DOING IT RIGHT: Masicka will be performing alongside Tanto Blacks and Style X on Sunday
ONE OF the (many) advantages of being here in Jamaica is the opportunity to see who is really popping off across the various music platforms.
Radio, TV, live shows and the streets all play an important part of an artists’ development and the need to ‘lock it’ at home has historically been followed by ‘locking it’ in foreign lands. One of the artists who is definitely locking the place is Masicka.
He has the roads buzzing right now and his star is definitely on the rise.
“The last 12 months have made all the difference – we have worked hard,” says the man himself, fresh from another series of commendable performances.
“My work ethic is not normal. It’s all about hard work, more work and smart work.
“We are building the catalogue and staying true to what we believe in.”
That work ethic is very much in effect today – I am speaking to him just as he is about to hit the studio for yet another session. I wanted to find out when he felt the one defining moment was that changed things for him.
“Hardball was the key – from that tune buss everything went up! Gass Them Up brought the momentum for us and then Hardball came straight after, then Everything Mi Want and Top Rank alongside Bounty Killer,and the levels just continued to go up,” he says.
TOP RANKING: Masicka
His performance at the Dream Weekend in Negril was definitely ‘Top Rank’, so to speak, particularly his cameo with Bounty, who shared the stage with Masicka before doing the same with Aidonia (dancehall fans will know that Masicka and Aidonia don’t seem to see eye to eye – but more on that shortly).
“It’s all about entertainment – we want to make everyone happy when we perform,” he says with a sense of pride.
“I performed at Sumfest and that was something special. Doing the Dream Weekend and working with a legend like Bounty is an amazing feeling.”
So, what’s the deal with Aidonia, exactly? Masicka is quick to put that topic to rest, once and for all.
“There is no situation with Aidonia,” he states.
“I am just doing music. I just want to entertain the people. I’m staying in my lane and doing me – nothing else.”
At this point, it would be wrong not to give praise where it is due in calming this ‘feud’ – and the source of resolution is quite surprising. The original War Lord, Bounty Killer showed his maturity and position as a dancehall don by communicating to both Aidonia and Masicka (both of whom he has worked with previously) to ensure that this battle stays lyrical and never spills over into anything else. Hearing Bounty speak with such an overview and foresight is admirable and says so much about his status in the dancehall community. Big up Rodney!
It’s great to see a young artist getting key endorsements from the likes of Vybz Kartel and Bounty Killer – a fact that isn’t lost on Masicka.
“You know, my thing is from the streets so when legends like Killer endorse what we do you know it is absolutely authentic and genuine,” he says.
“We get inspiration from Killer, Sizzla and Kartel – they have always been bright lights to us.”
So, we can be assured that there won’t be any controversy with the Kartel tune?
“Absolutely not,” he assures me.
“None whatsoever. I’m a writer, so this is natural.”
I’ve been supporting Masicka since 2015, and recorded him the following year. I’ve been so impressed with him as a young gunner that I made him my one to watch in my hotlist for the BBC on two occasions. Not only is he equipped with this unique talent among the new school DJs, but he is lyrically quick and witty.
“I started young, around 17 or 18 years old,” he says.
“Even since then, artists like Bounty, Ninjaman and Assassin told me what I could be if I worked hard and focused, and that is what I am doing now. The key thing is to be humble and keep working.”
Masicka has carved out a space for himself as ‘the next one’. While Popcaan and Alkaline seem to be getting a lot of attention, Masicka has quietly been putting in the work to position himself nicely in the Premier League of dancehall.
This Sunday (August 13) sees Masicka coming to London for a special Dancehall BrukOut at The Forum in Kentish Town, alongside Style X and Tanto Blacks. Is he ready for the London vibe?
“Ready? We are coming to shell it down! It’s gonna be a problem,” he says.
“The UK is my place! Get your tickets early because we are on our way.”
You have been warned…
Dancehall BrukOut takes places on Sunday, August 13 at The Forum, Kentish Town. For tickets, click here.
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