FAN SAY THAT THEY BOUGHT TICKETS TO SEE ME PERFORM WOMEWHERE IN HAMILTON.” My manager called numerous of times leading up to the concert because she knew that something was wrong. She said ‘there’s no tickets, we’re not going to do the show.’ She called them, she left messages, she left numbers, they said they would get back, instead Raheem called back and said ‘everything is going to be good, everything is going to be sorted out.’ At the last minute they couldn’t get the tickets done. The only reason why we got the tickets done is because my manager has an account with American Airlines and American Airlines did us a favour and got us a business class seat at the last minute and we had to pay for that upfront. I haven’t got back that money up to now. For the promoters to release a statement saying that I didn’t show at the concert because I wanted more money – everyone in Canada knows that’s a lie; all my fans know that’s a lie. They have never before seen me in that light and they never will. I’ve never stick up anyone for a dollar.

Raheem, in 2007 on my Ghetto Story tour in Canada and everything was cool. I don’t know what’s going on with the dude. I’ve never been in nothing like this before. The first time something like this happened is when we landed from Europe 4 weeks ago and I saw a Twitter fan say that they bought tickets to see me perform somewhere in Hamilton. I said to myself ‘tickets? Hamilton?’ I called the office because sometimes, when travelling, things come in while you’re in flight, and you get the news when you land. The office said ‘no, we’ve been trying to get him for 3 weeks, and he’s not returning no calls.’ This was the Wednesday, and the show for Hamilton and the tour would be starting the Friday night. I tweeted all my fans and said ‘sorry, if you bought tickets make sure you go and get back your money and if you haven’t purchased a ticket, don’t go purchase a ticket please because I won’t be in Hamilton.’ In 2 minutes time, the same person, Raheem Visram, that my manager Janet was trying to get for two and a half weeks to three weeks, and couldn’t get him, called her not even a minute after I sent out the tweet. So what does that tell you? That tells you that someone is plain shady. Why would you hear a message from the manager of an artist over 20 to 30 times saying ‘Raheem, contact me about these tour dates because I’m not liking what I’m hearing. Cham is not doing a tour when he gets off

the European tour’ and you don’t get back to that person? How would the shows work out? When I sent out my tweet, I saw some promoters tweet they need to get to him because he’s selling the package. That’s how we found out he was selling a package. He was never told to sell any package. He contacted Madhouse saying that he wanted to do a Canadian tour. Madhouse told him to ‘see what the Canadian market is like and get back to us and we’ll see if it’s available to do, and see if we can do it right now. The only concert that was booked was Jamaica Day, and the deposit wasn’t even in. The only reason why I fly to Canada was to make sure that these fans wouldn’t go through what the fans went through 3 weeks before (regarding the tour). I thought that the promoters weren’t at fault why everything wasn’t coming through clear, but the promoters were wrong. They should have reached out to Madhouse – they saw that something wasn’t right.

We didn’t realize how seriously your fans take your career until this tour was announced and we saw the amount of tweets from people looking forward to seeing you. This whole situation really bothers me a lot because Canada was the first place I toured outside of Jamaica. They have shown me so much love over the years. I’ve had so many hits in Canada, even hits that are not Dancehall hits. You can go as far back as myself and Jully Black where we had one of the biggest hits in Canada called “Stronger Than The Day Before”. I have a big fan base there, so when I see fans tweeting that they stood outside all night in the rain (rain fell in the afternoon and continued to the evening for Jamaica Day 2011) and they didn’t get to see me, that hurts. To know that I was 15 minutes away, and they were telling the fans they were trying to get me and couldn’t get me? How are you going to tell fans that when I’m in my hotel room? I don’t have anyone to carry me around. I’m waiting on them to pick me up; how could they tell the

