There is no denying that reggae music went underground in Jamaica for a while, but the latest wave of artistes bringing the genre back to the fore has been changing the game and redefining the sound, building on the firm foundation left to them by veterans. It is not ‘out with the old and in with the new’, but rather a metamorphosis of the sound to reflect contemporary society.
At 15 years old, Jesse Royal was recording music with friends whenever they had the time or opportunity to do so. Music was never a goal or chore for them, simply recess. Now, at the age of 23, the young talent is one of the champions of reggae music for his generation.
MUSIC STEMS FROM STRUGGLES
“It’s not like we decided that we wanted to do music; music was in us and we just let it out. We were never doing it for pay or fame and we’re still not. Our music stems from struggle and heartache just like the originals,” the artiste told The Gleaner, adding that it is the same struggles that he saw at the age of 15 that he sees today.
For the lyrical poet, the lack of improvement he saw in society both irritated and inspired him.
One of his recent singles, Greedy Babylon, produced by Kareem Burrell, is meant to do just that according to the artiste.
In Greedy Babylon, the artiste sings:
“We living in a world where neglect is prevalent, with a lot more cavaliers and less diligence; more ties severing daily, none nah mend thanks to this egotistic Government.”
According Jesse Royal, thus is asking people to open their eyes and create the world that they want.
GIVING HIM A VOICE
Hearing his song on the radio for the first time was a good feeling for Jesse Royal as he felt like he was speaking directly with listeners.
“We do this music to be heard, and if you listen to our music, we don’t really talk ’bout ‘jump up and shake yuh booty’ and dem sum’n deh. Is a reasoning. I’m appealing to the consciousness of my generation,” he expressed.
The ‘we’ the artiste refers to is the collection of pioneers in the music industry right now who have moved beyond the shallow nature of today’s music in an attempt to awaken revolution among their generation.
With songs like Greedy Babylon, Warning to All and Light Like A Feather, Jesse Royal is leaving a trail of conscious and refreshing music, leading up to his forthcoming compilation – an EP titled In Come the Small Axe – set to drop at the end of this month.
His earlier compilation, a mixtape branded Misheni (Swahili for mission), received great reviews and the artiste is open to building on that momentum. An album is also in the works, but Jesse Royal revealed that he is taking everything one step at a time.
Whether you want to call him a rebel or a revolutionary, he may be on to something when he declares “this generation is the generation of change”.