Get To Know [Ep.10]: Tracker John MD

Anyone who knows me personally or just from Twitter, knows that I’m a huge Protoje fan. In 2016, Protoje surprised his fans with an exclusively free album, namely Royalty Free (Side B) In his usual unorthodox and unapologetic style, he just released half of the album but let me tell youuuuu, it a di sickest half a album! loooool. He can take as long as he wants with the other half because I know it will be qualityyyyy. From the day it was released up to this very day, I have had the project on repeat. I just love how “out of the box” it is.

So, for this episode, I caught up with the producer who was responsible for two tracks on the project. This is the amazing, Tracker John MD!

Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first five selections. Let’s see what you got.

  1. Bout Noon – Protoje
  2. Hustler – Kabaka Pyramid (UNRELEASED)
  3. Be Careful With Me – Cardi B
  4. Walking Trophy – Hood Celebrityy
  5. If You Let ’em – Trips Up

Name one album that you’ll probably never stop listening to and why.

Tracker John: Good question….. I’d have to go with ‘Wu-Tang Forever’ double disc CD. My  reason being, every clan member had their own element and brothers like The Rza, 4th Disciple and Allah Mathematics had to design the right sound.

Go into your main musical influences and who or what initiated your choice to get into music production.

Well, my musical influences are my father and uncle. Both of them are the reason why I’m making music today. I remember when I was 7, my brother and I went to my Dad’s house for a photoshoot. My father and uncle being Haitian were talking in creole about me as I had my fingers placed on the keyboard he had just bought us. I asked him what were they saying but he laughed and said I’m too young to understand. I guess they were saying that I will be great one day.

Hahaha great story. You play any instruments currently?

I’m currently taking piano lessons. At last! (laughs)

How does being able to play an instrument assist in beat making/ the production process?

It helps dearly. Music is vibration and every chord progression brings a different energy and feeling. 

“It’s key to know the scales”

– Silver Sargent

How did the link come about with Protoje for the songs on ‘Royalty Free (Side B)’ and have you done any work with any other Jamaican artiste/s?

My production credits with Jamaican artistes are as follows:

Mr. Vegas – Like That (2004)

Protoje – Can’t Feel No Way (2016)

Protoje – Glad You’re Home (2016)

Alborosie feat. Protoje – Strolling (Remix) (2017)

Kabaka Pyramid – Kabaka vs Pyramid (Remix) (2018) *UNRELEASED

In 2005, I took a trip to Jamaica with my business partner at the time who grew up with Diggy. I was only 19 when I met Protoje. People called him Oje from around his way. I remember I saw a Triton keyboard at Protoje’s house and I said, ‘Yo, can I make a beat?” Diggy said, ” Yeah man” and he was shocked that I made a full beat in 5 minutes. Can you imagine that 11 years later he still remembered me?

I sent him a DM via Twitter after he released Ancient Future and told him that I’m still making beats. He sent me Dennis Brown’s ‘Don’t Feel No Way’ to sample. I doctored the track but I felt that I could do something else of my choosing so I selected ‘Ring My Bell’ by The Bloodsisters. I sent the track and the rest was history. Oh yeah!…. I did get a call from Protoje to work on ‘7 Year Itch’ but the sound we were gonna buss was way too ahead of it’s time.

IMG_20180420_124608
Left: Tracker John, Right: Protoje

Could you give us a simple breakdown of the creative process behind the ‘Glad You’re Home’ instrumental? I must say, I have had both tracks on repeat! but Glad You’re Home is my favourite, it just has a certain bounce/swing to it.

Glad You’re Home was a sample that fell right into the drum pattern. The sample that punches in like “any time, any day” is my favourite. When Diggy sent the rough vocals through WhatsApp, he sung lyrics over that part. My voice message was like, “Yo, I thought you would have caught that sample like how Dipset does!” When he sent the verse again he laced it proper. He knew exactly what I was talking about. The most important thing of all, is when my childhood friend, Paris Wilson heard it when I was making it and said, “G, I know you like ‘Can’t Feel No Way’ but ‘Glad You’re Home’ is the one!” We’re from Hartford, Connecticut so Paris kept saying, “The streets can bounce to it ’cause it has a fusion of Trap as well.”

Listen to ‘Glad You’re Home” here:

 

In closing, is there any message you would like to leave with the people?

