News

News

The Apollo Series continues with Jamaica's brightest talents

Kingston’s newest, most interesting arts event, The Apollo Series, is set to excite again at The Haven, 12 Hillcrest Avenue, on Saturday, June 30, with a fusion of Reggae, Dub and Hip Hop. The featured acts for this third staging are local Hip Hop artiste Dizzy the iLL One and Reggae artistes 5 Star and Aza Lineage.

“We have unearthed a lot of talents since we started in January and we have presented top acts that are currently on the rise,” says Simon the Writer, the host and organiser. “Our line-up for June 30 is no different as these artistes are poised to make their marks on the musical landscape very soon.”

Dizzy the iLL One is regarded as one of the most skilled and versatile rappers in the local Hip Hop fraternity and is preparing to release new music later this year. 5 Star has also made a name for himself as a lyricist and has held his own on recent singles produced by Bobby Digital’s Digital B Records and Kabaka Pyramid. The second Reggae act Aza Lineage is one of the female artistes currently gaining attention on the live scene and is currently working on an album with King Jammy.

Part-showcase, part-open stage, The Apollo Series features three main performers as well as an opportunity for musicians, poets, to take the stage for a maximum of five minutes. The featured acts each perform at two points in the show – a concept called ‘rotating sets’ – with the open stage segments taking place in between their first appearances. They then appear one after the other for the second round.

Gates open at 7 p.m. and showtime is 8 p.m. Admission is $500.

The Apollo Series is presented by A.C.T.I.O.N. Jamaica and is sponsored by The Haven and Marketing Plus Communications.

Last modified on Tuesday, 19 June 2018 00:52

Nomad Carlos ft Five Steez - Back Home (Video)

Independent Hip Hop artist Nomad Carlos makes a phone call in his latest video to find out the happenings Back Home. Currently based in New York, he touches base with fellow member of The Council, Five Steez, out in their stomping grounds of Kingston, Jamaica.

Directed and edited by David ‘Enco’ Dacosta, the music video’s grainy feel complements the eerie sound crafted by producer, Sosa. Carlos and Steez go back and forth, discussing new developments and sniffing out a snake in their circle.

Back Home is featured on The Nomad Carlos Project which was released in early April.

Last modified on Saturday, 19 May 2018 01:47

Hip Hop, Reggae and Poetry find the right balance at The Apollo Series

The new open stage event, The Apollo Series, returns on Saturday, April 28, at The Haven, 12 Hillcrest Avenue, with an eclectic and diverse line-up that fuses different musical genres with poetry. Scheduled to perform on the second staging since its first in January are local rapper Scantana, alongside electronic band Pseudokhule, Reggae songstress Lila Ike and spoken word poet Chereese Lavonne.

Part-showcase, part-open stage, The Apollo Series features three main performers as well as an opportunity for musicians, poets, dancers and comedians to share their talents.

“Our first staging was excellent,” says host and organiser, Simon the Writer. “All of our acts delivered and our open stage revealed a lot of exceptional talent. We were also very pleased with the attendance of our patrons who we must thank for their overwhelming support.”

January’s initial staging of The Apollo Series was headlined by poet Simon the Writer, local Hip Hop collective The Council and Reggae artiste Koro Fyah.

The Apollo Series features what Simon the Writer calls ‘rotating sets’, where the night’s scheduled acts deliver their performances and then return to the stage later to deliver another. In between the headliners’ sets, the stage is open for a short period to willing performers in the audience.

“We saw all types of talents from people at all levels,” says Simon. “Some were already pros who were in attendance and chose to share. For some, it was their first time, and they did well with the encouragement from the crowd.”

On April 28, one can expect the open stage to be just as engaging, as well as see top-notch showings from the night’s featured performers. Scantana, known as the ‘man with the most grammar’, will display his skill over music produced live by Pseudokhule, while Lila Ike, who is part of Protoje’s In.Digg.Nation Collective, will be joined by her musicians for an interesting, acoustic set. The lone poet Chereese Lavonne, who recently started her own open mic series titled Speak, will provide the literary element for the night.

