THE RASP of Sizzla in hardcore style on Get To The Point alternated with his lyrical lilt to the ladies on Words of Divine , as he anchored Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest 2004’s International Night 1, in unapologetic, fiery fashion.
Rap from Ludacris and Kanye West, the roots of Richie Spice, Chuck Fender, Natty King and the Colin ‘Iley Dread’ Levy led King of Kings family, harmony and co-ordination from TOK and Mackie Conscious playing bass as he sang Disciplined Child made for a varied plate at Catherine Hall, Montego Bay, on Friday night.
It was served up to a large audience, with the red green and gold flags that dominated for the night, giving way briefly to fingers as Kanye West asked for “diamonds in the air”.
BEVY OF DANCERS
The trio Brick and Lace and Tami Chin utilised turntables in starting out the night, the former co-ordinating in voice and movement in concluding that “everytime you come around/I lose my sanity”. With ZQ Liquid at the turntables and a bevy of dancers on stage, Tami Chin put the inspirational Shine Your Light into a set which ended with Hyperventilated.
With the SANE Band providing the music, Mackie Conscious delivered a roots reggae set that started with World In Trouble and went into What If , before he asked “can I play you a song?” He straped on his guitar and the band went into Disciplined Child , whistles rising when he held a long note on “go”.
He utilised the call and response on his song about finding his partner pregnant by another man to exit, chuckling “yu sey mi fi run? Arright, me gone”.
The King of Kings family put the lady first, Genie Slick doing Money Problem on the ‘Coolie Dance’ rhythm. Her glasses were removed for the roots of I Am Woman . It was truly a family affair, as Iley Dread invited Black Lion, Chrishinti, U-Roy and Genie Slick, who filled in for Lady Saw on Walk and Don’t Look Back to share his set.
Natty King introduced himself as “the man from the east” from off stage, the audience reacting to his deep tones, and he showed his confidence in his music by starting with the hit No Guns To Town , the audience reacting enthusiastically. Reminding all that it was HIM Haile Selassie’s birthday, King did Man From The East and Mr. Greedy , his deep voice rolling powerfully over Catherine Hall.
He went on the lovers’ side with Love Me and ended with a track that begged the producers to voice young artistes.
TOK put on a co-ordinated mad run, the lead singer went off stage and onto the fence separating the VIP area to hype the audience, involved a fire dancer and had the girls in a heat with Gal Dem Way and Galang Gal . They were unapologetic with Chi Chi Man Yard and ended on a heartfelt note with I Believe .
Kanye West asked for diamonds and got them, co-ordinating with a keyboard player/singer – and music from the turntables – in a set that mixed the old school and the new hardcore and R&B. The familiar ‘To the wire’ was fused with ‘When it all falls down’ and West ended on the note that ‘God show me the way’.
Ludacris was loud and hardcore, doing it the ‘Dirty South Way’ as the audience chanted along with his Area Code . When he commanded Let The Party Begin it was already well under way – and thousands helped him instruct “move bitch, get out the way”.
Anthony Cruz preceded Fifth Element stablemate Richie Spice, the latter opening with It No Pretty . There were ‘forwards’ gal;ore as he worked his way up to Earth A Run Red – and he was not finished, as he went slow with Give A Little Love . Grooving My Girl continued the slow trend, Marijuana getting an exultant response.
Chuck Fenda started strong with I Swear , Life Rough Out Deh and Better Days , winding down to Murderer and ending with the plea “Lord, only you know what tomorrow may bring”.
It was Sizzla’s time and, from the first line of Praise Ye Jah from off-stage through to the closing Thank You Mama he blazed, stomped, sang, deejayed and burnt fire on gays without apology. The depth of his catalogue, in which he did mostly snippets of his hits, was underscored by the songs that he did not do, such as No Time To Gaze and Black Woman and Child .
And, in the middle of his structured set, Sizzla said it was his time now and dropped a freestyle gangster, guns loaded lyric. The crowd roared.
By Mel Cooke, Freelance Writer