The year's newsmakers
DESPITE tons of media coverage in 2012, it was not until this year that roots singer Chronixx delivered in a big way. He got the radio hit (Smile Jamaica) that every artiste needs to launch them into the mainstream and has not looked back. Produced by German duo Silly Walks Discotheque on their hot Honey Pot beat, Smile Jamaica set the tone for the rocking Here Comes Trouble. Both songs confirmed Chronixx as a talent in the mould of Garnet Silk, the charismatic roots singer who led a roots-reggae revival of the 1990s. Another plus for the 20-year-old came with a feature story in Billboard magazine in which he was endorsed by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell.
No fading for Kartel
THOUGH he has been in jail for over two years, deejay Vybz Kartel still holds the public's attention. His ongoing trial for the August, 2011 murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams sparked passionate debate in bars, recording studios and on public transport. Kartel, Lenburgh McDonald and Nigel Thompson were cleared of the July, 2011 murder of Barrington Bryan in July, but Kartel remains incarcerated while lawyers fight to resolve the Williams case. While the trial plays out in the Home Circuit Court, Kartel had one of the year's biggest hit songs in School.
Home Again hits home
THE flood of deportees into the Caribbean has been a sensitive issue for regional governments for some time. Home Again, a Canadian-produced film looking at the lives of three Jamaicans deported from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, opened in Trinidad and Tobago in March and had an extended run there. It made its Jamaica debut in September at the Carib cinema. Funded mainly by the film commission in T&T, Home Again is written by Canadian David Sutherland and produced by Jamaica-born, Canada-raised Jennifer Holness. It stars Tatyana Ali (of Fresh Prince of Bel Air fame), Jamaica-born Lyriq Bent and Jamaican veteran Paul Campbell.
Gyptian hold them
THERE has been little success for pop music out of Jamaica in recent years. Gyptian's hit song, Hold Yuh, broke the drought in March when it was certified gold for sales of over 500,000 copies. Released in 2010 by VP Records, its remix with Trinidad-born rapper Nikki Minaj was a hit on the Billboard R&B chart and earned Gyptian a Soul Train Award. The singer's Sex, Love & Reggae album was released by VP in October.
Jimmy comes in harder
FORTY-ONE years ago, Jimmy Cliff became a superstar thanks to his starring role as Ivan in the movie The Harder They Come. This year, the singer won a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album with the aptly titled Rebirth which outsold albums from major dancehall acts including Sean Paul, Shaggy and Vybz Kartel. Cliff also had a big part in a controversial Volkswagen television ad which featured an American actor depicting the Jamaican dialect.
NO live show in Jamaica is as controversial as Sting. For all its theatrics, the annual Boxing Day event has endured and celebrates its 30th anniversary this year at Jamworld Entertainment Complex in Portmore, its longtime home. The brainchild of street cop Isaiah Laing, Sting gained notoriety for verbal clashes between artistes such as Ninjaman, Super Cat, Stitchie, Papa San, Bounty Killer and Merciless. Sting remains the ultimate testing ground for dancehall artistes.