Admission is $500 and showtime is 8PM.

The Apollo Series is being presented by A.C.T.I.O.N. Jamaica and is sponsored by the Main Event Entertainment Group and Marketing Plus Communications.

Last modified on Wednesday, 18 April 2018 02:30

Five Steez

The 13th Annual Trinity International Hip Hop Festival

What a weekend! I live a blessed life. I was fortunate enough to receive the opportunity to represent, not just for myself, but, for my country and our local Hip Hop movement at the 13th Trinity International Hip Hop Festival at Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut on April 6 - 8. Each year, the festival features notable Hip Hop acts from all over the world. This year, I was invited to perform, joining a roster of acts from the US (Noname, Taylor Bennett, Political Animals, Demi Day), Canada (Keysha Freshh), Cuba (David Omni & Esquadron Patriota), the Dominican Republic (Hache ST), Cabo Verde (Old City) and South Africa (Klein Fortuin).

I had known about this festival for some years now, through Clubba Lang of DotGotIt.com, which has been supporting me since 2010. Clubba was then living in Connecticut, and while he doesn't any more, Dot still does. And Dot and I got to link, which was great. I also knew of the festival through Greg Schick, who could be the most knowledgeable person about the different Hip Hop scenes globally. Greg and I had been in touch for years as well. I had done features for his label Nomadic Wax. Their website gave my 2012 debut album, War for Peace, a favourable review, and his site World Hip Hop Market ranked my 2014 EP, These Kingston Times, as one of the year's best international releases. The Trinity International Hip Hop Festival has a submission process through which independent acts can seek to perform. I had submitted previously but was not selected. At the end of 2017, Greg told me the committee was inviting me to perform. 

It was an honour to be at a festival that has featured the likes of Rakim, Dead Prez, Talib Kweli and MC Lyte. I shared the stage with respected Hip Hop acts from different scenes... quite literally, because the show ended with a cypher featuring all of us trading bars... and I connected with numerous personalities and made new fans and acquaintances who may now become collaborators and friends. 

Inevitably, I may leave out someone with whom I interacted, and for that, I apologize. Special respect goes out to Minister Server, who hosted Saturday's stage show and even 'served' as my hypeman. Also, Dr. Jesse Benjamin, who dropped a lot of knowledge in his panel and blessed me with a Walter Rodney T-Shirt. My favourite panel was Brian Coleman, Pete Nice of 3rd Bass and Stretch Armstrong of the legendary Stretch & Bobbito show chronicling the history of Hip Hop through party flyers and party stories dating from the 70s up into the 90s. I got to speak to both Pete and Stretch after the panel. Pete reminded me that 3rd Bass DJ, Richie Rich aka Daddy Rich, was born in Jamaica. When I told Stretch I was from Jamaica, he told me a little known story about how his show got started, assisted by his now best friend, Dylan Powe, a Jamaican in the industry who had gotten Inner Circle and Garnett Silk their record deals with Atlantic Records. The Jamaican involvement in Hip Hop has always been deep. Pete even said that DJ Kool Herc was hosting jams before the famed August 11, 1973 back-to-school jam. He said that was an epic night which is great to start the folklore, but Herc was doing stuff from as early as 1971. Emile YX from South Africa's Black Noise, as well as MC Pous and Dana Burton of China also had another interesting panel about free speech and censorship in their respective countries. Emile took us through his experience of protesting Apartheid in his music while Pous and Dana shattered Western misconceptions of Chinese government and society.

Outside of panels, the festival also featured a dance competition on the Friday night, graffiti walls and a patio showcase on Saturday afternoon. Sunday was the DJ and producer showcase of which I caught a part before heading to the airport with Keysha Freshh and one of the festival's organisers. I missed the graffiti in the park, however, which was happening simultaneously. 