fans they were trying to get me and couldn’t get me because me, nor my management was answering my phone? That’s the only reason why I’m going out and doing these interviews to make the fans know what’s really going on. The promoters of the Jamaica Day concert; the fans need to look at that poster next year and those tickets and walk by them. Not go and purchase them, walk past them. The fans don’t need to support those types of promoters. Why would you bring me to Canada? I’m 15 minutes away, and you can’t take 10 minutes to find out what’s really going on? You know that Raheem the booking agent from Canada was playing games. If they had returned one of my managers calls (my manager got the numbers for the promoters of Jamaica Day and called them straight); this wouldn’t have happened. She was told they would call back and no one called back. Obviously, they were in the scheme also. I’ve gotten tweets from fans saying that next year they’re going to boycott the show because each year it’s something different. Every year another artist doesn’t perform, or something. Obviously the promoters and the booking agent have a problem. Not all promoters or booking agents because I’ve worked with some good people over the years – we’ve done the Kool Haus numerous times, and I’ve never had these types of problems, but these Jamaica Day concert promoters are stink. They are no good promoters and I don’t care if they are elders, I don’t care if they’re young; old. You have a certain way you deal with people, and a certain way you go about things. You can’t just get up and say ‘someone told you Cham wanted more money,’ so you send out a press release saying Cham wanted more money. Why didn’t you call Cham? Why didn’t you call Cham’s management who’s been trying to get to you for the past 2 weeks? Janet Davidson, my manager, has been in this business. She managed Peter Tosh, Maxi Priest; so many artists, you name them. She knows when something doesn’t feel right. That’s the reason why she went straight to the promoters to let them know ‘hello, my name is such and such, we are from Madhouse records, we’re the ones responsible for Cham, we don’t have any tickets and we don’t do business like this.’ We don’t do business where we receive the tickets (flight) a day before the concert. And even that didn’t come through. We were the ones who bought our own tickets. If Janet didn’t buy the tickets, there wouldn’t be a flight to Toronto. Moving forward, are there plans in development for you to do a show for your fans in Toronto as a way of saying I know what happened with the mix-up, so I’m taking control of the situation and I’m going to do this for my Canadian fans? We spoke about that today (July 29th) before I got on the plane, and Madhouse is working on it with a team in Canada. We have promoters reaching out to us directly to get this done right so the fans can get their due, and we can get the work done. I’m going to make sure it gets done because I at least owe the fans that. They know me (the fans), and they know that when it’s time to work, I’m always there. I’ve never ever tried to swizzle someone; I’ve never ever done that I would never do it. That’s not me, and that’s not Madhouse’s way of doing business. Madhouse Records has been

Madhouse Records has been around for so long, why would they start doing bad business now? We are going to work with the right promoters to get the work done; as of right now, no third party. Everyone has to come straight to Madhouse Records and ask for Janet Davidson: bookings@ or phone 305-235-4299. Parties can also visit It’s hard to believe that your last album was dropped in 2006 called Ghetto Story. Your fans don’t treat you like your music is ‘old’! Doing a YouTube search, we can see that fans have left messages for you up to 1 hour ago. Do you feeling like puffing out your chest knowing that your fans ‘got’ you like ‘that,’ and you have them?! No! To be real, it makes me feel humbled. I’m going to share something with you and your readers. I was in Europe a couple months ago. We were doing concerts, and I performed the song “Ghetto Story.” The fans acted like the song was 2 weeks old. They were singing word for word and were going crazy. You wouldn’t believe that song came out in 2006. That kind of live response puts you back in your humble chair, and makes me say ‘these people are even more important than me.’ Sometimes when the label comes to me and says we have a tour to do, a couple dates in Europe; sometimes as an artist I don’t want to go to Europe because I’d like to finish the project I’m working on, but when I think about my fans, and how much they mean to me, I’m humbled and I go. They mean that much to me. Take it further, the fact that they stick around and support me, I can’t let them down. I’ve never been the type of artist to release 5 singles for the year which is the norm, so my way doesn’t really work in Dancehall. The fact that they’ve stuck around, I will pause what I’m doing and will go! One thing my fans know about me is that when I do release a song, it will be a good song and a classic for them to listen to for years to come!


