Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Story of the Song | in 1977, Admiral Bailey in 1987, Spragga in 1997

Published:Sunday | January 8, 2017 | 1:00 AMMel Cooke
Joseph 'Culture' Hill
Admiral Bailey
Spragga Benz
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The first full week of 2017 is coming up, and what will happen in Jamaican popular music is anyone's guess. However, in previous weeks, there have been songs that are centred around the seventh year of the decade, including Culture's Two Sevens Clash, Admiral Bailey's Think Me Did Done and Me a De Danger, and Spragga Benz's 98.

Culture's roots reggae standout, which encapsulates the sense of impending doom and gloom which hung over Jamaica in July 1977, with no less than the leadership of the land contributing to the national mood, asks what will happen when "the two sevens clash".

It opens with a prophecy attributed to Marcus Garvey that Spanish Town and Kingston would meet (which urbanisation is making more and more a reality. Culture (led by Joseph Hill) notes this as he says, "I can see with mine own eyes/it is only a housing scheme that divides."

In, Me a De Danger, deejay Admiral Bailey boldly states the year at the start of the song ("Well a want yu know dis a '87 - an a me a de danger, - thank you in advance").

It seems to have been a landmark year for the man who would go on to become a noted football coach as later in the song he states, "An when mi chat dem ya lyrics Lord yu know mi nah stop/for this is '87 an' is no turning back."

Then, realising that deejay seasons come and go very quickly, in the defiant Tink Mi Did Done, Admiral Bailey states clearly that "green mi green an mi jus' a blossom/after '87 there is a lot more to come".

 

WISH LIST

 

Spragga Benz compiled a wish list for the upcoming year when he mulled over "whe we woulda love fi see inna '98".

Among the things that he desired was that then Prime Minister P.J. Patterson "lock back de gate/an try no make no more a we future escape".

The chorus is a commitment to Jamaica:

"Jamaica weh

wi love, wi travel nuff abroad

An wi nuh si nuh other place better dan wi yard

Di dutty kind a tuff,

di living kinda hard

But we haffi get ahead

becau wi trust ina di Lord"

He also had gender-specific wishes about community hygiene and aesthetics ("some big lazy gal fi start sweep up dem gate"). Spragga also wanted the Reggae Boyz to "step up ina France an show di world how wi great".

The national senior football team is yet to appear in another World Cup finals, Germany and Brazil among the missed opportunities.

Crime was a concern then as Spragga wished the "police dem stop guess and start investigate/di likkle shotta fi cut dung di crime rate". That seems not to have changed.