“You haffi dance a yaad before you dance abroad,” is singer Half Pint’s simple justification for officially launching his first album in eight years right here in Jamaica before he takes it anywhere else.
The singer’s highly anticipated studio album, No Stress Express, will have its media launch on Saturday in Montego Bay, at the Half Moon hotel, “and Half Moon is really being very nice to us”, he added. A 16-track offering, it includes tracks such as Unity, featuring Jack Maness from Long Beach All Stars, Bad Boy, featuring Sizzla, Children of His Majesty, featuring Sly and Robbie and Mind Over Matter. The latter, Half Pint told the Observer, is his personal favourite. “It’s produced by Pete from High Rise studio and it really reflects on the power of the mind. Give it a listen,” he urged.
Half Pint’s manager, Loyal Haylett, told the Observer that he is very excited about this new album, which has been a year-and-a half in the making.
“This is a must-have album for anybody who has been following Half Pint for years. It tells the story of his life, that’s why he’s telling everybody that it’s a no stress express, come take a ride,” Haylett said, adding that the album has a laid-back message which crosses barriers and brings together the old and the new.
In keeping with the theme, Half Pint uses a section of the CD booklet to offer tips on how to relieve stress – soak your feet in epsom salts, for example.
Heading Half Pint’s management team for 15 years, Haylett was full of praise for the singer, whom he described as “a humble person who manages to stay away from the hype and negativity sometimes associated with the music”.
Half Pint, who toured extensively last year, kicks off his tour season Valentine’s weekend in London, after which he moves on to Arizona, USA for a six-week stint.
Half Pint has enjoyed a long history of success dating back to the early 1980’s. He was the first major artiste produced by Prince Jammy (later King Jammy), and together they helped establish a lighter, more relaxed, more melodic approach to dancehall. His first big hit, Winsome, was later covered by the Rolling Stones in 1986 (under the new title Too Rude). Many hits followed: Money Man Skank, One in a Million, One Big Family, Pouchie Lou, the socially conscious Mr Landlord, and the all-time dancehall classic Level the Vibes. The huge hit, Substitute Lover came in 1992, and in 1996 the rock group Sublime covered another Half Pint classic, Loving.
No Stress Espress will be distributed via Universal Music Group Distribution, and a digitally remastered Greatest Hits compilation is to be distributed by IDN. In addition, Essential Music Group intends to release the entire Half Pint back catalogue on CD, including availability through I-Tunes and all major digital outlets. No Stress Espress will be released worldwide on March 11.
(Picture: Half Pint (left) and manager Loyal Haylett)
Yasmine Peru, Entertainment editor firstname.lastname@example.org
-Jamaica Observer Jan 24, 2008