Tue | Nov 12, 2019

J'can music has private-jet power - Jr Gong complimented by Jay-Z's 'Bam' efforts

Published:Saturday | June 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMAnthony Turner/Gleaner Writer
Damian Marley
Entertainer and entrepreneur Jay-Z.


Several months ago, rap icon and music industry executive Jay-Z sent his private jet from the United States to the continent of Africa to fetch Damian Marley. Jay-Z was gambling on a smash single collaboration with Bob Marley's youngest son and wanted to make sure nothing would slow down the project.

The song, Bam, was recorded in Los Angeles, California. However, the six-minute music video was shot at Hellshire Beach, St Catherine, and Trench Town, St Andrew. To facilitate the video shoot, Jay-Z flew Gong by private jet from the African continent to Jamaica and back.

"I was on actually on tour in Ethiopia," Gong recalled. "Jay-Z was very excited, and he wanted to make sure we did the shoot in Jamaica. He sent a plane for me to fly straight from Ethiopia to Jamaica. I had to leave tour and do the shoot in Jamaica and then jump back on tour the next day ... . When someone of Jay's calibre reaches out to you, it's a compliment within itself that he acknow-ledges your music and you as an artiste."

That Jay-Z sampled Sister Nancy's Bam Bam and included Damian on the lead single from his platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated 4:44 album speaks volumes about the lure and the power of Jamaica's music and culture.

"If you think about it, there are three places on Earth that have made an impact on global music - America, England and Jamaica", Marley said. "Of course, musicians come from other places, but we are talking about consistently having an impact on global culture, and look how small we are compared to the other two. We have something special to offer", Marley reiterated.

Jr Gong performs on Sunday, June 24, at Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, New York. Also performing at the R&B and reggae festival are Kenny 'Babyface' Edmonds, Capleton, Busy Signal, Romain Virgo, JC Lodge, Marcia Aitken and Pam Hall.