In Part 1 of this post we noted that there are some persons who believe that Jamaica produced its finest music during the mid-1960s to 70s and never again produced music of equal quality. It’s our view, however, that while that period produced some exceptional music, Jamaica continued and continues, to produce music of the highest quality. In addition to the examples we gave in Part 1 of this post please here are some additional examples of great Jamaican music from the last 5 years or so:
Having given deep thought to the hopes, dreams and aspirations of ordinary Jamaican people the PPBP solemnly promises that if the people see fit to bestow on us the awesome honour and responsibility of forming the next government we will:
TJL had an interesting conversation (read: quarrel) with a friend recently. Our friend insisted that the mid 1960s to mid 1970s Rock Steady/Reggae era produced the finest Jamaican music ever made and the quality of same has never been equalled. He named artistes like Delroy Wilson, Alton Ellis and Ken Boothe and songs like “Dancing Mood”, “Girl I’ve got a Date” and “Everything I Own” as examples of the greatness of the period and while TJL agreed that these artistes are legends and the songs are all classics we vehemently disagree that music of equal worth hasn’t been produced since. We think that Jamaica is unusual in the world of music in that it has consistently produced great music over several decades and one shouldn’t make the common mistake of looking back at a particular era, ignoring the crap that was produced in that era (every era produces its share), lumping together the best songs, adding dose of nostalgia, and then concluding that this era or that was the greatest ever.
The habit of over-nostalgizing an era is, we think, partly caused by a misunderstanding of what makes a “classic”. Yes, a classic is a song with a superior lyric, melody, instrumentation etc but what truly makes a song a classic is the fact that it lingers in your memory long after you first heard it and it continues to evoke strong feelings each time it is heard again. Said another way, a classic is just a song that successfully captures a mood, feeling or memory in a lasting way. Even the most “frivolous” song can become tomorrow’s classic if it manages to resonate or strike the right chord (pun intended) with enough people.
To make the point we’ve put together a list of 20 songs from the last 5 or so years that we think will become the classics of tomorrow. We think these songs compare favourably with any other group of songs selected from the “golden era” of Jamaican music. In no particular order, our selections are:
Were you raised in an orphanage and find yourself unsure about your country of origin? Well have no fear ThingsJamaicansLove.com now presents its foolproof “You-might-be-a-Jamaican-Do-it-yourself-Test-Your-Nationality-Kit” -
If your natural expression is “screw face”, then… you might be Jamaican
If it takes you 0.0013 seconds to go from mild-mannered gentleman to homicidal maniac when the words “Yuh mumma” are spoken in your direction, then… you might be Jamaican.
You, your wife, your 2 kids, your gardener and your cousin Elrick in 4 Paths Clarendon all have the disease. Your dog Rambo also seems to have a strange rash and a feverish look about him.
2. In pharmacies across the island Mosquito repellent is outselling deodorant 2-to-1.
3. Your wife throws out a glass of ice water you left on the kitchen counter 5 minutes ago because “mosquitoes are known to breed in standing water, honey”.
We thought long and hard about writing this post. Would a post about Jamaican slang names for the female genitalia be too much for the delicate sensitivities of Thingsjamaicanslove.com’s beloved readers? Would they be mortified and offended? Would they disapprove so strongly that they would abandon the website? Finally, we decided that since ThingsJamaicansLove.com’s mandate is to study and discuss the myriad things which “make Jamaicans Jamaican” then this was a subject we could no longer ignore.
