Sun | Mar 26, 2017

Jesse Royal, Major Lazer do 'Royally Speaking' mix tape

Published:Tuesday | July 22, 2014 | 7:00 AM

A month ago, in an interview with The Gleaner, reggae artiste Jesse Royal hinted at a possible collaborative project between him and duo Major Lazer. The initiative has now become a reality, following the release of the artiste's most recent mix tape, Royally Speaking.

Major Lazer, although known for its strong Caribbean connections, is more popular in the industry for producing electronic dance music, while Jesse Royal is known for roots reggae. However, in an online interview, Major Lazer's Walshy Fire said that although the collaboration may seem random, it isn't, outlining that there is a criterion that all the artistes they have worked with have met, including Royal. "First, they have to have a lot of finished work under their belt - over 30 songs minimum - and also, their songs tell me the story of what they have been doing."

According to Royal, however, he is leaving the work up to the audience's interpretations. "When creative minds come together, something unique and different is produced, and we just have to put it out there and leave it up to the audience's interpretations."

Loving the collab

And it seems that the audience is loving the collaboration thus far. The mix tape, which has been available for free download since last week Monday, has already amassed over 100,000 views on popular music site SoundCloud. Royal says the response to the mix tape has him optimistic about the future and describes working with Major Lazer as a lovely experience. "It was just a bunch of creative people jelling. We didn't go in with a plan, but it was just a perfect little vibe inside the Geejam studio." The hour-long effort has 25 tracks, including some singles that are already receiving airplay locally and internationally.

Walshy Fire lists Greedy Babylon and the Burning Spear remix of the song Wadada as his favourite tracks. Dubbing Royal as a natural-born leader, Walshy Fire said not doing the mix was not an option. "He had too much talent and positive messages to not to do this mix," he said. He also compared the artiste to a number of reggae greats, including Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Gregory Isaacs, Burning Spear, and Bunny Wailer.

Royal recently collaborated with street-wear brand Rockers NYC to produce a limited-edition line of branded T-shirts and tank tops, and it seems that the partnership is continuing as the brand has been credited for the artwork on the cover of the mix tape.

- S.G.