One such song that’s become a classic in its own right and sparked a lot of conversation is “Conscience”. What is some of the feedback you received from your peers, not so much your fans, after that song dropped? That song is real. Most of my peers told me it was the best social commentary song they’ve ever heard. It was the realest they ever heard. No one has ever taken ‘it’ there. Normally an artist would try to have a curtain around the topics discussed in that song, meaning you try to hide some of the real things that are going on in society. Basically that song was letting loose and letting people know what’s really going on. No silence to it. I painted a picture to gun-men and politicians about what they’re doing to the community, and let them look at themselves at the same time. I painted a picture of what they are doing, then asked them to look at the painting and tell me if what they see is right. At the time, the killing of women and elders had really picked up in Jamaica and not just Jamaica, but the whole of the Caribbean was getting really crazy. When I went in the studio, that was the song I wanted to do. One more thing; I wasn’t trying to

get airplay with that song. If you listen to the lyrics carefully, you’ll hear that that is not the kind of song looking for airplay. It was a song for me to express my frustration, and what was really on my mind. People took the song like it should have been written 10 years before. You have a long standing relationship with Dave Kelly, Janet Davidson and the Madhouse family. We (your fans and media) term you as the hit factory! We know that when something comes from you and your camp, it’s going to be a hit! Do you ever feel a musical pressure to maintain that standard? I never feel pressure but I feel a sense of responsibility to make good music. When we go in the studio, it’s to have fun, so there’s never ever any pressure! We maintain our standard in the sense that if it’s not right, you’re not going to hear it. When it’s right you’re going to hear it and I think that’s the responsibility, not the so-called ‘pressure.’ My fans deserve this full amount, and if it’s not full, they’re not going to get it, even if they have to wait just a little bit

longer. If they have to wait a year or a year and a half, I’m going to make sure it’s right. When I do release a song, I want to make sure it tops the last one the fans heard before! I really embrace it (the process of making music), and feel I owe the fans that much! One thing your fans would love to hear more about is the song “Ghetto Story.” Within the song, you tell a very powerful story without telling it in a way that glorifies blood and violence. Is the song really based on a true story, and why did you tell the story without getting as dark as we know you could have gone? 70% of the story is real. That’s my story; my personal life. The other 30% of the story is what I’ve seen on the streets growing up. Some of it I’ve seen on the news, and some I’ve seen my friends go through. So the song is real, real, real. As far as the reason why we used the words the way we did, instead of letting it too graphic, is that we were just keeping it real. We grew up in the ghetto and this is what we saw, yet at the same time, it was cool, and there were some times that were nice. The song starts by saying ‘I remember those days when hell was my home / me and Mama bed was a big piece of foam / I never like bathe…;’ when you say that it brings a smile to the person’s face who’s listening because that was real! The reason why the song came off that way is because, and we have to thank Dave Kelly, Dave wanted a song that was real. He wanted me to write about my personal life. We were there in the studio, and started to think back to the days growing up, getting beat up as a kid, to becoming a big man, and controlling your own situation. I think that’s the reason why people feel it so much. Now, anywhere we go in the world,

even Canada, America, anywhere where people speak English, or understand English, they love that song. I also think the reason is even if you didn’t grow in the ghetto, the song still has something for you. No matter what, no one can say they never went through their childhood days. No one can say they’ve never b been through difficulties at all that wasn’t a form of a bad time and that’s what the song is saying.

You can’t do anything. Education should not be a luxury, it should be a necessity. I think that’s why Ghetto Story came off so powerful. Everybody took it in their own way. Some people took it hard core, and some people took it like ‘this is the realest song.’ I remember I met an elder female and she told me she thought the song was from her life story, and that I stole her life story! She said it in a jovial way

“EDUCATION SHOULD BE FREE. NO MATTER WHAT RACE, CLASS, OR CREED; EVERY CHILD SHOULD RECEIVE AN EDUCATION. THEY ARE ENTITLED, AND IT’S A MUST.” No matter how the times are rough, there comes a time when you can step out of that and achieve all your goals. That’s why we say ‘we get dih tings dem.’ (Cham begins to sing: we get dih tings dem, dem Outta luck now…). You’ve been fighting and fighting and now you have it, so you’re saying to the opposition ‘what are you going to do to take this from me? You can’t take it from me. With education; you’ve been going to school all this time, and you finally have your degree, your masters, your doctorate – they can’t take it from you. The question we’re asking now is what can you do, society, politicians, leaders etc., what can you do to take this from me? You can’t. I also want to add that education should be free. No matter what race, class, or creed, every child should receive an education. They are entitled, and it’s a must. For those who have to fight to get it (that education), what are you going to do to get this from me?

