Christmas finds reggae in a good mood
Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
Christmas comes but once a year, and so does the music associated with the highly commercialised Christian holiday.
Christmas songs never seem to get old, perhaps because they are only played for a month or so out of the year. Nevertheless, reggae and dancehall artistes always ensure the season is a big part of the way they affect their fans, in many instances borrowing the melodies of already-popular Christmas singles.
Elephant Man and Busy Signal are currently promoting their Christmas collaboration called Party Anthem, which borrows the melody of This Christmas, originally recorded by Donny Hathaway and re-recorded by R&B singer Chris Brown in 2010.
Elephant Man and Busy Signal's Party Anthem sells Christmas as a season of celebration and sees the artistes telling tales of getting intoxicated and taking full advantage of the many party experiences the island has to offer.
The two also tackle the Noise Abatement Act which has forced several promoters to end events, even in the partycentric Christmas season 'prematurely'.
"This is the season weh everybody out, party a di word inna everybody mouth. Food and clothes inna everybody house, nuh badda lock off the dance mi hear everybody shout," Elephant Man sings.
However, Busy Signal says Christmas, as an occasion, means little to him, since he tries to be kind and caring to other people throughout the year.
"I give and share right through the year, it's not just a season thing. I give at the airport, on the roadside wherever. In these times do what you need to do and spend wisely. Don't hang your hat where you can't reach it and your family must be your main priority," Busy Signal told The Gleaner.
Marcus Myrie, son of reggae icon Buju Banton, is the producer of the song.
According to Myrie, Christmas is about family and giving thanks for the birth of Christ. He also said some Jamaicans celebrate their Christmas by partying excessively, which is why Party Anthem is relevant to the season.
"One of the ways persons enjoy themselves is through parties, and Party Anthem embodies that, because Christmas is a big celebration," Myrie said.
The producer also revealed that the song is getting favourable radio play and is one of the preferred Christmas songs this year.
The original This Christmas hit the Billboard Japan Hot 100 Singles at No. 92 in 2012, and also climbed the same chart this year, peaking at No. 70.
Aspiring reggae artiste D Medz is also promoting a Christmas song. His effort is called She Only Loves Me Because A Christmas.
According to the singer, he wrote the song because many persons have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas because of their quest for material gain.
D Medz says Christmas has become too commercialised, and says he hopes listeners will draw a life-changing lesson from the song's content.
"My song explains that some people look at Christmas as a time to go and shop, in the process forgetting the real meaning. Christmas is about loving each other, even the environment is different at Christmas time. It's cooler and windy. But many persons don't notice those simple things, again because they are caught up in material things," D Medz said.
The artiste recently released a music video for the single, which also features up-and-coming singer J Simple.
European, Christian reggae band Christafari also released a Christmas song this year called Reggae Christmas.
The song was produced by Lion of Zion Entertainment and sees the band singing praises to Jesus Christ as they chronicle His birth and the joy he brings to mankind.
"From God our Heavenly Father a blessed angel came, and unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same. How that in Bethlehem was born the son of God by name. O tidings of comfort of joy," are some of the lyrics laid by the band over a soothing reggae bass line.
Christafari is also the first Christian reggae band to peak at No. 1 on the Billboard reggae charts.