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter: @trackerjohnmd

Give thanks for reading as always. This was a refreshing episode for me. I hope you enjoyed it too.

Follow me on Twitter: @Shawn_FTC

Blessings.

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Get To Know [Ep.9]: Blvk H3ro

Yoooo this blogging thing isn’t easy at all but mi ah push and guh chruu….

I’m really excited about our guest this week because he is a really special talent and I see him making big strides in the music industry. He is the one that got me really interested in the Soundcloud space because that’s where I first came across the song, H3rb. At the time, Jamaica’s music was in a weird place so I was in search of new music and boy, did I find it. After a couple plays, I was hooked to the catchy tune and thoroughly impressed with the fusion of the different genres. Plus the spelling of his name got me even more intrigued. After hearing other releases and seeing him perform live, I’m indeed a fan. So, I’m glad that I got the chance to hol’ a likkle reasoning with the budding star.

Fun fact: He started playing the drums at 8 years old and by the age 13, he was singing on the youth choir at church. The church provided his earliest musical exposure and is responsible for much of the energy in his eclectic sound.

Blvk H3ro
(Blvk H3ro)

Photo by: Yannick Reid Photography (@thetherapistsol)

The reasoning (conversation) went a likkle sumn like this….

Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first five selections. Let’s see what you got.

H3ro: I’m not gonna lie, this is hard for me because I’m such a big fan of music in general that my playlist is crazy! Plus I listen to musical projects as a complete body of work so more often than not I’m vibing to albums as opposed to singles. So, in that case let me give you the top 5 albums that never leave my playlist.

  1. Teflon Don – Rick Ross
  2. Thriller – Michael Jackson
  3. Jai Paul – Jai Paul
  4. Teacher’s Back – Vybz Kartel x Stephen ‘Di Genius’ McGregor
  5. Voodoo – D’Angelo

Different people will have various perspectives but what does the term “bussweh” primarily mean to you?

For me, Bussweh is so many things. For one, it’s an energy you just know when you feel it. Also, it was the name of my tribe, my first real creative family. It’s like a magical word that opened a portal for me and my musical brothers and sisters to get our creative energies out into the world. Our dreams have now taken flight into the present where we have developed our own individual brands and now we are looking forward to an amazing future. So for me, just hearing you say the word bussweh means a lot because of the history for me and so many other amazing artistes.

Best memories from Excelsior High School (alma mater)?

(laughs) My best memories were sculling classes to go play desk-drum down by the field. At the time, nuff bad artiste did deh ah Excelsior so it was crazy freestyling from the day start  till school over! Yuh done know I did master the drum machine from dem time deh! I can also remember when we won back to back Manning Cup championships yoooooo I have never felt a high like that! The whole school was just happy and it was like a party vibe every day for a while.

In other interviews, when asked about your musical influences, Kirk Franklin, Michael Jackson and Vybz Kartel seem to be the main ones. Expound on the influence of each of them.

One of the benefits of growing up in a Christian household like mine is that Gospel music was just a part of the general atmosphere. It was my Mom who introduced me to Kirk Franklin’s music and what really wowed me was the way how he fused traditional Gospel style with different musical elements and sounds, bending the genre in really inventive ways. In fact, I’d say all my influencers are masters at bending and blending musical genres and each has taught me something different.

Michael Jackson taught me how to use my voice as an instrument, especially my falsetto and he also showed me the importance of vocal range and storytelling especially in songwriting. Plus his stage presence and performance is insane so to say the least, he is immensely talented. 

Vybz Kartel’s boldness is what caught my attention at first, he just had the audacity to say all that a teenager like myself was thinking at that time. After that, it was his lyrics and the way he used melodies to make the words have more swing.

Share with us the story behind the making of your breakout single, H3rb (Healing of the Nation)

Whoa! That gives me flashbacks to when I just started living at Oaklands and linking heavy with Dennis ‘The Greatest’ Hamilton (producer for the track) We just connected as young artiste and young producer yuh zimi? So one day we were vibing out some sounds as usual ’till the energies led us to some Earth, Wind and Fire sounds after which we settled with this particular Curtis Mayfield song that immediately grabbed us so we ended up chopping up a segment of the song and making a sample loop, then he added an extra swing with the drums and it was just magic. It would be hard to explain the exact process because it was spirits leading us. At the time we had a small setup inside a closet so I just went and did a freestyle over the beat and as they say, the rest is history.

