Samory I,'Ching' blaze amazing weed
Samory I (left) and Chi Ching Ching

IT'S hard to believe, but there was a time when smoking a ganja spliff in Jamaica could land someone in jail. Since February 2015 legislation has been passed in the House of Representatives to decriminalise the plant, which is music to the ears of Samory I and Chi Ching Ching.

The singer/deejay duo express appreciation for being able to smoke the 'good herb' without fear on Life is Amazing, a song produced by Laurent "Tippy I" Alfred for I Grade Records out of St Croix.

"Message behind the song is, life is indeed amazing. Always give thanks, especially to the giver of life, the Most High Jah. The feeling you get smoking, holding a 'meds', penetrating life's gift," said Samory I. "I love the herb [like] a modern-day [Peter] Tosh. As the song says 'now look at me smoking different kinda weed in different countries'. Back in the day, police would arrest you for herb smoking."

The unlikely duo first met five years ago through Ruel Ashburn, bass player in Samory I's band. They struck up a fast friendship that saw them hanging out regularly. Recently, they decided to record a song about the new day for ganja in Jamaica.

"Dis song is teaching yuh to appreciate life, to appreciate what yuh have an' di people aroun' yuh. It also have a message about di weed, a message dat teaching yuh about di past, what weed smokers in di past guh through," Chi Ching Ching explained. "Now, look at weed smoking; different strain a weed in different countries. Wi mus' be dreaming. Life is amazing."

The first moves to decriminalise ganja in Jamaica were made in the Senate seven years ago. Since then, legislation has been passed preventing persons with small amounts of ganja from being prosecuted.

Samory I has made a name in Europe where he has performed on major festivals including one during last summer. His 2017 debut album, Black Gold has earned him a growing base there.

Chi Ching Ching initially made his name as a dancer before evolving as a recording artiste with hit songs like Rope, Calaloo and Turn Down For What.

Tippy I is the leading reggae producer in the United States Virgin Islands. He has produced songs for that region's top reggae acts including Akae Beka and Pressure Buss Pipe, and worked with several Jamaican artistes such as Jah9 and Lutan Fyah.

Howard Campbell

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