Jamaican Reggae is dying.

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18 Karat Reggae Gold 2021 : ONENESS
18 Karat Reggae Gold 2021 : ONENESS

Veteran reggae producer, Willie Lindo, is saying what 18 Karat Reggae has been saying for a long time, foreign reggae is outdoing Jamaican reggae. The only difference is Willie Lindo did not discuss the elephant in the room, the way 18 Karat Reggae did.

“I have a little Oxford Dictionary that says ‘Rasta is a member of a Jamaican sect…’ while reggae is a ‘West Indian style of music’ — not Jamaican. But a phase out system a gwaan. I understand that there is a global financial crunch, but Jamaican acts and musicians are getting fewer and fewer shows compared to their non-Jamaican counterparts. Even if the foreign acts come to Jamaica to put on a show, they don’t want local musicians to work with,” Willie Lindo said.

“Just like what dem a do with Japan Splash, a mostly Japanese artistes on it, no Jamaican nuh deh pon it. Maybe they might carry a one man now and then. But even most of the major international reggae shows have very few Jamaican acts and, to the best of my knowledge, some artistes are paying to go on some show. And they are not being treated nice,” he continued.

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Lindo, who migrated to the United States in the 1980s, said the ‘plot’ also plays out on the Billboard reggae chart.

“Look at the reggae charts, you see who inna the top? A pure foreign people. So tell me, one Jamaican can’t make one reggae song that can go to the top of the charts?” he asked.

According to sales tracker Soundscan, American bands Rebelution and SOJA have the best-selling reggae albums on Billboard. British singer Joss Stone and Hawaiian band Iration are also up in the top ranks.

The sole Jamaicans among this group are Bob Marley and Grammy-nominated Jah Cure. The number one album, Anthems, is by American band Christafari.

“This sends a message to the Jamaican artistes and musicians like they’re not doing something right. Like they must reshuffle dem deck and come again. So you find the youths doing crossover reggae tracks to get noticed. So we leave our roots and doing other stuff, then you have international acts like Matisyahu doing the straight, hardcore reggae,” he said.

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The producer of songs like Dennis Brown’s Love Has Found Its Way and Maxi Priest’s Wild World, Lindo said if Jamaican acts get proper promotion they will achieve lofty heights.

“Give Jah Cure and Chronixx the right promotion and you see what happens. Just like what Chris Blackwell did with Bob Marley,” he said.

Lindo said the Jamaican Government should register the word reggae as an authentic Jamaican genre.

“Reggae is a powerful music with a message. It has outlived the other genres and we should embrace it and protect it.”



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  1. If the radio DJ keep playing garbage on the radio and throw asidebthe real nice reggae songs what do u expect. The world knows reggae through Bob Marley and the reggae now is not like Bob used to do its the total opposite so foreign artistes are to the notion that we are just a bunch of idiots for not maintaining our reggae so its a easy take over and I as a Jamaican say “why ñot?” We don’t want it but other people do so take it and I wish all u foreign artiste great luck

  2. Well, to be honest to me it seems like the jamaican music industry kind of lost the eye on the ball in change of a quick profit. I mean, in the 90`s music was spewed out with no quality control. When you look at “the golden age” of reggae, what was coming out of Jamaica was innovative music, original and local, infused with elements from popular music genres. When i first heared reggae at the age of 12 in 78`i was blown away! I had never heard anything like it and i had to know more about this style of music, who was the artists, where do they come from etc.. Im not sure if i can say there are so many of todays artists that are really innovative and has that “wow-effect”, alltough I have hopes for some good stuff coming out of the reggae revival movement. When you listen to classics like “heart of the congos” with the congos, or an album like “red” with black uhuru(that was voted best album of the year 1981 regardless of genre in both NME and melody maker), you will hear that those albums are almost creating a genre in themselves, and especially “red” is timeless and sounds fresh even 35years after its release, much thanks to sly&robbies exelent musicianship and production. The same timelessness shows the quality of most Bob Marley albums. How many albums coming out of Jamaica the last 15 or so years is innovative and will still sound fresh after 15 more years? It seems that a lack of quality control for quick cash has sawn off the branch that Jamaican reggae was sitting on. For a lover of original roots reggae I must say that for my part some of the greatest music coming out in the last years, is groundation with their jazz influencd roots reggae. That is a matter of personal taste of course, but I dont think anyone can argue about the quality and sincerity those american dudes has put into their music. If americans play roots music with more pride and musicianship than jamaicans, then i guess thats the music people will buy. Most people dont buy music to make a statement or to support a certain nations music industry, they buy what they think is great music. And jamaican music has gone from taking the world with storm to go in to obscurity, so I guess ones has to look into the quality of the work that has been done. And to be indignated that someone “stole” jamaican music is kind of unreasonable as we are living in a time where cultural exchange happens rapidly. And jamaican music wasnt created in a vacuum either, the great artists that shaped the genre was influenced from alot of different musical expressions.

  3. Since the likes of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh,the Wailers.The once great reggae music people like myself love,the present generation of what is called music in Jamaica is a disgrace to humanity.Jamaica and Jamaicans inherited a great music by the founding fathers,who worked hard making popular and loved around the world,instead of taking it from where the likes of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh took it by capitalising on it,this foolish generation promoting some shit which is not even deserving of being flushed in my toilet. Too much agression,violence,illicit language,no melody and harmony,only noise.

    usic devilish lyrics is a disgrace to. humanity. Not one of those will get a listening ear from me. Jamaican recieved a music

  4. Reggae is still popular in Jamaica but it is no longer the most popular music. It is no longer the thing that it was in the 1970s . Just like certain forms of rock and roll are longer popular . Things change and that must be excepted. Only those like Koffee , Protege, and Etana who.adapt Reggae to today will have a chance at keeping the music is going. We can’t go back to the 1970s..

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