Blaq Fuego feels Trench Town vibe

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

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The streets of Trench Town are thousands of miles from Kampala, Uganda, where Blaq Fuego was born and raised, but he empathises with the people in a community that has produced some of the world's greatest artistes.

“I see the food, the struggles, and enjoy the weather. It's pretty much like Uganda,” Blaq Fuego told the Jamaica Observer.

The 35-year-old singer was in Trench Town to film a video for Mira Mira, a song he recorded with singer and Trench Town native Dahvid Slur. Mira Mira, which Blaq Fuego says is a blend of Afrobeat and reggae, was released three months ago.

It was the Minneapolis-based artiste's first visit to Jamaica and collaboration with a reggae artiste. He experimented with Jamaican sounds on Fuego Syndrome, his first album, which was released in 2013.

He met Dahvid Slur through a mutual friend in the United States and was encouraged to visit Jamaica by that artiste's producer, Shain Sheldon Christie.

“They were like, 'you got to come to Jamaica and get the blessings', so I took up the offer,” he said.

Mixing Afrobeat with reggae seemed only natural for Blaq Fuego (real name Pryce Wasswa), who grew up hearing his parents play the music of Trench Town hero Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Barrington Levy and UB40 in their home. He was also drawn to the sounds of Afrobeat legends Fela Kuti and Youssou N'Dour.

While attending Maryville College in St Louis, Missouri, he got into hip hop, and after graduating with an associate degree in communications, moved to Chicago. There, he found a mentor in Grammy-nominated producer No I D and discovered reggaeton.

Blaq Fuego's debut song, Iron Man, was a 2010 collaboration with rapper and Wu Tang Clan member Ghostface Killah. For Fuego Syndrome, released three years later, he dabbled with reggae.

“Hip hop came from reggae, so when I connected the two I became very comfortable blending them. The same thing with reggaeton — that comes from dancehall,” he said.

As much as he likes to experiment with different genres, Blaq Fuego is keen to make music for the ages, just like his heroes.

“I remember listening to Seven Seconds by Youssou N'Dour and just being blown away. It was so soothing and informative. That's the kind of music I want to make,” he said.

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