By Lloyd Laing aka Gibbi Geraz
As Jah Cure sat in the Jonkanoo Lounge, basking in the attention of his release party, a sense of disconnection garnished the artistes face periodically. It was as though he was here with us in body, but truly in spirit, at times, he seemed to be somewhere else. Probably missing the few friends made behind bars during these last eight years.
Or was he reflecting on the immediate future?
The artiste release from incarceration sets the pace for a highly anticipated comeback.
His musical premonitions from behind bars such as “Love is”, “Reflections”, and “A Place called Jamaica”, have emulated a standard of quality and class of which Reggae has not seen in years.
His upcoming album “True Reflection” is slated to be one of Reggae’s best selling albums for 2007 and the number of pre-orders on Amazon.com supports this notion.
If the pundits are right, and the album finds two solid singles, the Cure is surely on his way to join the ranks of the greats before him.
And if he does, will dancehall take a backseat to its roots flavored cousin?
Since dancehall’s powerful resurgence in 2003, triggered by the “dancers invasion”, its more conscious hardcore counterpart, roots dancehall has walked patiently behind whilst the spotlight is limed by artiste such as Vybez Kartel, Idonia, Busy Signal, and most recently Mavado. Though it has never been overshadowed by Dancehall, it has not gotten the opportunity to exert its true potential on the demanding global marketplace. This possibility presented itself for a fleeting moment but disappeared as quickly due to Sizzla’s foray with the Rap/HipHop genre, leaving the march without a strong and focused band leader. Jah Cure raspy whispers from General Penitentiary, have kept the flames blazing in times when the embers grew cold, leaving us to wonder where Anthony B, Norris Man, and Capleton were to light the fire.
Chuck Fender, Fanton Mojah and Richie Spice have all taken the helm of the battlefield, but the army is still somewhat scattered and decedent. Dormant, as though they lay waiting for a second coming.
Will the Cure fulfill his appointed messianic obligation and bring Roots Dancehall to the global frontline, or will he re-invent himself for a bigger market?
Only Jah will know.