Listen to ‘H3rb’ here:

When talking to others, one common thing that always comes up is how good your live performances are. Go into the work you put into rehearsal and how important live performance is to you.

I’m so glad you brought this up because it is a lot of work! Salute to musicians worldwide and specifically players of instruments, they are the backbone of our music industry. Believe me when I say, without the Reggae Soul Band a lot of things wouldn’t have manifested. We try to live by the 5 P’s ( Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance) So before every live show we do our best to put in minimum two rehearsals for at least three hours each.

We do our best to prepare a proper set with different dynamics and sounds to really connect with the audience because I live by the idea that my stage performance is a conversation with the audience where we are exchanging energies back and forth. I’m very passionate about my craft and each song comes from a place of honesty and love so I really feel what I’m saying and I want you to feel it too! Plus I love to move and keep energies high so personally, I have to keep fit, eat well and stay healthy. I love what I do and I love singing for my musical family. 

SmileJa
(Blvk H3ro)

Photo by: Brandon Chang Photography (@duppypics)

I feel like ‘Reggae Riot’ was one of those standout shows. How has your life or career changed since that show?

I swear! Reggae Riot really provided a lot of opportunities for me and the band to grow and learn from. That performance led to many more shows for us in that season and gave us the opportunity to learn more about stage craft and what it means to be professional musicians. I also met a lot of people in the industry at that show that ended up becoming mentors and teachers to me like Protoje. He and his team have been a part of and created so many platforms for creatives like us to gain experience, showcase our talents and grow our fanbase. It was really after Reggae Riot that doors started to open. So, that moment definitely holds a special memory for me along the journey.

You got the opportunity to go on tour for the first time with Runkus and Royal Blu in Europe, last year summer. What are some of the things that you learnt from that experience?

Going on an overseas tour for the first time was mind-blowing! I felt like I was Ash from Pokémon going on a new adventure in a new place. Man, I tried new foods, listened to new music, met new people and learned a few new words in different languages so from that aspect, being in Europe for the first time changed my life.

When the festivals came around that was another dope experience for me and I got to see what a real big show setup was like with full stage, big screens, lighting, special fx and incredible sound. I also noted that the culture in European countries takes being on time very seriously so being punctual and precise with time was another major lesson for me, especially coming from Jamaica. Overall, it was just a joy to experience all that and I think the main thing it reinforced was really just how much I love music and performance and how I see this as a part of my life’s mission. Big respect goes out to Runkus and Royal Blu! I think we did our best to represent our culture and also ourselves as artistes.

After the release of a Mixtape and EP, what should people look forward to from the upcoming album, The Immortal Steppa?

What I want people to expect for sure, is new sounds, new melodies and new flows that will still have a nostalgic feel. My first full length project ‘The Immortal Steppa’ is like a menu of great soulful dishes to not only soothe your musical appetite but that will also inspire new cravings. The team and I put our literal blood, sweat and tears into it, so it’s definitely a passionate collection of sounds that we believe in with all our hearts. I guarantee there is a sound for every musical taste on this project!

One of my favourite tracks from you is definitely ‘Feet Don’t Fail’ (first single from the album) Could you give us a simple breakdown of the recording process for that song?

‘Feet Don’t Fail’ is one of my favourite songs too! I’ve had to draw strength from it during difficult times. For this song, my main producer and engineer, Shotta Biggs from Shatbling Productions, presented me with a riddim and a challenge to write a song like I’ve never written before. He wanted me to tap into my essence and my purpose and really express myself in a different way than people might have heard me before. He first played me the riddim that was recorded live by some of the living legends of Reggae music and trust me, I feel really blessed that they even allowed me to write a song on it. I was going through a really  rough time just trying to realize my dreams in music and the phrase that became the title of the song just popped up in my head.

I meditated on it over the next few days before going back with my manager to the studio up at Skyline Levels and from the moment I laid the first chorus we all knew we had something really special that was the beginning of something new for me.

Listen to ‘Feet Don’t Fail’ here:

In closing, what message would you like to leave with the people?

Believe in yourself. It’s that simple. The Immortal Steppa soon forward.

Give thanks for reading. ‘The Immortal Steppa” is one project I’m anticipating highly. Can’t wait to hear the new sounnds!

