No-Play Zone

BY NEKIESHA REID Observer writer

Thursday, June 28, 2012    

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EIGHT years after moving his New York-based business in Jamaica, America-born David Kennedy said he is having great difficulty getting his music played on air.

The Grammy-nominated producer and engineer said he has worked with hip hop's elite including Mary J Blige, Mos Def and A Tribe Called Quest.

"My music isn't Jamaican, per se," he said. "If there isn't a known 'farin' artiste on it, there's no interest."

Kennedy grew up in Kingston and left to attend university in the States in 1976. He said good music is not played on Jamaica's airwaves because what is pervailing now is an "ahtist" industry.

"What people want to hear is "junk content and catchy hooks," Kennedy said. "It's not about the music anymore; it's about the individual regardless of his talent."

Kennedy worked as an engineer on Mary J Blige's 1992 debut album What's the 411?; Super Cat's Don Dada (1992); Patra's Scent of Attraction (1995); Shabba Ranks' Xtra Naked (1992); Dru Hill's Dru Hill (1996); Heavy D and the Boyz's Peaceful Journey (1991); Mad Cobra's Milkman (1996); and, Keith Richards Talk is Cheap (1988).

He said his hip-hop music is not the "commercial grade" that is commonly available.

He said his refusal to pay disc jockeys is another reason his music is not being played.

But radio disc jockey Collin Hines says there is nothing wrong with refusing to play music that is not mainstream.

"Radio's mandate is not to play obscure music or something that isn't commercially viable," Hines said.

"We have to balance what our audience wants to hear and what they will catch on to," he said.

Hines believes there are unscrupulous people in the business who will not play a song without being paid whether it is good or bad.

"Good music is something deejays hunt for. Personally, if you have to pay me to play your music, something is wrong with it," he added.

Kennedy, who produced local singer Cezar's Keep On in 2007, said what is now available on the airwaves is wanting.

"The bar is very low now," he said. "You won't bump your head. You'll trip."



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