Saturday night was the big show. And by all accounts, I rocked the place. I had a lot of fun and got a lot of love from the crowd, especially the front row, which was super-energetic and excited. Due to sound check getting off on a bad foot, as the engineer explained it to me, there wasn't any more time for me to do mine, although the headliners and the bands that were playing did theirs. That evening, I was back-and-forth between a studio on campus and the show venue, attempting to do my sound check and an interview with Rene John-Sandy and DJ Sabotage for the Global Love Warming podcast all in the same time frame. At least, I got the interview done, making me the first act to return to the podcast. We also got some great visual content as the show was also filmed.

As for sound check, I was assured by the engineer that there would be no issues, and there were none that occurred that weren't addressed immediately on the fly. The sound team did a good job and so did DJ Boo, who added the extra flair to my set, without us doing any rehearsal, sound check or having any real discussion about what we were going to do. That's how pros work. What was crazy was Minister Server, chilling in the background, working the crowd as my hypeman on the mic. I think I did a good set. I opened up with songs from These Kingston Times (Deadly & Welcome) and then went into Dirty Couch from HeatRockz. I then performed Encore for the first time. I also did songs like Rebel Music and a piece of Slaving on the Plantation. I ended my set with some high energy thanks to True School, and I topped it off with a short freestyle at the end, bigging up Trinity College and my DJ for the night. 

I was well received on the night and it was love all around, from patrons to fellow performers. Maximum respect also to Matthew, DJ Trouble Kidd, Cody, Giselle and Akayla who made sure I was good, helping me get around and showing me the place.

I was happy to have finally made it to this festival. I see it as an acknowledgement of my work over the years and also a recognition of the Hip Hop community in Jamaica. Given the significant contribution of Jamaica and Jamaicans to Hip Hop culture, I feel it is only right for us to have a seat at the 'Hip Hop United Nations', if you get my drift. I am the first Jamaican act that has appeared at the festival. I hope I return again, but I also hope I'm not the last or the only. Hopefully, next time, it will be The Council at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival. 

Photos by Thomas De Los Santos

Five Steez

Five Steez

Five Steez 

Five Steez

Last modified on Tuesday, 10 April 2018 05:32

Five Steez at the Trinity International Hip Hop Festival

I will be live at the 13th annual Trinity International Hip Hop Festival on Saturday, April 7 at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut! I have wanted to appear at this festival for at least the past five years. It is now a reality. Major respect goes out to Magee, Greg Schick, the students and faculty at Trinity College and everyone else involved! I hope to have a fun time and put on a good show. Highlights will surely be shared here on the site. 

 

Last modified on Thursday, 05 April 2018 05:39

The Quarter Inch Kings x Five Steez - Get Props

"The most dangerous, ya guaranteed favourite..." Five Steez is an emcee's emcee for anyone that needs reminding that lyrics matter. A true school lyricist representing 1/4 of Kingston Jamaica's The Council, the talented wordsmith shows grit in his penmanship guaranteed to 'Get Props' on this latest installment produced and manufactured by Toronto producers, The Quarter Inch Kings. 

Last modified on Monday, 26 March 2018 00:41

The Council Performance at The Apollo Series

This is how it went down at A.C.T.I.O.N. Jamaica's The Apollo Series on January 27. The Council performed for the first time since the release of Nothing Else Matters, albeit without Nomad Carlos. It was an epic night. These highlights cover just about the entire set(s). Yes, we did two sets as that's a part of the event's concept of 'rotating sets' for the featured acts.

Last modified on Saturday, 17 March 2018 16:17

People look to new event series for Hip Hop

A Hip Hop event in Jamaica is a rare occurrence, and chances are if you have ever been to or heard of one, it would be Pay Attention, Jamaica’s premier Hip Hop event from 2012 to 2015. The team behind Pay Attention is now presenting Made You Look, a new Hip Hop party series, set to begin on Saturday, March 31 at Stone’s Throw Bar, 1B Mannings Hill Road.

Made You Look will feature Hip Hop and R&B music, including selections from the local scene, played by Inztinkz, Gilly LvLz & DJ Elmo. The night will also be topped off by a live cypher featuring Inztinkz, Five Steez and The Sickest Drama – three-fourths of the Hip Hop collective, The Council, which also runs the Pay Attention movement.

