Known for her audacious spirit, undeniable charisma, and peculiar affinity for controversy, Chelsea Grant is a presence sure to be remembered. Currently the Massive Vybz Marketing Director, Chelsea is also a freelance writer. Her work has also been featured in The Journal News, The Mount Vernon Enquirer, Everybody’s Magazine, Jamrock Magazine, and Where Itz at Magazine and of course right here on MassiveVybz.Com.
Wayne Marshall continues where he left off with an re-invigorated dancehall offering.
By CHELSEA GRANT
It’s about 12:10 in the Dream Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper West side waiting for the talented reggae artist Wayne Marshall. The hotel’s corridor is adorned with blue glass footstools surrounding an 8-foot statue of a Tibetan woman with folded knees. The colors of orange and variants of pinks on the wall bleed though the silhouettes of carefully placed paintings and figurines like a perfect sunrise as I repeat track 6, “Stupid Money” off of his new album Tru Colors…
“Stupid money/ we rich until we fool/ buy a big mansion for mommy/ with an Olympic size pool/Cheddar, cheddar, genuine leather, from bully beef to lobster bruschetta.”
Our meeting is for 12pm, but VP Records’ Christie Barber has let me know that Wayne has given into the allure of the New York City party scene making an appearance at Tracks Café across the Bridge in Brooklyn. I could only imagine a night full of Guinness and champagne with familiar one-drops and dancehall tunes vibrating through the speakers. I can’t blame him really; it’s a Brooklyn thing.
To my surprise, Wayne arrives bright eyed and bushy tailed sporting a brown waist coat and khakis with no indications of a late night. He greets me with a smile and hand shake.
Being out of the album scene for nearly seven years, the name Wayne Marshall resonates more with an older crowd. A crowd that remembers when Blackberries filled phone cases and when assigning ringtones to contacts was still cool. As the dancehall line up has welcomed so many new lyricists since his last album the number one question on everyone’s mind is “Why now”?
“It was the perfect timing,” he answers, “with the experience that I had, the growth that I’ve been making over the years, to really buckle down and do this project now.”
New Reggae Royalty….
The new Wayne is much different than when he last hit the scene. Now married to recording artist Tami Chin and father of two children, a day in his life not only includes studio time, but also doing the pickups and drop offs to and from school for his little ones.
“It’s one big family and it’s all about music,” he says. His eight-year-old son is even on board, singing and performing with his Dad on the hook of the Stupid Money single.
And with his sister in law Tessanne Chin recently winning The Voice, his family is beginning to create a musical legacy. To Wayne, Tessanne’s win serves as an inspiration to the whole family.
“She’s just an epic Jamaican ambassador who really rose to the occasion like a true superstar,” says Marshall. “She served as inspiration for us to, want to go for all the dreams and turn our lives into movies.”
As the musical family writes their legacy they’ve had the privilege of taking notes from Jamaica’s Reggae Royalty. Now signed to the Marley’s label Ghetto Youths International, Wayne worked with Damian Marley and Stephen Marley to produce his album.
“When I was introduced to Damian, he showed interest in my music…and I jumped at the opportunity.”
His eagerness to work with them has paid off. Now in the top five on the reggae charts, something has worked here. With positive reviews from major media players such as Vibe, Ebony, and Hip Hop Wired, one has to wonder, is it the connection to the Marley name that has people tuned in? Or is the album just that good? Honestly, it’s a little of both and Wayne can recognize that he is extremely lucky that his talent has been paired with top of the line producers.
“At the end of the day we are working with certified hit makers,” he says, “it naturally would have a standard. We put a lot of work in you know.”
Fittingly enough, the same drive and tenacity that he expresses about putting the album together is the very message the album exudes. The reggae/ hip hop collaboration “Go Harder” which features Waka Flocka, Ace Hood, and Cham is the perfect motivational anthem.
As Wayne puts it “It’s just one of those songs you get amped up to, you know? One of those song that people work out to and they just feel like doing some extra reps even when dem burn out and done…Whatever you do you just go hard and done.”
The song on the album that took the most effort to complete was the song On the Corner.
In the song, Wayne burrows the persona of the good and bad angel presenting the outcome of two very different paths. Working closely with Damian on the song, he noted the most difficult part was making sure the lyrics worked well with the vision he had for the video.
Though musically, very different from the club banger Go-Harder, Wayne proves he is a chameleon, adapting his delivery to each rhythm and message on every single track. He may not be clashing out on a Sting stage, but he warns that he’s just as lyrically efficient and witty as many others in the reggae fraternity. His album serves as collective of his musical genius, offering something for every appetite: the dance-hallers, the hip-hoppers, and the culture crooners.
It may have taken him almost seven years, but Marshall’s here now and better than ever. His new tour will give old fans something they haven’t heard from him before and new listeners the platform they will acquaint with the moments they became fans.
Footwork: Dancehall star Konshens turns entrepreneur with new sneaker line
by Chelsea Grant
VP recording artist Konshens is putting all his cards on the table. Already dominating the music scene with hit tunes like “No Hesitation”, “No Stop Sign,” and “Gyal a Bubble,” he is giving fans something else to talk about. Though we may not see Konshens dancing in his next video you may want to check out his footwork. His new shoe line Konz 876 hit the ground in Jamaica and on the web in early September.
With fans across the globe from Denmark, to Japan, Guyana, and of course Jamaica, Konshens has realized that he can use his brand to expand in to markets other than music. “Marketing is easy, because Konshens as a brand has already been building for a while,” said Kons during a recent telephone interview with WhereItzAt. And he’s right. We’ve seen many artists succeed in ventures outside of music. We’ve all bought something produced or endorsed by our favorite artist at some point or another. The formula has been tested.
“Dancehall and Reggae music have the widest range of core fans worldwide and I think the only thing that separates us from other more mainstream genres is the lack of entrepreneurship on our part as artistes,” he later added. “There’s so much more we can do to maximize on our potential, influence and pulling power.”
What is commendable about the Konz 876 brand is that it is not a promotional deal. “Konz 876 is our brand; it started from Jamaica, “says Konshens. “If you see somebody endorse a Nike at the end of the day its still a Nike shoe. This brand is birthed from dancehall culture.” At this point maintaining a pure brand is important to the young entrepreneur.
With all these facets of the shoe industry to consider, it’s hard to imagine where Konshens finds the time to handle everything on his plate. When asked if he thinks the new business venture would take away from his music he answered, “Hell No! Nah, Man. See me now is addicted to recording music and just being a artist.” According to Konshens the two genres were a seamless merge. “It’s actually a marriage. If it stop music, it would never work.”
Right now there are five styles available for purchase, a pink, white, and black version available in the Konz Sublow tops and a black and navy blue version available in high top Game Changers. The sneakers are already available for purchase worldwide via the web at www.konz876.com. In Jamaica, the flagship store Konz 876 opened its doors on Saturday, September 7. At the shoe launches each purchase received a free bottle of Appleton Rum.
Hopefully Konshens’ fans can get behind the new deal. After all, it’s a sneaker specifically made “for every dancehall fan.”