Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Young reggae revivalists making the rounds globally

Published:Sunday | July 2, 2017 | 7:00 AMKimberley Small
Chronixx
Jesse Royal
Kabaka Pyramid
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The careers of Chronixx, Jesse Royal and Kabaka Pyramid are following resembling trajectories.

The three, dubbed part of a 'Reggae Revivalist' movement, have enjoyed careers that have taken them across the world, as they continue on an upward move, attracting international attention.

Major Lazer Presents, a mixtape series spearheaded by Walshy Fire, is a project that all three artistes were invited to participate in at the beginning of their popularized careers. In 2012, Major Lazer presented Chronixx on the Start A Fire mixtape. In 2014, Jesse Royal was presented on his mixtape called Royally Speaking. In 2016, Kabaka Pyramid had his turn with the release of Accurate, a lyrically driven collection, out to prove the artiste is both a deejay and a rapper.

In October 2013, The Guardian highlighted Chronixx as the Jamaican artiste responsible for putting Rastafari back in music. Following the release of his Major Lazer-produced mixtape, Start A Fire, Chronixx enjoyed a mercurial rise to fame. At 24 years old, the young singer has performed on The Late Show with Jimmy Fallon, BBC1Xtra concerts, and was even invited to Kenya as a peace ambassador during the nation's 2013 general elections.

 

DEBUT ALBUM

 

Now, Chronixx preps for the release of his debut album, Chronology. In May 2017, Skankin' Sweet, the third single from the album premiered exclusively on Billboard.com, following the R&B-influenced Majesty, and the dancehall-fuelled track called Likes. In an interview with Billboard.com, founder of Island Records, Chris Blackwell said: "I love what Chronixx is doing. It's not a new style of music, but it's not a rehash of old music either."

For two weeks in April, Gimme Likkle singer Jesse Royal spent two weeks on tour with fellow reggae revivalist Chronixx (and the Zinc Fence Redemption) as he wrapped up the US west coast leg of the Chronology tour, which took the artistes through California, New Mexico, Texas and Florida. Chronixx's touring will continue in July, on the US east coast, coinciding with the July 7 release of the album. Chronology pulls from a catalogue of work of previously released music like Smile Jamaica and Spanish Town Rocking. Chronixx's album was recorded in Brooklyn, Kingston, London and Chicago.

Though the mercurial artiste is yet to release an album, Chronixx has become comparable to the likes of Rihanna and Kylie Jenner, who capitalise on their celebrity with fashion design. The Smile Jamaica singer landed a collaboration with Adidas SPEZIAL Spring-Summer 2017 Collection.

 

ONETO WATCH

 

Jesse Royal's Royally Speaking mixtape distinguished him as an artiste to watch on LargeUp.com, who are currently sponsors of his upcoming North American tour next month. Named perhaps in ode to his late mother, or a testament to longevity in the music business, the 'Always Be Around Tour' will run for the month of July, with the Small Axe making multiple stops in the United States (New York, Vermont), as well as Nova Scotia, Quebec City and Ontario in Canada. Jesse Royal's marketability has extended into collaboration with street wear brand, Rockers NYC, to produce limited-edition T-shirts and tank tops.

Kabaka Pyramid's career reflects similar activity to his musical brothers. Though yet to release an album, Kabaka Pyramid is the cover star for Reggaeville's Festiville Magazine 2017; this year's guide to all reggae summer festivals. The Well Done deejay, is also in the midst of touring, as he too prepares for the release of his upcoming album, Contraband. While he attracted the interest of Walshy Fire for the prolific Major Lazer Presents, Kabaka also has the production power of Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley behind his debut. Since the release of the album's first single, Can't Breathe, the deejay-rapper has been traversing Europe with upcoming dates in Lisbon, Austria, Newfoundland, Denmark and France.

Other Revivalists like Royal Blu, Runkus and the Ole Skl Bond, Dre Island and Jah9 have also been making the international rounds.

Jah 9 recently completed the first leg of her Unafraid Tour, along the US west coast, performing in multiple cities in California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. This weekend, she begins her second leg, taking on European venues which will carry the Avocado singer through Germany, Denmark, France and Switzerland.