He may be from Trinidad and Tobago, but do not expect every song Mechanic TID records to be soca, the percussive sound for which his homeland is known.

In fact, some of his biggest influences are dancehall and reggae artistes.

The rapper is in Jamaica to film a video for Van Damme, his song which was released last December.

It is produced by Vaun Pro.

Mechanic TID told the Jamaica Observer that Van Damme is a nod to the creativity of Jamaicans.

"I believe the big impact Jamaican music has on my sound is the energy/vibe of it and the ability to reach the wider world. The focus of Van Damme is to create a sense of euphoria, a moment in time where the only thing you can do is feel good and be happy," he said.

The rapper/singer, born Stephen Sampson, is from Couva, a town in central Trinidad that has produced notable sportsmen such as West Indies cricketers Denesh Ramdin and Nicholas Pooran. It is where Mechanic TID first heard the music of Bob Marley, Buju Banton, Sizzla, Beanie Man, Vybz Kartel, and Jay Z.

His affection for Jamaican music can be heard on a rap cover of Marley's Jamming and a tribute to deejay Louie Rankin (Don Dada 4Ever) who died in 2019 in Canada.

Although he respects dancehall/reggae's elders, Mechanic TID's personal playlist includes sounds of young turks like Popcaan, Skeng and Skillibeng.

"Dancehall is big throughout Trinidad and Tobago, especially in areas that are heavily Afro-populated," he said.

By Howard Campbell Observer senior writer entertainment@jamaicaobserver.com

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