because she knew that was millions of other people’s life story. We did the video from the concept of the movie ‘City of God’ which is about some Brazilian kids who went through some hard times. If you watch that movie, you’ll see that Ghetto Story is the same thing. When you’re going through hard times, it’s not just you, people are going through it everywhere; some just like you and some worse – but all are going through. Did it shock you, surprise you, honor you, humour you to know that Alicia Keys wanted to do the remix for the song “Ghetto Story?” It shocked me! (Cham is once again humbled). I thought it was a prank. Dave Kelly is the individual who likes to play around – he likes to prank people a lot! When I got the call I was in L.A. (California) promoting the song. Dave said ‘Alicia Keys wants to get on the song.’ We already had Akon on the remix. We

have a great relationship with Akon, and that’s from day 1. We even recorded him on the Vitamin S riddim from way back before anyone even knew the riddim. The minute I knew I needed a remix, I called Kon (Akon), and he said he would do it, so we had the remix done. When Dave called and said Alicia Keys, I thought it was a prank, so I said ‘ok, if she wants to get on the song, I’m down with it,’ but I still thought it was a prank. We got off the phone, and I got a call the next morning from Janet saying I have to fly and meet Dave in New York, and that’s when I knew something was really serious! Dave wouldn’t pull a prank for me to fly all the way from L.A. to New York. When I got to New York, she was in the studio. It was a blessing for me. It took the song from being big in the streets and the clubs, to being big on popular radio. That’s what we needed at the time in order for Atlantic Records to see how big the song was. At first, they weren’t believing in the song. They wanted to push the song “Boom Boom” with Rihanna which is a good song, but at the time, it was Ghetto Story that needed the push. It didn’t take being a rocket scientist to see that. When Alicia got on it and it went straight through the roof, they didn’t know we had Alicia! The record label didn’t know that. She didn’t contact the record label, she contacted Dave straight. I was shocked, I was surprised, I was humbled – you name it – I was everything! I was star struck when we got in the studio! Sometimes as an artist you wonder how it’s going to be recording with artists on that level, especially when they’re from a different genre. I watched everything. Every word, every gesture – everything. There were so many intricacies that I appreciated. The song came out perfectly. We told her we wanted her to do ‘her,’ and that’s exactly

what she did. We didn’t write anything for her, we didn’t tell her it had to sound like Dancehall – nothing. She did what was real to her, and we were happy with the final cut. What was impressive about the remix, is up until the remix was released, we didn’t know too much about her story in the sense of her childhood and some of the things she went through growing up. Yes, until then, that was the only song she opened up on. No one knew that about her, and that’s her real story; her real life. That’s the reason why when she came out, she dressed in jeans and t-shirts because, if you listen to the song, she says she had to get away from pimps. She would hide her beauty; her curves, so that pimps wouldn’t look at her. That’s the environment she grew up. Alicia Keys is a beautiful person – very humble too! Another heavy hitter you’ve worked with is Rihanna. Opportunities like that don’t happen for an artist who is not on a certain level, and who doesn’t have a certain attitude about his or her music. Do you ever look in the mirror and say ‘God I don’t know why you shoes me, but thank you!’? (Humbled) I have thanked him so much, and continue to thank him. You have so many people in music, and so many people in Dancehall music and as a young teenager just getting out of high school at age 15, to now, 15 years after, I’ve had so many classic songs that will never die. I can name from now till when; “Joyride,” “Many Many,” “Bruk Out,” “Showtime,” “Vitamin S,” “Babylon Boy” the list goes on. You also have “This is Why I’m Hot (Remix)” which crossed into a different genre. It shows you that you must be doing something right, and you must be living good, for all of this to happen. If you’re not living good, there is no way the Almighty God is going to shine that blessing on you. The other important point is you have to have a good team. No man is an island, and the letter ‘i’ is not in the word team. For an artist to get the best, he or she needs the best producer for them. Not the best producer; the best producer for them. For me, Dave Kelly is that. He is the best producer Dancehall has ever seen. On any given day, you’re performing in a different city, and a different country. How important are the fans in terms of keeping you refreshed and energized so you can give them the amazing performances that you do? I’ll let you in on a secret! I hate travelling! I hate flying, I hate going through airports, but I love getting to where I’m going! I always tell my friends that I wish they had a Star Trek system where they could beam me up (laughing)! A lot of times, you are really tired, but as soon as you get to the venue, you take a peek at the fans from backstage and see that those fans are there for you, you forget that you’re tired. You just want to work and tell them thanks. You want to thank them for coming out, and for giving you a chance to live the way you live. That’s the reason why we work the way we do. When we’re on the stage, we give the fans an hour to an hour and thirty minutes worth of performance. I work until my socks are wet. Have you ever passed through the airport and security and fans recognize you and see them freak out?! It happens all the time! Today I was late, and as I came through TSA, a fan was videoing me from their cell phone and he called out to me and said ‘hey Cham!’ Sometimes I stop and take a picture with the fans. I sign autographs – I’m never too

