What's Spragga up to?

BY SIMONE MORGAN Observer staff reporter

Friday, September 13, 2013

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IT has been two weeks since Spragga Benz and fellow deejay Bounty Killer rocked a full house at the Pulse Entertainment complex in St Andrew.

For 44-year-old Spragga Benz, it was a homecoming of sorts as he had not performed in Jamaica for sometime.

While he is not seen regularly in Jamaica, he has been busy recording and touring with Grammy winners Stephen and Damian Marley.

The veteran toaster spoke to Splash this week from his base in the United States. One of the things he addressed was the importance of making hit songs.

"At every stage in an artiste's career, hits are important and I am no different. It keeps old fans on their toes and wins new fans," he said.

"My catalogue, however, keeps me from reaching that point. Often during my performances requests for old material are always high.

Keeping current is the aim of a recently released 43-track mixtape titled Spragga Benz Mi Name.

He is also preparing for the Shotta Reunion Tour of the US west coast and Canada with singer Ky-Mani Marley. The two-month run is scheduled to start in October.

In June, Spragga Benz, along with Stephen and Damian Marley, did a nine-week tour of Europe dubbed Revelation Part 2.

The trio performed in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Sweden, Belgium and Italy. According to Spragga, exposure to non-dancehall audiences has been good for his career.

"Being among the Marleys is a blessing as it has been a positive impact on my personal life, knowing the discipline they practise in their approach to the music and other works has inspired me to keep the levels optimum," he said. "Many new fans have been exposed to my brand of dancehall through my touring with Stephen especially."

It is not all music. He has been approached to appear in a sequel to Shottas, the 2002 urban drama in which he co-starred, but is uncertain if he will accept.

"I have seen a script but that's just about it," he stated.

Spragga Benz (real name Carlton Grant) emerged on the dancehall scene in 1991. He recorded a number of hit songs for various producers including Steely and Clevie and Winston Riley.

Among his hits were Could a Deal, produced by Riley and Girls Hooray which he did for Steely and Clevie.

Spragga Benz's hit run led to a deal with Capitol Records which issued his second album, Uncommonly Smooth, in 1995.

A third album, Fully Loaded, was released in 2000 and featured duets with Lady Saw and American rapper Foxy Brown.

His last album, Shotta Culture, was released in 2010.

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