To keep up with Blvk H3ro and stay updated with his career be sure to visit http://www.blvkh3ro.com

Get To Know [Ep.8]: Lila Ike

This week we have the soulful songstress, Lila Iké. Once you hear her voice, you know it’s her. She really does have a unique sound and style (both in music and fashion lol) I have had the opportunity to see her perform live a couple of times and it is always a joy to observe her stage presence. You would think that she has been doing this forever! Coming through with her old soul, Lila is set to win over hearts all around the world.

NKV09958 (1)
(Lila Ike)

Photo by: Nickii Kane

Why do you sing?

Lila: I sing because it is therapeutic for me. Kinda like listening to music when you’re in a particular mood, but I’m singing.

You were born & rasied in Manchester (rural Jamaica). Best and worst thing about growing up/living there?

Best thing about country life, I feel it is way more healthier than city life, with food coming straight from the ground majority of the time. It is also peaceful and relaxing. On the other hand, there are not much platforms to express creativity.

What was the transition to Kingston (capital city) like for you?

The transition to Kingston for me was very exciting. It was basically the first time I got to be really in control of my life without my Mom being by my side. At first, it was a bit scary but I managed. I got to be a party girl for awhile and then I experienced the conscious community which actually changed my lifestyle positively. 

You’re a part of the In.Digg.Nation Collective (Independent Creative Label spearheaded by recording artiste, Protoje) Take us back to that moment when you first made the link with Protoje?

I met Protoje the first day I moved to Kingston actually. I was invited to his album launch for Ancient Future, which was exciting because this was also my first time seeing majority of the artistes I listen to from the “Reggae Revival” in person. He was very chill and cool, I managed to tell him that I’m a musician and he would be hearing stuff from me very soon. Eventually he did and he loved it!  

What are the Top 3 things you have learnt since working with him?

  1. Time Management
  2. Confidence 
  3. Organization

You released your first single, ‘Biggest Fan’ in 2017. Could you give us some insight into the recording process for this song?

The recording process for Biggest Fan was exciting! It was my first time being in a recording booth as big as a room (laughs) I loved it. I learnt a lot as it relates to the difference between writing a song and performing it in front of my mirror versus laying down the track in a studio.

Listen to ‘Biggest Fan’ here:

You got the opportunity to go on your first overseas tour in the UK last year as well. Tell us about that experience.

The UK tour was amazing! It was my first time there. I had a lot of wonderful experiences, met a lot of cool people and had some of the best naps of my life. Big up Kwest Hotel in London! Not to mention the bunk bed on the tour bus. Magical!

Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first five selections. Let’s see what you got.

  1. Breeze – Aidonia x Govana
  2. Bout Noon – Protoje
  3. Blessed – Daniel Caesar
  4. Wings With Me – Ini Kamoze
  5. Ex Factor _ Lauryn Hill

In closing, what message would you like to leave with the people?

Love yourself and live life to the fullest. Go outside and take in Mother Earth as much as possible!

Give thanks for reading. Look out for new music from Lila in the very near future but in the meanwhile, check this bad bad bad Dub version of ‘Biggest Fan’ below. (Done by the great, Gregory Morris) Bless up!

Get To Know [Ep.7]: iotosh

Wah gwaan? *wipes away dust* I had to take a little break from the series so that I could get my school life in order. This is the part of the semester where you start to question your life choices, my fellow university students know the struggles. I honestly felt lost in the world for a day or two but after spending some time with myself and nature, I can safely say that I’m back in the blogging groove now. So, more episodes coming well rapid!

Now to our guest this week. I don’t quite remember how I came across his Soundcloud page but I’m glad that I did. If you want a serving of witty and thought provoking lyrics with a side of head bopping instrumentals, just link iotosh. Speaking of head bopping instrumentals, after hearing ‘foundation.’ by Runkus (one of my fav songs of all time…..yes all time) I just had to link up with io because he is just brilliant.

Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first five  selections. Let’s see what you got.

  1. Crossfire/So Into You – Needle Paw
  2. U Got Me – Kyraxx
  3. Mantra – Earl Sweatshirt
  4. Right Time – Mighty Diamonds
  5. FEAR – Kendrick Lamar

Name one album that you’ll probably never stop listening to and why?

iotosh: That’s a hard one for me to answer but I’d have to go with Welcome To Jamrock by Damian Marley because it heavily influenced my music and I can listen it right through so many years later and still enjoy it like the first time I listened.