busy for that! One time I was at Disney with my kids. Some artists will say that’s my private time, but you never have private time. It’s nothing for me to take a minute to sign an autograph, take a picture and move on! One artist who’s an L3 favourite that you’ve worked with is Kardinall Offishall. Kardi is my brother! I love that yute! One of his first tours was him coming on tour with me. He opened for me, and from then I knew he had natural talent. Apart from that, we’re cool cool! That’s my dawg! When we see each other, we talk and laugh for hours. Kardi is real people. Real, real people! Kardi has a new song on the road called “Ole Time Killin Pt. II.” I’m not trying to throw words or get into the mix, but a remix to that chune with you would be straight murdah! Kardi had one of the sickest songs a few years ago called “Bakardi Slang” that someone pirated. That song tells you how long I’ve been following him, and how much I rate him as an artist. He’s bad! So just because you told me about his new song, I’m going to reach out to him after this interview and get that remix done! We’re doing the remix! Done! Have you had a chance to work with artists who are famous in their respective markets; for example, artists from South Africa, Brasil, Germany, and France? Have you had a chance to work with any? We’ve had offers from people around the world. They come in by mail and e-mail. We do go through them. It takes time to find that right collaboration which we haven’t found just yet – but it’s there! Sometimes I hear the music which sounds good, but it’s just not for me. When the right one comes along I’ll do it because music has no boundaries and it has no limits. What is the story behind the remix “This is Why I’m Hot?” The song is not Dancehall, but it’s authentic and you can’t go around that. “I got my clip to the rear of me / shorty’s live in fear of me / dudes on the block running scared of me / I keep my thing near to me / don’t just appear to me / never touch my money / no / my money’s dear to me ….” Look at that, out of all the songs, “This is Why I’m Hot” was the biggest payday; 3.7 Million copies sold. To go back to the question before, and to this one, you have to just do music. We weren’t thinking anything else but doing our best on this track because Ghetto Story, at the time, was the biggest song. Then this comes along. They wanted us on the track so the song could get played. Before we did the remix, no one (none of the radio jocks)

was showing them love. To this day and always, we respect Black Out Entertainment. He was a disc jockey at the time. He was working at a radio station in West Palm Beach, and he approached me and told me he had a kid by the name of MIMS, they had a hot track, but no one wanted to give him any airplay. He was the only one playing the song on the station. We did it, and in 3 weeks time, the song shot up the Billboard charts – straight to #1! You have to do what you feel. It’s that simple. Music has no boundaries, it has no guidelines. We can do everything in music. Music is free as a bird. When the Africans used to sing, they did so to be free. No matter what kind of stress they’re under, they sing to be free. To bring it to North American terms, when you get home from work, you put in a CD, or your iPod and play your Sean Paul, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Shaggy or a Cham – whosoever – you play the music to relieve the stress. You forget that your boss is a pri&%. You listen to the music, you cook, you relax, and that’s what music does. Sherlock Avenue! You are a proud community member. Do your neighbours and friends look at you as the same Cham growing up? They have to respect it. Sherlock was regular community, and by doing music, with me getting popular, everyone affiliated Sherlock with me. Now we have kids from the community who have started their own promotions, and they keep parties. They call themselves the Sherlock family and that’s how they make their bread now. That’s what saved them. I know them