We felt obliged to ask the question - WHY do Jamaican men have so many names for the female genitalia? Well, I once read somewhere that the greater the love one has for a thing then the more names one is likely to create for that thing. If this is true, then its abundantly clear that Jamaican men have a deep and profound for a woman’s you-know-what as we’ve managed to create an amazing range of names for said private parts. That in mind, ThingsJamaicansLove.com, in the furtherance of our mission of sharing knowledge and without meaning to offend, thought we would share a few of these names with you:
0-10 years: “Ga-ga, goo-goo” (Song plays in background as child is being fed at nursery)
Teens: “Rrrraaaeeee, mi love this song!” (Listening to song while hanging with friends)
Twenties: “Bap bap! Da chune yah shot!” (Dancing to song at nightclub/dance while hanging with friends)
Thirties: “Nice tune still. Don’t understand a word he’s saying though.” (Listening to song in car on your way to work)
Forties: “Its an ok song. But how do I dance to it? And who is this Vybz Kartel person anyway? And how exactly did he record this song while in prison?!” (Poses question to younger sibling who’s listening to song while hanging with friends)
Fifties: “What you mean you “love this song?” Its garbage!” (Shouts at teenage son who’s listening to song while hanging with friends)
Sixties: “What the hell is that noise they’re playing next door. Its too loud! I’m calling the police!” (Shouts at wife while song plays at party next door)
Seventies: “Eh? Is that a song they’re playing? I can’t hear a thing.”
Eighties: “Ga-ga, goo-goo” (Song plays in background while being fed at old age home)
Are you a Jamaican who’s lived abroad for many years? Do you sometimes feel like you’ve lost your identity? Have you acquired an American/English/Russian accent without even knowing it? Do your kids consider America/England/Russia home? Well, if you’re feeling like you’ve lost touch with your roots take ThingsJamaicansLove.com’s foolproof test to see you’re still really Jamaican. Answer “yes” or “no” to the questions below and then see our guide at the bottom.
Let’s say you’re a foreigner visiting Jamaica for the first time and you’ve somehow managed to get on the wrong side of a local woman. It doesn’t really matter how or why you’ve upset her - lets say you stepped on her toe, you cut in front of her in the line at the JPS office, or maybe you stole her husband - all that matters is that you’re now being confronted by a belligerent and insulting adversary who wont let the matter go. You, in turn, feel compelled to respond, but you’re not from Jamaica and you don’t know how this whole tracing (“cussing”) thing is done. What should you do?
The year 2011 provided Jamaicans with many irritating distractions including a General Election, the Manatt Phelps Phillips enquiry and the JDIP scandal. Despite the pointless, self-defeating drama that is Jamaica’s politics, we were able to find entertainment and respite in a thriving music industry which churned out scores of fun, danceable tracks to take our minds off our problems. ThingsJamaicansLove.com’s favourite songs for 2011 were:
Jamaica is an intruiging place. For the philosophically inclined there are many profound existential and metaphysical questions upon which to ponder. For example:
Why do bulla and pear taste so good together? Hmm…
How comes taxi drivers never seem to crash and die violently when they do all kinda madness on the road? Hmm…
In the age of Facebook, Twitter and videoconferencing why do people still love to send Greetings from Farin on tv at Christmas time? Hmm…
How comes the mentally ill men seen wandering naked on the streets of Kingston always seem to have extremely long____? Hmmm…
Were “Shower” and “Power” intentionally designed to rhyme? Hmm…
As a somewhat precocious child (my parents preferred the word “rude") I was often in trouble with my parents. My parents, on the other hand, were old-fashioned Jamaicans who believed that the remedy for “precociousness” was a good flogging every now and then. We can argue about the merits of corporal punishment but what always fascinated me was the fact that the flogging alone was never enough. There was always some kind of verbal commentary before/during/after the process. I’ve taken a moment to jot down down some of those comments along with my thoughts on those comments as they were said to me. If you were also a precocious child some of them may sound familiar to you -
Ladies and gentlemen, here at ThingsJamaicansLove.com we believe in recognising exceptional performance in whatever field of endeavour it may occur. One area in which Jamaica has consistently produced remarkable performances is bad roads. Jamaica’s performances in this area are so numerous and the standard so “high” that its almost impossible to say which are the worst of our terrible roads. We went ahead and tried anyway. So, without further ado, the Nominees for ThingsJamaicansLove.com’s Worst Roads in Kingston & St. Andrew 2010/2011 are:
Even when money to spend, sensible leaders, and pot-hole free roads are in short supply, one thing Jamaica always has in abundance is music. This article celebrates some of the songs ThingsJamaicansLove enjoyed most in 2010:
Count Your Blessings – Nas and Junior Gong. “I’ve got love and assurance, I’ve got new health insurance, I’ve strength and endurance, so I count my blessings” Nas and Junior Gong’s exhortation to appreciate the simple things in life was one of our favourite conscious tunes of the year.