How did you get into music production?

My mom had bought me a keyboard when I was like 6 or 7 and it allowed you to make short songs using 2 layers. So, I’d record a drum layer then other instruments layer over it. When I was in 2nd form, I found out about FL (Fruity Loops) Studio from some schoolmates. That’s around the time I started listening to music heavily, especially Hip-Hop. Back then, I was more interested in the beat than the lyrics and I’d always wonder how producers would chop samples and all of that. That’s when I started producing, but it all goes back to me making short songs on a keyboard.

Now we can get into the instruments you play. I know about bass guitar. You still play keyboard?

Just a little bit. Mostly when I’m recording MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) score/notes while making a beat. So if I mess up, I can just do it over but I’ve been practicing. I hope to become way better at it soon. I’m still learning guitar as well. A goal of mine is to be able to play everything.

I guess most people would know you as a producer but you have released your own songs as well, When you got into making your own songs?

I would write short songs to the tunes I’d make on the keyboard but I wasn’t serious about it and kinda stopped. I started to take it seriously when I met Kyraxx at boarding school in 2014. He was writing songs and I would produce the beats for them. It was inspiring for me and I figured I should try take it serious and see what I can really do. So, I started producing beats for myself then I’d write and record over them.

One of my favourite tracks from you is definitely ‘foundation.’ by Runkus. Could you give me a simple breakdown of the recording process for that song?

I wasn’t there for the recording session, so I’m not exactly sure what Runkus did when he recorded it. He sent me the vocals and then I added more details to the instrumental according to his lyrics. That’s how the beat changes in the second and third verses came about.

Listen to ‘foundation’ below:

For me, it was after a staging of New Wave (@thenewwaveja) where there was a certain buzz around your name. You felt that same vibe?

New Wave certainly gave me some buzz because it was one of the first times I showed my face and my music somewhere other than Soundcloud (laughs) Only people from St. Elizabeth and Mandeville really knew I made music because I went to Munro and Kyraxx stayed in Mandeville but New Wave brought more Kingston people to my sounds.

In closing, is there any message you would like to leave with the people?

Big up everybody, just live loving. Don’t worry, new things ah forward very soon. 

Give thanks for reading. Listen to more sounds from iotosh on Soundcloud:

  

Butterfly Wings (Short Story)

Butterfly Wings

By: Oshane Johnson

 

 

 

For Sabrina

 

 

She wears tall sleeves over her tattoos of dragons, ladies in cycles of plunge pools and words that run concurrent with infinity. Laying on her back is the image of a butterfly that had grown larger wings since she had been fifteen. She was now twenty-three.

The tattoo artist couldn’t make the body of the butterfly, stuck between its own wings, grow as she did. The wings were much easier to manipulate with his needle of dies and ink. And at twenty-three she still smiled at the sight of her butterfly.

She smiled a smile crescent in shape. It was a grin with a grimace. Her father said she had pain behind her eyes. They were wells dug deep enough to relieve the earth of dark sap. They were much like her mother’s eyes in that way. Much like her father’s in colour and placement away from each other. Her nose was also her father’s but her chin was her own. Her back was also hers to do as she did as well as being her father’s, broad, and her mother’s in shape and her grandparents and their grandparents in texture.

Her mother had died with her eyes wide shut, grey and vacant. She, her mother, was stuck at a distance sitting on a chair her daughter wheeled to the veranda at six o’clock in the evening, on one of her visits to the home. Her mother had enjoyed the sun setting against the hills at a period of her life when her eyes were still full. When they were still full of christenings in spring, baptisms and weddings before the winds fell the ruffling leaves in autumn.

She, the woman’s daughter, took a lighter from the corners of her arm as any magician or specialists in apparition would. She fished it from thin air along with a carton of cigarettes that she had grown to comically refer to as fags. It was an expression she learnt from the pages littered by her giants that were old, decrepit, and fragile English men and women deemed authors.

She, her mother’s daughter, sat under the roof built by bricks slabbed by her grandfather when he was a stone worker and puffed smoke convincing herself that her mother was fine with the wings she had spread. She imagined her mother’s dreams in the trees on the distant hills complaining of the heat, wiping the sweat from her forehead as her daughter wiped the sweat from her eyes that she had convinced herself was sweat before taking another puff of her cigarette. The sweat stung the corners of her eyes before falling the length of her face.

