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Khago dodges the one-hit wonder label

Published:Sunday | October 30, 2011 | 12:00 AM

Howard Campbell, Sunday Gleaner Writer

One-hit wonders go hand in hand with contemporary music, Jamaican dancehall being no exception.

After hitting the charts last year with the catchy Nah Sell Out, singer Khago seemed in danger of joining the ranks of 'here today, gone tomorrow' artistes.

The Manchester-reared entertainer went through a lean spell after Nah Sell Out's chart run ended, a drought he blamed on poor management. He is back in the reckoning with Tun Up De Ting, a song co-produced on the popular Overproof beat by Justus Arison and Patrick Samuels for Ja Productions.

Tax Inna My World and Is This Not Love are other Khago songs currently making the rounds. The former is produced by Sean 'Seanizzle' Reid while Is This Not Love was co-produced by Ainsley Morris and Corey Todd.

Khago says things are picking up again after a worrying dry run.

"Fi tell yuh the truth the last month and a half a the best time a mi career 'cause the people dem start listen to mi again," said the relaxed dreadlocks recently at King Of Kings studio in St Andrew.

Khago had just returned from a series of promotional dates in England and the United States (US). He claims the response was encouraging enough for his new management to plan a similar trip to the US to establish more links within the competitive urban market.

Though Nah Sell Out was one of the biggest dancehall songs of 2011, Khago admits things were not looking rosy for his career at the start of this year. He was concerned about being a one-trick pony.

"Since 2005 yuh have a lotta artiste who come up an' drop off after dem get a hit. Is a big task to come from nowhere an' bus an' can't maintain it," he reasoned.

Khago added that he has learned that making hit songs is not only about choosing the right beats. Having good management is just as important.

"The people roun' yuh haffi believe inna yuh. Dat encourage yuh as a young artiste," he said.

Born in Kingston but raised in Manchester, Ricardo Gayle (Khago's given name) came up through the sound system ranks in his hometown of Christiana. However, it was in the 2006 Jamaica Cultural Development Commission Festival Song Contest that he got his first grab of the big time.

Competing as Chicago, he placed third in the contest that year with the entry, Only If You Knew. Two years ago, he had a minor hit with Can't Cool, a joint production between himself and disc jockey Marlon Young.

Things got even better last year with Nah Sell Out which was produced by the hot Seanizzle whose credits include Mr G's massive hit, Swaggarific. The song was an instant smash on radio and in the clubs, but Khago was still an unknown outside of Jamaica.

"Wi get whole heap a call (from overseas) but management neva follow up," he said.

"The last few months dat change 'cause wi do some shows wha' help get wi name out deh."

Khago is scheduled for another round of promotional shows on the US east coast starting this week. They culminate with a November 22 appearance in Boston, promoted by the influential Hot 97 radio station.