Right now is an exciting time for New Zealand dancehall. The quality of the local sound is on the rise and becoming noticed here and abroad. With the likes of local MCs such as Silva, Jah Red Lion and Israel Star bringing the sound to the masses over top-notch beats and riddims produced in our own backyard (check out local heavy hitters ‘High Stakes’ who reached no.1 in Jamaica), things are beginning to hot up big style.
‘This Time’ is the love child of mainstay and boss of the mighty ‘Back-a-Yard Sound System, Jules Longdon-Prisk AKA DJ Grassroots. This full-length, self-released album was the product of several years of blood, sweat, tears and ramen noodles, as Grassroots put his working life on hold to get this labor of passion out to the public. With a few favors called in and a massive chunk of savings, Grassroots dropped ‘This Time’ in mid 2011. It is a journey through a few sound-scapes and genres, but always has the sound Grassroots holds so dear at the root of each chat and verse.
The album kicks off with an instant banger featuring man of the moment Ras Stone, and the sweet sounds of Taups. It continues to build through the next few tracks that define Grassroots’ 90s ragga sound with ‘Fatty Boom Style’ and ‘Ready Fi Bust’.
The production is tight and transcends genres – there is hip-hop, dub, roots, and a touch of bashment for good measure, all the while coming through with the digital sound of the late 80s early 90s. The album carries through at a strong pace until it hits the stand out tune, ‘Seems Like’. Grassroots released this tune for free prior to dropping the album and it is an amazing example of his versatile style (stay tuned for an upcoming release on this riddim by one of the current super stars of dancehall).
Grassroots has finally started to play some of the tracks from this album live and recently put on an amazing show supporting Gappy Ranks at Auckland’s Ponsonby Social Club. If you where lucky enough to be there you would have seen him most certainly get the party started before a killer set from the man himself, Gappy.
‘This Time’ is available at selected record stores nationwide or via digital download at www.djgrassroots.com/album/this-time. With people like Grassroots around it is safe to say dancehall is in good hands in New Zealand.