She, her mother’s daughter laid on a bed between four pale walls with a window behind a drawn curtain and sunlight at the corners of the curtain that were above the air conditioning unit, that rattled, with an infant on her chest that she had chosen to give his father’s name. This place she called home.

His hair was his father’s. She imagined her boy’s wedding as she did her mother’s time spent in trees from the veranda. She saw her boy walking down an aisle to a woman in white with a pale face tucked under a white vail. She heard his “I love you” from the congregation said in the way she said it when he laid on her chest causing an ache in her breast as she stared at the top of his head.

For no reason that she could think of she imagined herself with a scar along her jaw. It was one of those blade injuries she saw make those men in the cartoons and movies she watched when she was a girl. Those men that lived there lives at sea and in taverns and any other dark place of dark corners far removed from the social graces of a day’s sunlight.

It was the summer after she knew her mother could no longer dream of the trees in the distance from her veranda. Her mother’s procession was a small one. It was one of black and white gowns, the words of a pastor, car engines that murmured in coming and going and dry eyes that had already done their weeping ever since she had been diagnosed with the Alzheimer’s.

She, her mother’s daughter fell again that summer at work. Her tongue had rolled to that space in her throat, her eyes to that space in her head, her arms were pressed to her sides again and the bones behind her butterfly cricked with every ticking twitch. She awoke to strange faces asking her about her food intake and her stress level while she thought about her son then her mother’s hugs.

Two days after she had fallen she sat in the mirror, as she always did, thinking about killing herself. She thought of it hurting less than the spasms in her butterfly before thinking of her mother’s hugs gain and eyes, before they were dead. She thought of buying another gun and hiding it in one of her drawers again. She thought of this time her mother not being able to find it. There would be no hugs this time, no weeping for a corpse that was still as colourful as a bright morning covered in dew and no one would be called anyone’s “big butterfly”. She thought of her wings growing pale as she did.

A loud shrill sound broke her contemplation upon flowers with dew on them. She found herself in the mirror with more painful sweat falling from her eyes. Her son was crying. She made her way to the bedside before taking him up and laying him on her chest. She laid there staring at his head.

Get To Know [Ep.6]: The Grei Show

“You can’t spell bussweh without US & WE so let us all bussweh”

– Me

This quote was definitely inspired by our guest this week.

What initiated your choice to get into music production?

Grei Show: People at my school were passing around the installation file for FL (Fruity Loops) Studios 5 or 7, that’s a production software that can record vocal tracks and make beats. So, I thought I’d try it since my friend who was in university at the time had it on his computer and it was lit to me. I haven’t stopped using it since then.

Name one album that you’ll probably never stop listening to and why.

That’s really hard but I’m gonna go with the album that I’m working on right now. In 30 years, I’m going to listen to it to remember these days and how I was thinking. The future is the past. It will be like reading old tweets but better.

Most people know you as a producer but you have released singles and an EP as a recording artiste thus far. What made you choose to go into that direction and did you have any hesitation with releasing your own songs?

I have so many songs, I’m always making songs. In the 9th grade, me and some of my friends wanted to start a rock band and that’s the first time I remember kinda writing a song, my Dad made fun of it (laughs) but I’ve been a rockstar since then. People used to always call me an artiste even when I used to only make beats because I was so fresh. Sometimes I would even join in the freestyle sessions that I usually orchestrated. It’s hard to release songs for myself because I’m still insecure about my mix but I have a strong team working on me with this project so I’m actually eager this time around. 

Put your playlist on shuffle and give me the first five selections. Let’s see what you got.

  1. Kione Zaire – Dancehall Just Get Nice (UNRELEASED)
  2. Eugy & Mr. Eazi – Dance For Me
  3. The Grei Show – Bed Time on the Beach
  4. The Grei Show feat. Blvk H3ro – Surrounded (UNRELEASED)
  5. Nutty O – Buggati

 

Cool cool. I’m looking forward to the upcoming project. What’s the story behind the name, The Grei Show? At first, I actually thought it was the name of a band. 

(laughs) Yeah, a lot of people think I’m a band but I’m just one man with a plan. At first, I used to go by Jusy Grei in High School and I got that name from MSN Messenger. We were always trying to come up with cool user names and one time my avi was an eye and I changed my username to Grey on some emo shit, then I changed the spelling to match the eye in my avi. People think I derived it from my real name but I realized that that was a thing later on.

