Shaks 'Rising' quality of music
CONSCIOUSNESS has been a password in reggae since the roots explosion of the 1970s. It is something Wayne Walker of Shaks Promotions has always identified.
The New York City-based businessman recently opened a state-of-the art recording studio in Queens. He says he "would rather say God and love and unity any day over slackness".
Walker noted that he is not anti-dancehall, but says he opposes any form of lewd music.
"Mi just can't tek the slackness. My songs have to be clean, positive and nice."
No surprise then that his first production, a 'riddim' called Rising, is straight reggae. It was created by Stephen 'Di Genius' McGregor, one of the top dancehall producers in the last five years.
Luciano's Jah Is Stronger, Jah Preserve My Soul by Capleton and Fantan Moja's Dem Never Know are some of the songs on the Rising rhythm for which much is expected.
Among Walker's collaborators at Shaks Promotions is Ainsworth 'Bassie' Clarke whom he says has been making "some solid one drop riddims".
Their goal, Walker stressed, is not just making hit songs.
"I watch a lot of movies and I am sometimes amazed at how reggae music is increasingly being used in these productions. Reggae has gone and is still going places and I know what I am planning to do to take it even higher," he said.
A graduate of the former Kingston Senior School, Walker is from Fletcher's Land in West Kingston. One of his mentors is veteran producer, Whitfield 'Witty' Henry whom he credits for igniting his passion
"Witty is also from Fletcher's Land. His father was the JP (Justice of the Peace) in the community and you could say that Witty grow me. So from I was going to school, I used to work at Witty's record shop in Savannah Plaza," Walker recalled. "I would bleach at the studio during the all-night sessions. In those days, it was 12-track (recording tapes) and I was the one who would carry the duffel bag with the 12-track, so music has been and will always be part of my life."
Walker opened Shaka studio just over a decade after he migrated to the Big Apple. It is his turn to call
"This studio is a dream come through and the idea is for Shaks to be the "go-to" studio in New York for the production of reggae music," Walker declared.