Music has always been one of the main things that have kept Jamaica alive in my heart when I couldn’t physically reside in the land of my birth. Being as proud of a Jamaican as I am (it’s a common thing among us), I put reggae and dancehall music in high esteem. My custom ringtone on my father’s phone is a track called Reggae Ambassador by Third World -- and the images it conjures up of me rocking out to that in my living room are potentially some of my best childhood memories.
When I was in highschool, I was fortunate enough to have the rest of Toronto swept up in the world of Jamaican music with me. Although my father referred to most of it as ‘buguyaga’ music -- translation: uncouth. Now that I’m older, most of my close friends aren’t predominantly of Jamaican decent and my love for reggae is something you only begin to understand if you look through my Spotify or iTunes most played lists. Protoje is at the top of that list.
A little over a year ago, I went back to Jamaica for some much needed escovitch fish and festival, East Indian mangoes, and real Jamaican music. My best friend and I ended up at this spot in Kingston -- Village, only to have me fall in love with reggae music all over again thanks to Protoje. When I say I rate this man as an artist, it’s no joke -- Protoje and his band Indiggnation are infinitely cool. I’ve said it on more than one occasion that he is the present and future of what reggae should be. His lyrics are poignant yet relatable, and his ability to lay his verses down to tracks produced by Don Corleone makes for the kind of music that needs to be shared with the world. He may have a penchant for the herb, a philosophy of life that I do not share -- but I refuse to let that stop me from letting the words of ‘No Lipstick’ echo through my own lips.
His debut album ’7 Year Itch’ is a refreshing compilation of music that not even my exceedingly critical father can resist. If you haven’t already it’s about time you download his mixtape -- This is Protoje and buy the ’7 Year Itch’ on iTunes.
Take a listen to Stronger (Antique Riddim) -- Protoje