Tue | Aug 4, 2020

Spragga Benz for lecture series in NY - Readies ‘Chiliagon’ album

Published:Tuesday | August 13, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Spragga Benz
Spragga Benz

In addition to touring, old-school dancehall artiste with a current flavour Spragga Benz has an assignment with a difference. He will be a guest speaker at the SUNY-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development Community Lecture Series – ‘The Caribbean Music Industry 2019: What’s Next for Reggae, Dancehall and New Breakout Artistes’. The lecture will be held in New York next Monday, August 19, and the entertainer is eagerly anticipating it.

“Artistes have a powerful voice and we have a duty to use it and use it effectively,” Carlos ‘Spragga Benz’ Grant told The Gleaner, adding that his years of experience in the business, especially being a part of Red Square, has equipped him to handle this topic with a fair amount of expertise.

“Knowledge is useless if it is not passed on, and I am looking forward to a very enlightening discussion,” he said.

Kaleidoscope of infectious beats

Spragga, who is all set to release his newest project, Chiliagon (Easy Star/Buttercuts/Red Square Productions), his first album in nearly a decade. Chiliagon arrives on September 27. He has teamed up with some of the top UK producers and artistes, blending roots, riddim, drum and bass, garage, grime and hip hop into a diverse kaleidoscope of infectious beats.

Adopting its name from a 1,000-sided polygon that symbolised contemplation and meditation to some of the world’s early philosophers, Spragga’s Chiliagon, a release states, moves the cultural needle via the artiste’s characteristic vision, buoyed by the deejay’s razor-sharp verses and genre-leaping collaborative skills.

Just as he helped fuse dancehall/hip hop/R&B in the ‘90s, working with such artistes as Foxy Brown, Wyclef Jean, KRS-One, Lil Bow Wow, Pras, and Noreaga, his new album bridges the swaggering game changers of the genre (General Levy and Rodney P) with some of the groundbreaking talent representing the current UK cutting-edge steeped in Spragga’s and other dancehall forefathers’ sprawling influence.

Groundwork for album

Multiple tracks have already set the table for the coming album, including Differ Remix , featuring Sean Paul, Agent Sasco, and Chi Ching Ching and produced by Toddla T, and the recently released If Yuh Ready, featuring the trademark chops of General Levy.

Produced by Andrew Oury, Paul Fowler, Cristy Barber and Spragga, other songs on the 15-track album are Move To The Music (featuring Rebel ACA); Spread Out (featuring Hype & Fever); Link Up (featuring Matthew Allman, Illaman, Black Josh), and two tracks featuring influential UK hip hop giant Rodney P – Hustle And Flow and King on the Throne.

The debut single for the September kickoff will be Wicked Love, also produced by noted BBC DJ Toddla T.

Parking himself in London to map out the vibe and direction for the new album, Spragga was boosted by Buttercut Records Founder/CEO Andrew Oury’s constant support, pairing the always-adventurous icon with a host of collaborators, all determined to raise their game around the insightful and inspiring Spragga. The whirlwind recording sessions took place in Oury’s house with Spragga joined by producers and artistes, including Lil Rossco, Toddla T, Cadenza & Epic B, Sukh Knight, Zed Bias, JD Reid, Rodney P, General Levy, Tanika, Killa P, Black Josh, Harry Shotta, Rebel ACA, Hype & Fever, and many more. The ambitious effort showcases the love, respect, and admiration all the talented contributors have for Spragga as teacher, mentor, iconic influencer, and social activist.

Says Spragga: “These are artistes and producers I’ve worked with and admired as friends, as a fan, and as idols I looked up to. Dancehall is the foundation of so many genres, being surrounded by so much talent for Chiliagon brings my joy of making music full circle.”

Spragga will be appearing in a series of US festivals and shows until the end of the summer. He did the Be Reggae Festival in Atlanta last weekend, and upcoming dates include Hot 97’s On Da Reggae Soca Tip on August 30 at Coney Island, New York; One Love Festival, August 31, in Toronto; and the Jerk Fest on September 14 in Houston, Texas.