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Catch a Fire: How Reggae and Dancehall Scorched the US. Part Three: The late ’90s to today

1996 – Shaggy sold platinum and received a Grammy Award for Boombastic.1996 – The Fugees released the R&B/Hip-Hop/Reggae infused album, The Score, with hits including a cover of Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly” and Wyclef’s cover of Bob Marley’s “No Woman Nuh Cry.” The album went on to sell more than 17 million copies.1996 – The melody for King Yellowman’s song was replicated in Tupac’s “Hit ‘Em Up” (“Grab your glocks if you see Tupac, call the cops if you see Tupac”) – a song hitting back at Junior Mafia’s “Player’s Anthem.”1996 – The alleged romantic couple, Jamaican deejay Spragga Benz and rapper, Foxy Brown collaborated for the song “Oh Yeah” off the Broken Silence album.“Oh Yeah” video”:1997 – Diana King’s second album Think Like a Girl entered the Billboard Top Reggae Albums chart at Number One. King also scored another well-received hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot Dance Club Play with her cover version of the song “I Say a Little Prayer” (originally recorded by Dionne Warwick in 1967), featured on the soundtrack to the film My Best Friend’s Wedding. That year, King was also featured on the soundtrack to the documentary When We Were Kings, where she performed a duet of the same title with Brian McKnight.1997 – Born Jamericans’ “Yardcore” climbed to the No. 8 spot on the US Hot Rap Singles chart.1997 – The hit track “All About the Benjamins (remix)” featuring Lil’ Kim and Notorious B.I.G. on the Puff Daddy album No Way Out, contained Lil’ Kim’s infamous deejay lines (“Uhh, uhh, what the bloodclaawt? Wanna bumble wit the Bee, huhh?”) much to the dismay of many austere West Indian parents.1997 – Super Cat was featured on the Number One hit single “Fly” by Sugar Ray.1997 – Rapper Warren G covered “I Shot the Sheriff” for his Take a Look over Your Shoulder (Reality) album. The track peaked at Number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100.1997 – Beenie Man released what was to be his first international hit “Who Am I.” After which, the single quickly went Gold. Needless to say, a new Reggae superstar was born.1997 – Bounty Killer, one of Jamaica’s most inexhaustible deejays, released “Hip Hopera” featuring the Fugees on his album I. The track peaked at No. 81 on the Hot 100 charts. Bounty Killer and Fugees – “Hip Hopera”:1998 – Though Barrington Levy had been a chart-topper on the Jamaican and UK scene as early as the 1970s, Levy finally got his minor US breakthrough when he released Living Dangerously, which included a dynamic collaboration with Bounty Killer.1998 – In 1998, Diana King joined Celine Dion and Brownstone on stage to perform their hit “Treat Her Like a Lady” at the Essence Awards. 1998 – Black Star (Mos Def and Talib Kweli) released the track “Definition.” Not only is the track a sample of King Yellowman’s 1982 single, “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” (which was a sample of an Alton Ellis 1967 track), but Mos Def’s cry of “Laaaawd have ‘is mercy! Follow mi now” and subsequent style in the song, echoes Super Cat’s rap cadence.1998 – “Send My Love” by Born Jamericans peaked at No. 18 on the US Hot Rap Singles chart.“Send My Love” video:A Born Jamericans’ Edley Shine paints a picture for AllHipHop.com Alternatives of how difficult it was to conquer mainstream US and Jamaica at the simultaneously. Click Here for a past AllHipHop interview with Notch of Born Jamericans.AllHipHop.com Altermatives: At that time were you perceived as being “odd” because you were rapping yet using Jamaican patois in your music?Edley Shine: I guess so. There was a big “no twanging” thing going in Jamaica at the time, so I guess people might have had a bias against my approach to deejaying, but now it’s a common thing in dancehall to use rapping and American slang in your chune. Give props to Mad Lion, Super Cat, Daddy Freddie, KRS-ONE, Shinehead & Shabba for paving the way to making Hip-Hop Dancehall accepted in the mainstream!AHHA: Did you break into mainstream