Anyone who has played in the sound system arena knows of its competitive nature.
Having been in the game for 45 years, Waggy Tee can attest to that.
The South Florida legend was toast of an event at Backyard in Fort Lauderdale on April 29. Artistes, music industry players, Florida state and county administrators and legislators packed the venue in tribute to his long career.
"Still playing after 45 years. It doesn't feel like it because I love playing music, seeing people dance and have fun when I take them on a music journey during my sets," Waggy Tee told the Jamaica Observer. "Taking them from '80s to '90s to 2000s and beyond makes me feel good and appreciated by the audience singing out to parts of the songs and vibing to my energy. That makes me fulljoy what I do."
The party, which featured several sound systems, was co-produced by Jaime Young and Gary Hart of Whyiparty and Absolute Adventure, and Alain Jean of Let There Be Reggae. It was preceded by a function for specially-invited guests, including Broward County Commissioner Hazelle Rodgers and former Florida House of Representatives member Anika Omphroy, who presented Waggy Tee with proclamations acknowledging his contributions as a sound system operator and disc jockey.
There were performances by Hopeton Lindo and his son, Wayne Wonder, Galaxy P, and Julian Marley. Other artistes and entertainment figures who attended the event were Alley Cat, Gyptian, Munga Honorebel, music producer Troyton Rami, Howie and Angela Chin from VP Records, Eddy Edwards of the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, comedian Majah Hype, and Homer Blair of Cooyah Clothing.
Born Andre Chue Sang, Waggy Tee moved to South Florida in 1977 while still a student at St George's College. His King Waggy Tee sound system became a fixture in the region during the 1980s, and by the next decade he was among South Florida's most influential in dancehall/reggae.
Waggy Tee, who is also a DJ on WEDR 99 Jamz, believes the music scene has transformed considerably since he started his career.
"The game has changed for this generation of artistes in their music presentation. They feel that they don't truly need sound system DJs to play their music first. The Internet and social media plays a role now and they're using that as a platform to promote and visualise their songs, and if it goes viral they feel we as sound system selectors haffi play it," he said.
Young, who has known Waggy Tee for 35 years, hailed his contributions.
"The great Swiss Beats said, you have to last at least 10 summers to be considered for GOAT status and Waggy Tee has lasted 45 summers and he is still hot! Waggy Tee is not underrated, he is under-celebrated, and I invited the community to join me in doing something about that," he said.