The “Show” came in my Twitter days when I found out a lot of musicians went by the name “Grei” so I had to switch it up and people used to say I tweet like a show so I just worked with it. I started to take music a bit more seriously at that time and made a couple beat tapes under “The Grei Show” name.

One of my favourite tracks from you is definitely ‘Kush & Schweppes’ by Blvk H3ro. Give me some insight into the recording process of that song?

Kush & Schweppes is the first complete song Blvk H3ro and I&I created together, this was from even before the locs. The basic idea for the beat was fusing Reggae & Trap. We did this in 2012/2013 but we didn’t release it until 2016. We did many recordings, many mixes and many versions of the beat. There is even one on my tumblr somewhere.

Listen to ‘Kush & Schweppes’ here:

In closing, what message would you like to leave with the people?

We are the people and we know what’s up, even though see through your eyes. We have our own eyes.

That’s where we end our chat with ace producer, The Grei Show. Interesting chat lol.  Give thanks for reading. Check out more sounds from Grei on Soundcloud:

LOVE/LUST/RED (Short Story)

Today, we have a short story submission by a young Jamaican writer. Let me know what  you think.

LOVE/LUST/RED

By: Oshane Johnson

 

I read a story today of a woman that was murdered by a cutlass being wielded by a hand. It was the hand of an arm that was attached to a shoulder. A shoulder made hard and strong from years of turning dirt under the cool early morning sun. Under morning lights as dark as night till the mid-day rays would crack his back like the tip of a whip. The shoulder was connected to a chest with a beating heart that pumped hot red blood along arteries and skipped at the mention of the woman’s name.

Above his chest was a neck that had a throat that swallowed more than his fill of saliva the first time his eyes ever saw the woman when she was still a girl sauntering about the street. Her hands were wrapped around the arms of other girls in school uniforms that had skirts with breadths unflattering to their figure and length to their ankles. He said her smile made her the woman in the red dress while the rest wore plain black gowns.

His eyes were on a face that had a nose that kept the girl’s scent. Below his nose was a mouth that had whispered on a night as bright as a day the words “I love you” in the shape of a nervous, drunken, slur. Below it all were his shaking legs that fell to their knees after overhearing what his mouth had said. His brain that had very little to say reminded him of the secret that he had kept in his pockets for days leading up to this night. His hand fetched it from his right pocket. It was a box. A small, red, suede box with a diamond ring his sister had chosen the day she followed him to nearly every jewelry store before choosing one. Before choosing the right one.

His fingers were petrified as they took hers in hand and began to slide the ring along hers. The ring that said more than whatever clever thing his brain could ever tell his mouth to say. As his fingers met hers pushing the ring up her slender narrow thing, her digits became excitable. It was as if they were convulsing. “You nervous?” The question sounded as faded and distinct as the final echo after a barrage of echoes bouncing off the face of a mountain range. It was the question her brain asked her mind as simultaneously as her eyes that were above her nose that thought the night smelled a bit unsettling due to the blossoming red poinsettias, followed his smile from the curl at the corner of his mouth, down his neck, down his arms, down his hands that held her fingers so delicately as if he was already an uxorious husband on bent knee coaxing the ring up her flailing fingers.     Her fingers had hands with moist palms and an arm connected to a chest with ample breasts. Beneath her breasts was a heart that also pumped hot red blood along arteries that was now pounding hard enough for her ears to hear. About their heads were the sounds the night. The girl’s heart’s concerto clanged against the night’s nocturnes which was conducted by anxiety, crickets and a plane plying through stars above their heads. In the small distance that separated both their eyes floated the picture of her dissonance. The picture that she was convinced was nothing more than a mirage.

It was the happy unreal thing that the girl’s mother had prophesied would come to pass and come again. The girl’s eyes remembered watching the soap on her arms being washed away by water being rung from a rag. The water from the rag was held by her mother’s hands. It wasn’t until the girl’s hands were big enough that they started washing themselves. They also washed her own face that was called “beautiful” everyday by her mother’s a well as from the mouths of passersby. The girl’s legs could now manage the strain of carrying the thighs, hips and bosoms of a woman rhythmically to the patting of clicking heels that drew the attention lustful gazes. Her ears started receiving the comments “you’re beautiful” and “you’re so pretty” so much that her ears would sometimes forget to send the rhetoric along to the brain.

