VIDEO: “Always Together: Chinese-Jamaicans In Reggae” (movie trailer)

Official Trailer: Always Together: Chinese-Jamaicans In Reggae from Always Together on Vimeo.

If you are a casual fan of ska and/or reggae music, people of Chinese descent may not be the first image that comes to mind. However, if you become a fan and start to investigate deeper, you’ll discover that Chinese-Jamaicans played a major role in the production and creation of some of the most influential music not only in Jamaica, but eventually around the world. Always Together: Chinese-Jamaicans In Reggae takes a wide look at some of the names you may have only seen in passing in album liner notes or in magazines and blogs, and gets in-depth about the role people like Leslie Kong, Tom Wong, and Byron Lee had on the creation of what may be some of your favorite songs and albums.

REVIEW: Sean Paul’s “Imperial Blaze”

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Music comes and goes, especially when you enter the pop marketplace at a certain point and exploit it for all it’s worth. Sean Paul had recorded an album and had appeared on a number of compilations in his native Jamaica before he exploded all over the charts with “Gimme The Light”, “Get Busy”, and “I’m Still In Love With You”. Some dancehall reggae fans were upset because it seemed that Sean Paul was a lightskinned man trying to appeal to lightskinned people, which was interpreted as untrue dancehall. Yet his music was good, he entertained, and traveled around the world for it. His third album (Trinity) seemed to be a deliberate attempt to be more pop friendly, as some of the songs felt more like American R&B, with only hints of the talent he displayed early on in his career.

With Imperial Blaze (VP) it seems the inevitable has happened: Sean Paul wants to be more of an R&B/pop star, and by doing so he ends up sounding like every other R&B/pop star out of Jamaica, which isn’t a good thing when the island has more singers and musicians per square mile than any other place, save for Hawai’i. The music still sounds good, he knows how to pick the best producers to represent him, but here he doesn’t feel like… I was going to say he doesn’t feel like he’s representing himself well, but if this is a new way of giving himself to the world as an artist, maybe it’s time for him to pack it up. The Jamaican accent is undeniable, and I am sure these songs will work to some capacity to some audiences, but he no longer has the power in his music that he once had, it sounds trendy. Hard to believe that he’s been around for ten years, and this album makes it as if he doesn’t want to do anymore past year 11. This Imperial Blaze shouldn’t be extinguished, but he’s doing it to himself.