Veteran bemoans today's selectors
VETERAN selector Danny RAS, formerly Danny Dreadlocks, says most selectors today are pandering to the works of the devil and have abandoned the righteous path set by himself and other selectors, who are largely responsible for the early growth of the dancehall idiom of Jamaica's popular music.
"We started out burning out the devil and imploring people to turn from their evil ways and do the right. In everything you have the devil who push up himself. There is some element that leading the youths in a different world. It has gone a way where the women are dancing on their heads," he said.
Born Eric Ffrench, the 56-year-old selector has been manoeuvring turntables since 1973 when he was only 18 years old. At the time the dancehall was known as a place and not a movement as it is now, and the emphasis in that era was on educating, informing and entertaining the patrons with music that was culturally uplifting.
He was highly critical of today's popular selectors who seem to revel in lewd music that caters to the lowest common denominator.
"They seem to love to promote hatred and greed. Sometimes it is the selector who curse the worse words. Some of these selectors' mouths need to be washed out with Jeyes. It is a far cry from what we left," he said.
The Rastafarian selector was also critical of some radio disc jocks who he said fuelled the negativity by giving certain tunes heavy rotation dispute their negative message.
"Certain songs that are played on radio must be banned. Sometimes it is the selectors and promoters who contribute to the denigration of our music," he said.
The current trend of bleaching did not escape his wrath.
"There is some evil force out there. If you notice some of the man them change the colour of them skin. Is Jah time coming so it look like the devil say this is the time to see how many him can capture," he said.
Danny Ras is now the man behind the turntables for the long time sound system Addies International who he says will spearhead the renaissance of the country popular music.
"Certain songs won't ever be played by me," he told the Observer.
His lengthy career in sound system selecting began on the once popular I Oses sound and has seen him spin songs on King Attorney, Volcano, Studio 54, Papa Roots Hi Fi, King Jammys. Volcano, Stereo Mars, Stur Gav and King Addies where he will resume at the helm.
Born and raised in the inner city community of Greenwich Town, Danny Ras has been instrumental in the rise of many veteran entertainers including Ranking Trevor, U Brown, Burru Banton, Super Cat and the late Nicodemus.
Popular singer Barrington Levy offered an ode to his selecting prowess with his famous slur 'Pull it Danny Dready Oh!'. Levy also made mention of the veteran selector in his song Under Mi Sensi which was penned when Danny Ras used to select on the Volcano sound system.
..And dem look pan Danny Dread
Dem say hey natty dreadlocks a whe you come from?
You must have two stick a sensi under you tam.
Him no officer lord you must be mad
Me only smoke cigarette and strictly shag.