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fredlockVeteran Roots Artist Fred Locks Says Reggae Needed No Revival

Veteran Roots Reggae artiste Fred Locks has given his take on the state of Dancehall and Reggae music and based on his musings, he is not particularly pleased with the direction in which both genres are being taken.

According to the Black Star Liners artist, although Reggae remains the world’s biggest genre, much of the music has lost focus and as a consequence, the output from younger artists, has been highly superficial. In addition, he said that historically, as people “strayed from the truth” the music became watered down, and, as secularism was promoted as being “more marketable”, Dancehall music emerged.
“Dem give an avenue now fi di people dem weh no really religious or not conscious, or want to spread anything conscious, and now di world accept dat more,” he said in an interview with I Never Knew TV. “Den outa dat dem bring dis ting called Dancehall, which Dancehall was a place weh music play.  Den mi have some bredrin weh term it as ‘Duncehall music.’”
“What I say about that now, is like people weh nuh have much talent coulda create some dance move offa it, dem choose a beat and the dance alone can meck it go … and dem put lyrics to it… some derogatory lyrics to it,” he added.
Fred Locks, whose real name is Stafford Elliot, also took issue with the lumping of Dancehall with Reggae, particularly at the Grammy Awards, contending that the two genres were separate, with Dancehall being, simply, an offshoot of Reggae which has not been treated with the respect it deserves.

“Notice dis now, if a man from Jamaica get nominate fi a Grammy, him don’t haffi have di tempo weh Reggae have and dem put it in a Reggae category.  Suh dem call Jamaican music Reggae unlike America weh yuh have Pop, Hip Hop you know – and you don’t even get uh award inna di crowd or publicly,” he said.

The Reggae Revival Movement, led by Chronixx, Protoje, and others, came in for an implicit swipe from the Girls Like Dirt artist, who contended that the genre needed no revival as it was not dying.  According to him, artists who have been blending Reggae with foreign genres in their bids to “cross-over” were also a cause for concern.

chronixx_protoChronixx, Protoje
“Suh Reggae music tek a dive.  Not that it die, because some people come – mi like dem still – and seh dem come fi revive Reggae like Reggae did a suffer, or was dying, drowning or dem ting, that it need revive,” he argued.
“But I guess it is because some of wi great artiste passed and di one dem weh seh dem a carry it on, dem water it down because dem seh dem haffi do cross-over fi get big market, you know.  But we who stick to it show seh: ‘yow yuh caan get wi inna dah trap deh.  Wi naw bow’”, he said.
Added Fred Locks: “Roots Rock Reggae enuh.  But everyman to dem own order.  A man free, but I don’t think seh sendin di message dem through the regular nowadays music is so strong like when we inna our time was going through what we go through.  Because Reggae music in our time was talking about the oppression of the people… but people stilla suffa.  The fact of the matter is seh it lose its real meaning that it was designed for…”
Similar to concerns raised by Heads High singer Mr Vegas in 2019, Fred also commented on the new phenomenon of persons who have no background in music, creating beats on computers and declaring themselves producers.
“Everybody a meddle inna music.  A man have a laptop and him nuh know nuttn bout music and him meck riddim.  Mi si man a get interview weh day – Duncehall producer enuh, so di man (interviewer) seh: ‘suh di I is a musician?’  An him seh: ‘no enuh, mi just get some ting, some software and put something togedda yuh zimmi’.  An him have some a di biggest name pon di riddim dem,” Fred Locks said.

Even as he rubbished claims being made by the French that France is the epicenter of Reggae, Fred Locks contended that Reggae remains at the pinnacle of the world’s music genres, evidenced by the fact that it has the most festivals in the world.

“There is no Hip Hop festival all over the world; no other genre of music has festivals in every continent.  Reggae music is world music.  Is we bring it to the world…,” he said.

“And France a claim like is dem own it.  Wi a seh, is alright, claim if yuh want, but yuh can’t go gainst di truth, because the facts are there that it is our thing, is we create it, is here it come from, seen.   Even di Duncehall music weh breed outta Reggae and di Afrobeat weh breed outta Reggae, di whole a dem love it,” he added.

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