Push Come Push Reggae icon Freddie McGregor encouraged Jamaican dancehall producers and artists to use the island’s vast catalog of music to fill the void in the “production gap” the genre is now grappling with.
The 2002 Grammy nominee noted in a Sunday Observer editorial that “a true era of solid Dancehall music” has been cemented by icons such as Sly and Robbie, Steelie and Clevie, Dave Kelly, Lenky Marsden and Danny Browne , followed by younger figures such as Don Corleon, his son Stephen “Di Genius” Mcgregor and Rvssian.
However, according to the boss of Big Ship, in recent times there seems to have been a shortage of preeminent producers, which has made him wonder if “the creative music juice has dried up.”
The 65-year-old from Clarendon said in his youth he was inspired by musicians such as The Skatalites, Toots and the Maytals, The Wailers, The Gaylads, The Heptones, Bob Andy and The Clarendonians, and witnessed the music shifting from Ska to Rocksteady, Reggae and later Dancehall, but was puzzled by the inertia of the island’s younger genre.
“We definitely don’t create anymore. Or does the current output just not match where we came from? So that’s what I think. If we are not doing better today than then, it is clear that we are not growing up, ”said the Africa here I come the singer noted.
McGregor, whose Big Ship label produced songs for dancehall icons Papa San, Lt. Stitchie and Tiger, argued that he was not surprised that foreign musicians and artists who love Jamaican music have “taken the plunge. our musical culture “and added that Jamaicans should not get excited but should embrace them because it is” a good thing “.
“We have to be a lot more creative so that they can follow us, not the other way around,” he said.
“Right now we’re following the trend in the United States of America with this thing called trap music, and what’s really going on is we’re trapping ourselves with something that’s not Jamaican. Are we lost? ”He added.
McGregor, however, had some recommendations for people in the music industry who might have issues where “creative juices can run out” stating that they should take advantage of “Jamaica’s vast catalog of music.”
“If the creative juices are running out, it’s time to go back to what we have and even change it to be a little different. We can still create magic with what we have, ”he advised.
“I’m not suggesting that young producers don’t have it, but we have to see it. I often ask myself, “Where’s the next Dennis Brown, the next Beres, the next Marcia Griffiths, etc?” We need to develop this new generation of artists or where will we be in five years? McGregor, who is known for songs such as Stop loving you and If you want to go noted in his essay.
Lack of government and business support
McGregor, whose music career began at the age of seven, says another factor holding back Jamaican music is the lack of state investment and support in the industry, which is to the economic detriment. , financial and cultural of the island.
“It’s quite embarrassing when I look at a number of countries where governments support musical culture… we don’t,” he said.
He also targeted what he described as “successful businesses and individuals” in Jamaica who “all claim to love music and continue to suggest that artists and musicians should build the industry on their own,” believe wrongly that the artists are all rich. According to him, this attitude is an indication that “themselves do not understand the business of music”.
“This stand-off attitude of staying away from the private and public sectors here in Jamaica is contributing to the downfall of the local music industry,” McGregor noted.
As fellow Dancehall Popcaan did a few months ago, McGregor, former president of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) called on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to invest fully in the music industry, especially in the in light of the widely held view that “the government does nothing for music and the arts like it does for sport,” noting that the rewards for the nation will be exponential.
“Mr. Prime Minister, partnership between the private and public sectors is the way forward… we have always been pioneers, not followers…” said McGregor.