This was until the day her ears overheard the words from lips that had a handsome face. Below the handsome face was a muscular neck. Below the neck was a chest with a heart that she heard throbbing after eavesdropping with her ear pressed to his chest during a long hug as she was fully immersed in his strong arms. They were the arms of a chest of broad shoulders. This impressive figure stood on legs that never wavered once when the words were said from lips to her ears that made her lungs forget to breath.

For once in the woman’s life her heart spoke for her. The red thing that pumped blood had grown a mouth with a tongue and a brain for itself that was capable of saying “Mommy I love him.” Her heart screamed it for all ears of passersby to hear. The mouths of the overhearing herd congratulated, murmured or snickered but from where the girl’s feet stood, smelted into an island made of gold her voice could honestly and wholeheartedly curse back “I do not care!”

One day as a consequence of fast paste right before the lefts the mother’s feet found the doorway of her modest home much earlier than her usual hours of returning from work. Her hand that developed a tremor as soon as it wrapped around the knob twisted and pushed the door open. With the thud of the door the familiar sounds of her homes creaking roof and dripping pipes came flooding into her ear. With more right before lefts her feet ventured toward the kitchen while her eyes scanned through the utility bills her hands had fished from her hand bag. Her ears realized however that the sounds of normalcy coming from her house was being displaced by an unfamiliar sound. It was the sound of stifled laughter erupting from the bowels of a man that had caused her daughter’s bowels to no longer be dormant either. They both erupted together while their asses were affixed to chairs in the dining room.

Mother’s heart hugged itself and gave her that warm feeling that fought off the chilling breeze that her mind had let into the pit of her stomach. She saw the smile on her daughter’s face match the one equally as warm and bold as the handsome stranger that sat adjacent to her “beautiful” daughter. After dinner the handsome faced man that had reactivated her daughter’s bowels left with well wishes on his lips and her daughter’s lipstick on his neck.

After dinner the girl’s eyes streamed tears that the mother had rewritten as blood in a dream that very night after the chilling feeling in her stomach had overturned her heart’s warmth. The decision was already made. Her “beautiful” daughter will leave that man and marry another man that would never get her bowels to erupt as it did or legs would be as unwavering as his was. But this man would have a strong back that would support her mother’s worn bones that ached all the more when it was cold.

The beautiful girl’s obligation to her mother’s wishes, the man on his knees before her and the image of a man her mouth had convinced her eyes through a mirror resembled a life that would not be suitable was reason for her fingers convulsing at the thought of wearing the ring. Eventually the girl’s fidgeting fingers calmed to a slight tremor. They settled enough for her legs to put slow left before rights on an overcast day down a long carpet so her mouth could say “I do” and her mother’s lips would kiss her forehead.

But the beautiful girl’s heart could not handle the strain of immovable unhappiness. She met the boy that was now a man again and again under the shade of banana tree leaves on her husband’s grung that was a five-minute walk from the house and one minute run to consume each other wholly like the mad ants did the overhanging branches of the Star Apple and Guinep trees. This lasted until both their hearts had swollen with courage. Enough courage that the woman’s voice could break loudly and wildly under the man’s thrusts in hers as well as her husband’s bed.

One day the beautiful girl’s husband left before rights lead him to his home’s door much earlier than his usual return. His ears were then assaulted by the gasping breaths of tiresome bodies working to appease each other as if they were each other’s deities. His eyes then justified the noises as his arms flung the door open. From her back the woman saw in her husband’s eyes something that only God was privy to. And that was the time and place of her death. She and her concubine stole into God’s secrets for only a minute. All three hearts stopped before the arm of her husband swung the cutlass painting the inner walls of his bedroom and bed sheets red.

The man’s arms overcome with grief and hate dug holes beneath the shade of the house and buried the two non-pulsating things that he cleaved from their chests leaving the carcasses behind on the stained bed. His hands then tied a knot in a thick rope that he hung above where he buried the hearts that no longer housed warm red blood. His neck broke in the noose, his strong arms fell to his side and feet dangled in the wind above the dead things he sewed next to his home.

The journalist writing the article asked a question at the end that stumps me still. It goes “Was it the cutlass, the arm or the man’s heart that painted his bedroom’s inner walls red that day?”