from we were all kids. They could have gone in the wrong direction, but they didn’t – we didn’t. People book them for parties – just by the name Sherlock (Cham laughs)! It sounds weird but it’s good. It makes me feel proud to know that I may not have put a dollar in their hand, but I did that, and everyone knows I did that! I did it for the betterment of the community, and for the kids coming up. Hopefully more kids can start using the promotional name. Your most recent chune is called “Stronger” featuring Michael Rose and Bounty Killer. How did that song and collaboration come about? (Cham sings the hook to the song). That’s my favourite song right now, but let me break it down for you. We had the song written and done. We needed the perfect vocalist because I knew I couldn’t do the vocals. To do the hook, there’s about 3 people that can really sing with that range. 1 is Rihanna, 2 is Akon, and 3 is Michael Rose. Rihanna at the time was on tour and we couldn’t get to her. Akon was back in Africa, so the next best person to use on the track was Michael Rose. We reached out to Michael, he liked the idea, came to the studio, and that was that. We had everything finished. 5 or 6 days after that, I got a call, and the call was from Bounty Killer. I was shocked at the time because we hadn’t spoken in almost 11 years. He said “Wha Wha it’s Rodney. We need to move past what happened – it’s been almost 11 years.” He couldn’t travel to the states, so Dave and I travelled to Jamaica where we could sit face to face. He, Me and Dave were best of friends, but due to a relationship back then that went sour, we went our ways. That was 1999. We hadn’t spoken since then – that’s 11 to 12 years. When we got to Jamaica, we sat and talked and cleared everything off the table in an hour and a half. After reasoning, he asked us when we’re going to start making some music. We told him we had the one song we were going to release with Michael Rose. He heard it and asked if he could get a verse on it. We didn’t intend it because as I said the song was done, but it was as if the stars were lined where we were talking again; no one in Jamaica knew we were talking again, because he came to see us at a secure location. We booked some studio time, and cleared the whole studio. It was just me, Dave and him. By 8 o’clock Friday morning, Jamaica heard it first. Some people didn’t think it was real. Most people thought it was a mixed track because they didn’t know we were in contact. It turned out to be one of those songs. It’s a beautiful song, and I love that song! (Once again, Cham shows he’s humbled). In Europe right now, that song is the Anthem! I performed it at a Hip Hop festival with 13,000 people – white kids singing word for word! You can go to my facebook page and watch

the video. It’s crazy! That show was no joke. Goose bumps will fill your skin! I had to put it up on Facebook! This wasn’t a Reggae concert – a Hip Hop concert! Wowow! When you began your career, did you ever think you would be here, sitting on top of the mountain, enjoying the view? I never ever look at myself as sitting at the top. I always have something else I want to do. The dream was always to find big songs and for me to make classics. It’s like everything else, you sometimes don’t get what you dream so you’re not sure. In my case I’m blessed. I wasn’t sure it was going to work. I knew I had what it took, and I had the right formula which is the team around me, Dave Kelly, Janet Davidson etc., and we were working. So I knew what I wanted to be. I knew what my goal was, but I wasn’t sure I was going to get it. That was me then. With hard work and the team that I have – why not? I knew Dave Kelly was the best, so who else would I choose. He was responsible for Buju Banton’s career, for Terror Fabulous, Nadine Sutherland and others. I knew this dude, was the right dude. From the first day, it was right, and we’re still here! It’s not music anymore; it’s a brother to a brother. When we get in the studio, it’s crazy. We’ll be in the studio for 24 hours and not even realize we’ve been in the studio for a day. Vitamin S as sex therapy! Sex is something we’re not supposed to feel ashamed of. You’re supposed to understand it and what comes with it. You don’t need to rush it, especially as a youngster; you have all the time in the world to do what you have to do. As a grown up, that’s for you. Sometimes we feel like it’s wrong to say sex, so I wanted to say ‘sex’ but have it sound cool at the same time. With the name ‘Vitamin S’ we can use it in any environment and it works out perfect! What advice would you like to share with our readers on Life, Love and Lyrics?! The road to success is not straight. There’s a turn called failure, loops called confusion, speed bumps called friends and red lights called enemies. There are caution signs called family, and flat tires called jobs. If you have a spare called determination, an engine called perseverance, with insurance called faith, and the drive to make it, you’ll reach that place called success! That’s my Life, Love and Lyrics. m

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L3 Magazine | August 2011  
L3 Magazine | August 2011  

Featuring Shaggy, Courtney John, Baby Cham and more!