International Reggae star Mr. Vegas is urging fellow musicians and music fans to sign the Save Foundation Reggae petition – an appeal to radio disc jockeys to include the music of classic or ‘foundation’ Reggae pioneers like Dennis Brown, Bob Marley, Culture, and Alton Ellis into their Island Hop-driven playlists. The online petition also makes an appeal to Jamaica’s current crop of producers, who have flooded radio with Hip Hop inspired beats instead of the island’s signature bass-heavy rhythms.
“Reggae music is like the heartbeat of Jamaican people and culture, and now it is barely played on popular radio stations anymore,” says Clifford ‘Mr. Vegas’ Smith. “Young people today have no idea who Cynthia Schloss or Hortense Ellis or Delroy Wilson are. These are people, who pioneered Reggae, who created a space for people like Sean Paul, and even Sean Kingston and Iyaz to be pop stars. Radio barely plays foundation Reggae, and many of our producers have abandoned traditional Reggae and Dancehall rhythms for American sounding Hip Hop beats. This petition is to let them know that foundation Reggae is still a crucial part of our culture and we must preserve our musical heritage and legacy.”
Furthering his Reggae mission, Vegas, a MOBO award winner known for Billboard charting smash singles like “Heads High,” “Pull Up,” and urban radio bangers “Tek Weh Yuhself,” “Hot Wuk,” “I Am Blessed” and “Gallis,” will take a bold new step by releasing Sweet Jamaica, his first full Reggae album. Scheduled to drop in 2012, Sweet Jamaica will feature over a dozen Ska and foundation Reggae singles – a departure from his usual Dancehall-fueled releases. The album’s lead single “Sweet Jamaica” has already been embraced by Reggae and Dancehall fans around the globe, hitting #1 on Reggae charts in Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States earlier this year, while the video, which also features Shaggy and Josey Wales, hit #1 on the MTV Base Dancehall video charts.
“Next year will be Jamaica’s 50th anniversary as an independent nation. Reggae music was born roughly around the same time that Jamaica became a free nation,” says Mr. Vegas. “I am working on the ‘Sweet Jamaica’ album which celebrates the past fifty years of Jamaican music. Everything on the album is goning to be foundation – covers of foundation Reggae classics, and original material with foundation Reggae and Ska beats and melodies. Our music has become very diverse over past half-century, but at the core it is still foundation Reggae. I really want to bring the foundation back into contemporary popular culture.”