Earlier this year, Inner Circle teamed with Chronixx for a 2015 re-make of “Tenement Yard,” their classic 1975 single with singer Jacob Miller. The track, sub-titled “News Carryin Dread,” features a sample of Killer Miller’s original staccato vocals from the track. The “Bad Boys of Reggae” have taken the re-up a step further, releasing a full selection of tracks on the riddim, from Jesse Royal, Bugle, Tanya Stephens and Daniel Bambaata Marley, among others.
Hip-hop’s new favorite dancehall deejay Assassin also makes a contribution of particular note. On “What’s Da Story,” Agent Sasco asks for clarity regarding recent announcements pertaining to marijuana laws in Jamaica and the USA. “Hey what’s the story, is it for real now?” the “Idiot Ting” deejay asks. “Did they really legalize the weed now? Is it still offense to plant a tree now?” All good questions, and ones we’re seeking answers on, too.
Listen to “What’s the Story” below, stream all of the new tracks pon the Tenement Yard riddim at Inner Circle’s Soundcloud, and catch Assassin live at LargeUp’s fourth annual Winter Music Massive this Sunday in Miami, in his first US appearance since collaborating with Kendrick Lamar for “The Blacker The Berry.”
On this day in 1980 legendary #reggae singer Jacob “Killer” Miller died in a tragic car accident on Hope Road in Kingston Jamaica. “I was sitting with my father in Hope Road when he heard the news on Sunday,” recalls Rohan Marley. “Jacob and my Father always spend time together on Sundays.” Miller was one of reggae’s greatest performers.
His merry, manic brilliance shines through clearly in the crucial 1980 concert doc Heartland Reggae, particularly the performance of “Tired Fe Lick Weed In A Bush” during which he puffs a huge spliff on stage while using his microphone to taunt the cops at the venue before somebody hands him a police cap and he starts chanting “Babylon, Babylon falling down.” He spent just 27 years on earth but the #Rockers music he made with Inner Circle and Augustus Pablo shall live forever. In fact, one of his classic cuts with the Bad Boys of Reggae, “Tenement Yard,” is enjoying a major resurgence 40 years after its release.
Each Friday, Billboard presents Tomorrow’s Hits, a weekly look at new and noteworthy acts making their way toward Billboard chart success
Dr. Luke’s new signee Lunchmoney Lewis makes his Pop Songs debut at No. 38 with his catchy and comedic “Bills” (Kemosabe/Columbia) (up 115 percent in plays, according to Nielsen Music). The Florida native previously built cachet as a featured act on Nicki Minaj’s “Trini Dem Girls” (on The Pinkprint). Artists including One Direction’s Liam Payne and Meghan Trainor have supported “Bills” by sharing it on Twitter.
Fun fact: Lewis grew up in a musical family and his father, Ian Lewis, and uncle Roger Lewis helped found Jamaican reggae group Inner Circle. The act’s household-name hit “Bad Boys,” aka the theme from Fox’s Cops, reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1993. -Amaya Mendizabal
Local favorites Fletcher’s Grove will take the stage at the V Club tonight, April 10, following an opening act that is new to Huntington.
Elementree Livity Project is a Cincinnati-based band that has been branching out since its inception two years ago, touring in a wider circle on both sides of the Ohio River Valley. The band plays a combination of reggae and rock music based on a message of universal love and musical family.
The Elementree Livity Project came together in the northern suburbs of Cincinnati when musicians in various other bands decided to combine forces. The group includes David “Elementree” Danforth on guitar and vocals, Brandon “Bean” Bastin on lead guitar and vocals, Stephen Buttree on sax, ute, keyboards and vocals, Michael Walker on bass and Cisco Hughes on drums.
Fletcher’s Grove and the Elementree Livity Project will perform tonight at the V Club. The show is ages 18 and up and tickets are $10.
“I would say that we were rooted in reggae from the very start, but I wouldn’t necessarily put us right in that category because if somebody asked us about our sound that had never seen us, the first thing I would say is ‘reggae rock,’” said Walker. “We’re not strictly roots reggae like the Bob Marley or Jimmy Cliffs of the world. But, we’re not strictly a rock band alike AC/DC either. We’ve got a little bit of jamband to us, too, but we’re not really the Grateful Dead. We kind of occupy some space that exists in-between all of those areas.”
When it comes to the sound that the Elementree Livity Project throws out onstage and on their new EP You’re Not Ready, the bass is a key instrument for holding up the rhythmic bottom. Unlike many other bassists in the world who stumble across the instrument because no one else wants to play it, Walker wanted to pluck the four-string from the beginning.
“The bass was the first instrument that I picked up that I was serious about,” said Walker. “The first instrument that I picked up and said, ‘Man, I’m going to learn how to do this,’ was the bass guitar and that happened shortly after the first big, live rock concert that I attended. I was taken aback by the power of the instrument. It was a Tom Petty concert in 1994, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on the Wildflowers tour. His bass player was Howie Epstein at the time, God rest his soul. And, quite honestly, everybody else that I knew played guitar. I had four or five buddies that were looking to start bands and they were playing guitar. I was like, ‘Well, nobody is playing bass, so I’m going to get picked first.’ I picked it up and I fell in love with it and I’ve been grooving ever since.”
The goal of the Elementree Livity Project is to be one of the best live bands in the region, laying down a solid foundation for the fans to dance upon.
“For me, as a player, I like to make people move,” said Walker. “It is part of why I have always been attracted to the instrument that is the bass guitar and performing live with it. I can look out into the crowd and connect with people not only auditorily but also physically. I can actually make people move with sound waves, and I can influence the way they move around the room by the way that I play rhythmically. I can’t help it myself, as I move a fair amount when I play as well.”
After the Elementree Livity Project opens for Fletcher’s Grove tonight, the two bands will also share the bill at a special Record Store Day Party at the club Bogart’s in Cincinnati on April 20.
“We have not played the V Club yet so this is our first trip to Huntington and we’re excited about it,” said Walker. “We have been doing the weekend warrior-type of tours and we have been testing the waters in places like Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland and spreading out in our home state here in Ohio and in Northern Kentucky. But, one of our focuses this year is to travel to the cities that are within three hours and six hours of home and branch out a little bit and lay down the framework for an extended tour later on this summer or fall. We have not met the guys in Fletcher’s Grove other than knowing of their reputation and seeing each other’s activity online. I do know that they have done well for themselves out that way. We haven’t played any shows together yet, and to my knowledge, I don’t know that anybody from either camp has met one another. But, we’re excited to make the connection and bring them out this way, and to head out that way to support them as well.”
This edition’s topics: Jo Mersa, Capleton and Marley brothers highlighting the 9 Mile Festival in Miami, Florida / Festivities on February 6th in celebration of Bob Marley’s 70th birthday / Inner Circle remembering the late great Jacob Miller and working on new album and riddim selection with rising stars from the new roots movement / Reggae Month in Jamaica with Dennis Brown Tribute, JaRIA Honour Awards and Blue Mountain Music Festival attracts fans from all over the world / Co-Host: Inner Circl