Shinehead is back

Shinehead is back

BY KEVIN JACKSON
Observer Writer

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

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IT'S been a while since we heard new music from iconic rapper/singjay Shinehead. That drought was broken on July 24 with the digital release of his latest single, Never Had a Dream Come True.

This single is a cover of the Stevie Wonder's original from 1970, which was produced by London-based Peckings Records.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, Shinehead explained his decision to cover the Stevie Wonder classic.

“I was holding a quiet 'medz' in our studio one evening and went to the Frankie Paul/Stevie Wonder/Michael Jackson zone. Then it came to mind, Never Had a Dream Come True was sung by Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, respectively, although I'm more prone to the Stevie Wonder version. So what did I do with all this mental remixing? I actually sung the song over and over again and the result is the essence of Stevie Wonder singing the verses, Michael Jackson singing the chorus, and Frankie Paul throwing in the growl he and Stevie Wonder are known for. Frankie learned it from Stevie Wonder. These are the reasons and inspirations for Never Had a Dream Come True,” said Shinehead.

He spoke about working with the producer Christopher “Peckings” Price.

“I called Downbeat and Peter Panic for the link and they both gave me the number for Peckings. When I dialed it I realised I actually had Peckings' number in my contacts for many moons. My reasoning with Chris Peckings went well and that's when he reminded me that African Love (Ras Claude) had introduced us twenty years ago and [we] were to supposed to be working together from back then. As far as the track goes, I acquired it, had it for a while (over a year), voiced it a month or so ago, and mixed it before I even re-linked with Chris Peckings again. All I did was hand in the finished product, asked him if the mix was okay, he responded it was fine and...BaddaBOOM!”

In the early 1990s Shinhead enjoyed crossover success in America with hits like Try My Love, Jamaican in New York and Let Em In, all of which made the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts. Locally, he topped charts with Strive in 1991. Signed to Elektra Records, he released the Billboard charting albums Unity (1988), The Real Rock (1990) and Sidewalk University (1992).

Shinehead explained his absence from the music scene.

“I took time out to go live real life like every day people. Ever since I was able to hear and talk, my dad would school me and let me read books about the past, present and future. What's on the Internet now he taught me through letting me read books and listen to cassettes, all of which is so readily available on the Internet now. Knowing this from the 70s and 80s, it was already a heavy knowledge and instrumental for me — that's why I made Who The Cap Fit. On a side note, I felt somewhat messed up having all this fun and all this money while so many people in the world are suffering. Great songs had been made countless times and no one listened enough to use them to make better of themselves, to make a better world. Hence why me lock off,” he explained.

Shinehead (given name Edmund Carl Aiken) was born in London to Jamaican parents. He moved to Jamaica at the age of four then later relocated to Bronx, New York. He moved back to Jamaica before settling permanently in New York in 1976.

As one of the early practitioners who fused reggae with rap and hip hop, Shinehead gave his thoughts about the current trend of international acts tapping into reggae and dancehall.

“Internet and smartphones have made us all one, so who is international and who is local? With the advent of the Internet and smartphones and getting people so much closer, one would think that regional categorisations would be phased out by now. This is a question that cannot be answered in short. Overall, I love the movements. If one did their analysis they would approximate exactly how broad 'internationalism' is,” said Shinehead.

Shinehead was introduced to music from an early age. He honed his talent on local sound system Soul King Disco. His relationship with sound systems continued when he moved to New York with sounds such as Downbeat and African Love.


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