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Gyptian part of int'l independent project - McKenzie indicates collapse of artificial barriers

Published:Wednesday | September 6, 2017 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small
Clyde McKenzie

On Tuesday night Cru Bar and Kitchen's usual after-work crowd was accompanied by some musicians and celebrities to announce the release of yet another new song called Live Your Life. What separates Live Your Life from other songs which have premiered in the Jamaican space is that it is the result of a multinational effort which may indicate a new approach and attitude to global popular music.

World music singer and songwriter Ms. Bodega spearheaded the project, inviting the skills of two Nigerians, producer Young D and singer MC Galaxy. Also contributing to the project are Israeli-American rapper Neil Bajayo, Canadian-Rwandan artiste Neza and Jamaica's very own dancehall star, Gyptian.

"Bodega and the team, we just say team up - do something we have never done before for the African community," Gyptian told The Gleaner. "Straight African music. Different mix, different vibes," he continued, before breaking off to make rhythmic, deep-chested sounds. "Once the bassline sounds like that, it has something to do with us, because we carry the nyahbinghi and the drum dem inna Jamaica. When they did bring we here, we did still have dah spirit deh."

"We see the many samples of Jamaican music, we see songs that are heavily influenced by Jamaican music. Live Your Life represents that coming together of Africa and Jamaica. This project points to a new trend. What is happening is that the distinctions and the barriers between music forms, they are slowly collapsing. One of the biggest factors triggering that collapse is the Internet. It is making the sound and the experience of people spread," said industry professional Clyde McKenzie, who was invited to speak at the launch event.

"A lot of these barriers were artificial. Mainstream music is being more reflective of the influence of Jamaican/tropical music. We see what is happening with Drake and Rihanna, and then Justin Beiber, Ed Sheeran....," he said. McKenzie believes the appropriate response to this development is recognising that many positive implication could flow from this, but negative ones will occur if we continue ignoring the shifting trends and tastes of the global music industry.