Sat | Oct 31, 2020

Producer Baby G speaks lockdown, loss and liberty

Published:Thursday | September 24, 2020 | 12:11 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer

Jamaican dancehall producer Trevor ‘Baby G’ James, while not pointing fingers or bashing anyone, has expressed concern that the pandemic has caused the death of persons in the music business, and in other spheres, “who have so much history to impart”. He shared with The Gleaner that the initial lockdown should have lasted longer, and reasoned that the Jamaican spirit of resilience would have kicked in and the country would quite likely have been in a better position now.

“Who is going to tell us our history when the old people dem dead and gone?” he asked earnestly. “We have taken a hit in the music industry, and we are mourning the deaths of persons who made sterling contributions and still had so much more to give. Barry O’Hare was in the prime of his life, and that loss cannot be measured. Him [Prime Minister Andrew Holness] shouldn’t open the borders when he did. That was a wrong move, but I have to say that he is doing a fair job, he’s trying to make the best of the situation,” the third son of renowned producer King Jammys said.

James had a word of caution for the political directorate, however. “Dem haffi know that not because of politics and election the country must open up and then lock down and then open up again. These actions have a boomerang effect and will come back at dem.”

His take on the lockdown runs contrary to what has been expressed by some other persons in the music industry, who had long been calling for things to open up because their livelihoods were at stake. The Yard Vybz Entertainment CEO admitted that his business, like many others, has taken a COVID-19 hit, but explained that his Rastafarian beliefs have prepared him for this tribulation. “As a Rastaman who has been reading about this thing years ago – not necessarily COVID – I am mentally prepared. But the pandemic has definitely put a damper on my organisation because we do music production, management, and really just showcase the musicians and artistes. What this means is that we have to find a way to fit in with the new normal,” was James’ assessment.

He prefers to view the transition in practical terms, similar to what took place when the music moved from the use of 45 records to where it is now with downloads. “Time is difficult and we have to learn how to adjust and make the best of the situation. Live events [are] not possible right now, so we just have to work with online, just like how we no longer use CD and albums, because streaming is where it’s at. And we have to remember that, just like corona, the music doesn’t need a visa, and music doesn’t recognise borders. The music still enjoys its freedom,” the astute producer said.

James has been consistently working throughout the lockdown and has produced a number of songs, both for his own label and for various artistes. “I just released a song for an artiste named Labah from Hannah Town and also produced a single with Sample King, Bounty Killer and Wayne Marshall, but that’s not for my label. It has a great message, and the entire team is pleased with the production. It’s called Wey U Want Wi Fi Do, and I can’t wait to see the response from the public. We have the people’s ears now, so what better time to release new music?” he queried.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com