The hot and cold of it
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
There are hot Jamaican tracks - as in songs which are burning up the airwaves and dancehalls - and then there are hot tracks, which speak about degrees of temperature. Balancing that there are cold tracks which are dead cold - which is OK, because not many people hear them as they make no impact, although there are really chill tracks, which are just cool.
On the hot side are varying degrees of intensity. Josey Wales has Kingston Hot, which seems to describe a social situation as much as the heat of the sun, the Colonel deejaying about dreadlocks jogging in sweat suit tops and near shootings ("if me neva skill me woulda reach Dovecot"). With all of this, Josey concludes "Kingston hot, lawd a God mi say Kingston hot."
Dirtsman, Papa San's brother of blessed memory, spoke about heat in the artiste sense. He announced his intentions in no uncertain manner with, "mi coming hot dis year, whe dem a go do fi hol' mi?" Unfortunately, he did not live to fulfill his promise.
Sean Paul got major heat going with Temperature, a track that heat generated by wonderful friction between a man and a woman. With the place a bit chilly, Sean Paul promises "I got the right temperature to shelter you from the storm."
Third World's '1865 (96 Degrees in the Shade)' is a take on the badly misnamed Morant Bay Rebellion in 1865, a very heated time in Jamaica's history. There was fire, as the courthouse was burnt down and then there was the heat of social tensions - which led to the flames that engulfed the physical representation of the legal system.
Not to be left out is Peter Tosh's Coming in Hot, a personal promise to do so, "firing some shot, shot, shot."
Leading the chill side is none other than the Cool Ruler, Gregory Isaacs (also of blessed memory). It is not only in his ultra-cool demeanour that he portrays that chill, but he even asks a lady who is coming on too strong to "cool down the pace for me little woman."
Shabba Ranks' Respect gives some cool advice to the young entertainers who would get excited about having a "one tune" which hits. Reminding them of the names and styles of their elders, Shabba suggests "cool, cool, U-Roy done rule/U-Roy a godfather of the deejay school." And he goes on to name many a deejay who the young guns should look up to.
And Terror Fabulous also has some advice for those who would be moving too heated, but in a different kind of way. Asking "how many mornings oonu get up an pray/thank Maasa God fi see a shining day?", Fabulous then suggests "cool oonu fi drop it."