When I asked Clement S. Dodd, the founding father of the Jamaican music industry, which of his many recordings he was proudest of, the producer known as Sir Coxsone paused and stroked his white-whiskered chin. ”There is so much, getting back to ‘One Love’ and ‘Simmer Down,’ ” he said, mentioning two of The Wailers’ first big hits, recorded when a short-haired teenager named Bob Marley was living in a room behind Dodd’s studio. From legendary reggae bands like the Wailers and Burning Spear to the Skatalites, Studio One became Jamaica’s answer to Motown. Of all the great tracks he produced, Mr. Dodd finally selected his favorite. ”Real Rock,” he said, then began laughing. ”Oh God. ‘Real Rock’ really strong. It’s on top.”
Originally recorded by the ace Studio One reggae band known as Sound Dimension, the “Real Rock” rhythm track that has been used for countless classic tunes, from Willi Williams’ “Armagideon Time” (1977) to Dennis Brown’s “Stop The Fussing and Fighting” (1977). None was more entertaining than Michigan & Smiley’s “Nice Up The Dance.” Papa Michigan & General Smiley’s rollicking combination brings the joys of a live dancehall session to life. It takes a certain caliber of artist to handle a rhythm like the “Real Rock.” So when producer Jeremy Harding was challenged to remake the Michigan & Smiley 1979 classic for the forthcoming VP Records project Dancehall Anthems, there was really only one logical choice—Kabaka Pyramid. An ace lyricist equally adept at classic roots reggae, hip-hop, and dancehall, Kabaka does full justice to Michigan & Smiley’s original while infusing its classic verses with his own unique energy and verbal wizardry.
Today, VIBE and Boomshots bring you a first look at the visuals for Kabaka’s single which is sure to become a modern classic.
“A lot of creative thought went into this project,” says 300K, who directed the pitch-perfect video, capturing the fashions of the late 1970s right down to the tracksuits and diamond socks. “We were very intentional with the locations that were used, as well as the wardrobe for Kabaka Pyramid and the talent to assist. We wanted to ensure that the visuals matched the tone, the vibe and the lyrics of the single, and paid homage to its roots. The shots we took, down to the angles taken and even the movements of Kabaka Pyramid and the dancers were key to ensure the video was authentic, upbeat and made you feel happy, despite navigating the various things we are globally.”