America immediately?ES: No our first tour was with Shabba Ranks on the Strictly Dancehall Tour ‘bout 1994 I think. It was us and artists straight outta Jamaica like [Mad] Cobra, Ghost & Culture & Patra. I think that exposed us to a mainstream audience along wit “Boom-Shak-Attack” getting heavy TV and radio play.AHHA: How difficult was it to be accepted by Jamaicans and those in the Jamaican music industry?ES: I always feel like Jamaica never gave us a chance – they just weren’t having it. We checked mad producers in Jamaica when we first got our deal. The only producer who showed love was Computer Paul. Everybody else was worried about getting to our budget from the label. Yard was the first place we went when we got our deal and it hurt me to see how most doors was close to us until “Boom-Shak-Attack” blew up then we was everybody yute dem.AHHA: Do you think if you were doing it now, instead of then, it would have been easier?ES: Now it would be harder because everybody seen the formula now. I see it in a lot of the artists that have that foreign-yard-hybrid going on, but they will never mention Born Jamericans. I guess that’s life, but God know who set it.AHHA: Who were some of your Reggae and Dancehall musical influences?ES: My influences musically were my family growing up around Freddy Dread and Emperor sound (Big Up Harbor View), that made me wanna deejay. As far as music business, I guess all Hip-Hop and Reggae from 80-90s. I use to buy everybody tape every Tuesday. Anybody that know me know I had everyone’s album; I just soak myself in music all day, everyday!AHHA: What kind of impact do you think you had on the musical landscape?ES: Well I just found out “Boom-Shak-Attack” will be in a videogame Saints Row 2, and I just came off tour. Sometimes I feel like I fell short of my goal to impact music, but when I go out people never hesitate to tell me they want back Born Jamericans. But it will take someone to come back to the Garrison to make it happen. I’m here, never leaving it. Lewisdale all day!”AHHA: But do you sometimes think the contributions of Born Jamericans have been overlooked by today’s artists?ES: Very much so. I’m challenging people to get Kids From Foreign and Yardcore on iTunes and weigh what we did in ’93-’98 to all the Dancehall, Reggae/Hip-Hop/Pop stuff you hear today and see if we were overlooked. We never went Gold unless the label lying to me. Our legacy was shortchanged by people I loved like brothers and sisters!AHHA: What does the name Born Jamericans mean?ES: A Born Jamerican is a yute born in America to Jamaican parents who never forgot their heritage. Even with all the advantages of growing up in America, they still acknowledge the family they have down inna the garrison, the gully and the trenches whether they studying to be a doctor, lawyer whatever. They maintain their essence and keep both cultures alive for generations to come.”AHHA: Since the group split, what are you up to these days?ES: I just drop the Foreign Finest Street Mix: Volume 1. It’s a compilation of my favorite chunes I made in the last ten years, plus a lot of fresh bangers and it’s a good price!1998 – Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was unquestionably one of the greatest soul albums, which seamlessly fused Hip-Hop and Reggae to date. Jamaican deejay Shelly Thunder was featured on the song “Forgive them Father” spitting heavy dancehall lyrics over the mellow track. That year, Hill won five Grammy Awards for Miseducation.Lauryn Hill tribute to Bob Marley:1999 – Sean Paul Henriques, better known as Sean Paul started to attract a US audience when he and Mr. Vegas worked on the song “Top Shotter,” which was featured in the Hype Williams directed film, Belly. Also that year, Sean Paul emerged in the top ten on the Billboard Rap chart with the single “Hot Gal Today,” further bolstering his international status.1999 – Lauryn Hill was featured on the Bob Marley track “Turn Your Lights Down Low” from the Bob Marley tribute album Chant Down Babylon.2000sA new day had dawned in music. As the millennium set in, it became the norm for Dancehall/Reggae acts to