This will be the second staging of Made You Look since a ‘pilot’ was held in May 2017. “The local scene has been missing this flavour for some time now,” says Five Steez. “We had an impact with Pay Attention and we want to do the same again. We want to provide people with a space to enjoy some quality Hip Hop music all night and we intend to make it a regular thing.”

Inztinkz, who also serves as resident DJ for Made You Look, says, “Patrons can expect to hear everything from old school Hip Hop, straight through the golden eras to the new school, both mainstream and underground.”

The night’s cypher is also bound to be entertaining. The Council is fresh off the 2017 release of its album, Nothing Else Matters, and its new music video, Council Arts. “We’re going to give them lyrics as usual,” says The Sickest Drama. “It won’t be a regular performance, however. We’re going to keep it spontaneous so you never know what may happen.”

Admission to Made You Look is $500 and ladies enter two-for-one.

Last modified on Saturday, 03 March 2018 16:40

The Council releases its first music video from Nothing Else Matters

The Council, has released its first music video, for the song, Council Arts, from its album, Nothing Else Matters. Directed by Scotty Dreamkiller, shot by Warren Buckle and edited by David ‘Enco’ DaCosta, it shows The Council in an intense cypher, with exciting visual effects complementing it.

Originally released in September 2015, Council Arts was the first track recorded by long-time collaborators Five Steez, The Sickest Drama, Inztinkz and Nomad Carlos under the name, The Council. It also appears as the first song, after the Intro, on the crew’s album, which was made available in September 2017.

On the track, the four MCs trade powerful verses over a hard-hitting boom-bap beat with a rich female vocal sample, chopped by Inztinkz, the group’s producer.

Nothing Else Matters, which also boasts art direction by Scotty Dreamkiller (Jomé Anderson) and Warren Buckle, features neck-snapping drums and majestic instrumentation, matched by superb rapping, articulating an unheard ‘third world’ perspective, but a narrative similar to other cities globally, The album is available on CD and digitally at http://bit.ly/TheCouncilAlbum, and on online outlets such as iTunes, Spotify etc.

The Council is Kingston, Jamaica’s champion team for the Hip Hop culture, consistently releasing music as solo artistes over the past decade and staging events. The collective has collaborated musically for many years, culminating in the production of Kingston's premier Hip Hop event, Pay Attention, from 2012 - 2015, and most recently, its late 2017 album, Nothing Else Matters.

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 February 2018 05:06

New showcase The Apollo Series combines music, poetry

Music, poetry and other forms of art will be the highlight of a new event – The Apollo Series – set to take place at The Haven, 12 Hillcrest Avenue on Saturday, January 27. The showcase will feature three main performers as well as an open stage for musicians, poets, dancers and comedians.

The first staging of The Apollo Series will be headlined by poet Simon the Writer, local Hip Hop collective The Council and Reggae artiste Koro Fyah.

Simon the Writer, also the host and organiser, says, “Our show will have what I call ‘rotating sets’, where our featured acts will deliver a performance and then return to the stage later to deliver another.” In between the headliners’ sets, the stage will be open for a short period to willing performers in the audience. “There are not many places or events where upcoming talent can hone their skills and be heard,” says Simon. “We see The Apollo Series as being the perfect platform. We will also give you a variety of quality acts in a different format.”

Simon the Writer is a published poet who has won several Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) awards. He will be followed by Five Steez, Inztinkz and The Sickest Drama of The Council, a four-member collective that recently released its album, Nothing Else Matters. The event’s trio of performers will be completed by Bebble Rock Records’ Koro Fyah, who is still promoting his 2016 debut EP, Rough Diamond.

Admission is $500 and showtime is 8PM.

The Apollo Series is being presented by A.C.T.I.O.N. Jamaica and is sponsored by the Main Event Entertainment Group and Marketing Plus Communications.

Last modified on Saturday, 06 January 2018 15:12
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