Drinking Rum (Rum and Red Bull) – Future Fambo and Beenie Man. We suspect this was probably the biggest party song of the year? TJL heard this song at wedding receptions, birthday parties, football matches, dances and uptown sessions - and guess what? It done di place every single time. As big as this song was, it might be more fair to say that the bigger hit was the “One Day” riddim by Seanizzle on which the song was recorded. Other hit songs on the One Day riddim were Swaggerific (Mr. G.), I’m Ok (Beenie Man), Wifey Walk Out (Liquid) and the monster hit Nah Sell out mi Fren (Khago).
You may not have noticed it, but we live in a world that has effectively become a high-tech prison. Yes, it’s true, and no, I’m not being paranoid. It seems to me that we live in a fascist regime where our liberty is being restricted from every conceivable angle. That liberty is not being restricted by the police, the secret service or by Big Brother, mind you, but by legions of computer nerds who’ve fixed it so that pretty much every little thing we do requires the submission of a code, password or pin number. No, don’t laugh, it’s the gospel truth. We’re being hemmed in on every side by the need to submit intricate combinations of letters and numbers before we’re allowed to do even the most mundane tasks. I tell you, without a trace of melodrama, that our very freedom is under threat.
Let me demonstrate to you how passwords, codes, and pin numbers have become an inescapable part of our lives.
Sometimes yuh haffi tek serious ting mek joke. As I was mopping out my flooded kitchen last night in my water boots and gloves, I thought about the sure signs that Jamaica is experiencing flood rains:
1. It doesn’t matter how many times the warnings are announced on radio and tv, it's GUARANTEED that somebody's car will get washed away as they try to drive through a gully during the rain.
2. Muddy brown water is coming through holes in your roof, cracks in your window, spaces under your door, gaps in the floor and all manner of openings and crevices in your house that you never knew existed.
3. There's enough water in your backyard for you to seriously consider planting rice.
Guys, if you could tear yourselves away from your cell phones, Blackberries and iPhones for just one second we’d love to get you to stop and think about something. Have you ever considered the large number of convenient acronyms and initialisms you use when sending text messages? (Explanations of the big words at bottom of post) Ok, it may sound silly but think about it for a second… When someone says something funny you have the option of responding with LOL (Laugh out loud), DWL (Ded wid laugh) or BOAL (Buss out ah laugh). You can also use ROFL (Roll on the floor), LMAO (Laugh my ass off) or DWBCL. (You can figure that last one out for yourselves).
Many of you will frequently use OMG (Oh My Gosh), IKR (I Know Right), KK (Cool Cool), SMH (Shake my head), KMT (Kiss mi teet), OMG (Oh my God), TMI (Too much information), WTF, and at the end of a conversation you may often close with TTYL (Talk to You Later). These acronyms are convenient because they shorten commonly used expressions down to a few letters that are easy to type while on the go. And since they’re so useful (and entertaining), ThingsJamaicansLove.com figured that we should come up with some acronyms specifically tailored for Jamaicans to use while texting. So here goes:
Yea though I drive through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…
In many developed countries the morning commute to work is a reasonably comfortable and event-free experience. Even when the traffic is heavy, the roads are good and people go about their business in an orderly fashion. But this is Jamaica... and my drive to work is a little different.
The summer is here and there’s nothing better than spending a long hot day lazing on the beach reading a good book. Here are a few of the books we wish were on our summer reading list:
Where the Tunnels Really Are – Christopher Coke
Spicing up your life with Colour - Elephant Man
Famous for Not Being Famous – LA Lewis
Outing the Fire – Capleton
Bangarang Made Easy – Bruce Golding