collaborate with rap artists and exchange styles and ideas. At times, the musical marriage was so perfect it became increasingly difficult to place the songs in any one genre. New strides were made among Beenie Man feat. Janet Jackson, Sean Paul and Beyonce, Elephant Man feat. Twista, No Doubt feat. Lady Saw and more recently, Shaggy feat. Akon.Alicia Keys feat. Junior Reid, Mariah Carey feat. Damian Marley, Mavado feat. Jay-Z, not to mention Lil Wayne straight up deejaying on the track “The Only Reason” featuring T Streetz and Sizzla Kalonji.2000 – Barrington Levy appeared on rapper, Shyne’s debut single, “Bad Boyz.”2000 – Beenie Man’s album, Art and Life was released. The album featured the hit “Girls Dem Suga” featuring R&B singer Mya. “Girls Dem Sugar” featuring Mya:2000 – Bob Marley was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. 2000 – Diana King entered into negotiations with Madonna’s Maverick Records label.2000 – Once a singer for the group Black Uhuru in the late 1980s, Junior Reid’s vocals have been sampled in the Hip-Hop scene, as early as Wu-Tang-Clan’s “One Blood Under W” from the album, The W.2001 – Shaggy’s Hotshot was the best-selling album that year, grossing over 13 million albums worldwide and topped the charts in the US, UK, Germany and Australia simultaneously. The album was seven times platinum certified in Canada and six times platinum in the US. With the help of two phenomenal singles, “It Wasn’t Me” and “Angel,” which featured Big Yard protégés Rik Rok and Rayvon, respectively. Hotshot surged to the top of the charts. Shaggy remains Jamaica’s only living Diamond-plus selling artist.2001 – Supercat collaborated with India.Arie on her hit song “Video.”2001 – Beenie Man received a Grammy award for Best Reggae Album, Art and Life.2001 – “I’m Serious” by T.I. featuring Beenie Man was released.2001 – No Doubt’s heavily dancehall-influenced track, “Hey Baby” (from the album Rock Steady – a steady fusion of Reggae and Rock) featuring Bounty Killer landed in the No. 5 position on the US Hot 100 chart.2002 – Sean Paul released his second album, Dutty Rock. The album, which featured the hit singles “Gimme the Light” and the Billboard Hot 100 topper, “Get Busy,” eventually sold over six million copies worldwide.2003 – The soundtrack, The Harder They Come was ranked No. 119 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.2003 – Sean Paul became a major force behind Beyoncé’s single, “Baby Boy” and Blu Cantrell’s “Breathe” – both of which topped the charts that year.2003 – Keith Richards (founding member of the Rolling Stones) recorded a rendition of “Pressure Drop” with Toots and the Maytals, (though it was released in December 2007).2003 – Supercat collaborated with Jadakiss and The Neptunes on “The Don Of Dons.”  Also in that year he collaborated with 112 for their song “Na, Na, Na.” Supercat’s musical influence remains evident in the styles of international reggae and dancehall stars Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Collie Buddz, Sean Paul, among others.2003 – Sean Paul and Sasha released the single “I’m Still in Love with You,” a sample of Alton Ellis’ 1960s hit of the same name.Alton Ellis featuring Hortense Ellis (his sister) “I’m Still In Love with You”:2003 – Elephant Man’s international single, “Pon De River, Pon de Bank” from the album, Good 2 Go, landed at the No. 19 spot on the US R&B/Hip-Hop chart.2004 – Jimmy Cliff’s song, “The Harder They Come” was ranked No. 341 on Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” The song which was the entrance music for heavyweight boxer Samuel Peter, has been covered by artists including, Jerry Garcia, Keith Richards, Willie Nelson, Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, the Waco Brothers, Madness, Rancid and Dubnium.2004 – Beenie Man’s single, “Dude” featuring rapper Shawna and dancehall artist, Miss Ting helped cement him as a legendary figure in mainstream dancehall – his career now spanning over 20 years with consistent hits.2004 – Elephant Man landed an international contract with Puma for using his single “All Out” for their Olympics commercial campaign.2004 – Toots and the Maytals’ song, “Pressure Drop” appeared on the K-Jah West radio station in the video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.2004 – Sean Paul wins the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album for Dutty Rock. Also, Sean became the first Dancehall act to be nominated for a non-reggae category – Best Male Rap Solo Performance and Best New Artist.2004 – Elephant Man’s “Jook Gal (Head Gawn Remix)” featuring Twista, YoungBloodz and Kiprich from the Good 2 Go album, peaked at No. 20 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop chart.2004 – Though he had amassed a few solo hits on the local Jamaican scene, Cham finally came to the international fore when he released “Ghetto Story” which held the no. 15 spot on the US R&B chart. The song was later re-released featuring R&B singer, Alicia Keys.2005 – Ini Kamoze’s the song “World a Music” was sampled by Damian Marley’s international hit, “Welcome to Jamrock.”2005 – Lil’ Kim released a sample of Damian Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock” which was called “Lighters Up (Welcome To Brooklyn)” from her album The Naked Truth.2005 – Elephant Man signs to P. Diddy’s Bad Boy Label.2005 – Sean Paul wins the Billboard Music Award for Top Selling Reggae Album of the Year The Trinity. The album features a number of hits including: “We Be Burnin,’” “Temperature” and “Give It up to Me” (the remix featuring Keyshia Cole appeared on the Step Up film soundtrack).2006 – The City of New York renamed a section of Church Avenue to East 98th Street in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, “Bob Marley Boulevard.”2006 – Diana King’s third album, Respect, became available to the US market (was previously only released in Japan) and its first single “Summer Breezin’” featuring Bounty Killer released.2006 – Junior Reid collaborated with former G-Unit rapper, The Game, on the song “It’s Okay (One Blood),” which also samples Reid’s 1990 single “One Blood.”2006 – Sean Paul wins Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist at the American Music Awards. Also during that year “Temperature” was voted Hot 100 single of the year at the Billboard Music Awards.2006 – Beenie Man’s “Girls” featuring Akon from the album Undisputed was released.2007 – Chaka Demus & Pliers performed “Murder She Wrote” with Alicia Keys at the American Music Awards.2007 – Junior Reid and Cham appeared on the Blackout remix of Mims’ “This Is Why I’m Hot” from Mims’ album M.I.M.S. (Music Is My Savior), effectively integrating Jamaican patois with the culture of New York City.2007 – Reggae crooner Sean Kingston stood out with his chart topper, “Beautiful Girls,” which was a sample of Ben E. King’s 1961 hit, “Stand By Me.” The song maintained it No. 1 status on the US Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks. Simultaneously, Sean gained popularity with Mims’ “Like This (remix)” also featuring She Dirty, Red Cafe, & N.O.R.E.2007 – Kat DeLuna’s “Whine Up” featuring Elephant Man on the album 9 Lives peaked at No. 29 on the US Hot 100 chart. 2007 – Actor Will Smith sang a snippet of Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” in the movie I Am Legend.2008 – British singer, Estelle, released her sophomore album, Shine, which features her hit single “American Boy” (with Kanye West) and the Reggae-laced tracks “Come Over,” “Magnificent” featuring Kardinal Official, “No Substitute Love” (a reggae sample of George Michael’s “Faith”), among others. Estelle has been hailed by Wyclef Jean, who she also worked with on the album, as another Lauryn Hill.Recollecting the past is no easy feat, but it’s easier to see the irony in it. It’s a brief, yet, a long way from the untackled possibilities of the 1960s when Reggae first made its entrance…to the beautifully over-sampled modern era of Reggae-Dub-Dancehall-Rap music – a time and place in music that undiluted Reggae and Dancehall undoubtedly helped to create, yet, still struggle when they attempt to capture a large mainstream audience.Click Here For Part OneClick Here For Part Two

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