Saturday, March 26 was Fantan Mojah’s inaugural visit to the U.S. and he made the impression that he is capable of rocking the heavens. Billed with I-Wayne and Bascom X, the threesome may well have launched the next wave of new conscious artistes that fans internationally have been longing for at least a decade.
It all began as the stretch limousine rolled up to the JFK Holiday Inn just before 2:00 a.m. to pick up Fantan Mojah, I-Wayne and Bascom X.
The night was chilly as the limo glided down the busy highway to the Elite Arc Night Club in Brooklyn. The car pulled into the parking lot passing a big crowd lined up to get in.
The Kingston 20 Band from Brooklyn provided the music and after several rehearsals did a good job of delivering the hard beats tied to the one drop tradition–beats that are being embraced by the New York massive.
The opening act was Ras Shiloh from Brooklyn, but the backstage buzz was too thick to be present to Ras Shiloh’s performance. The vibes had all the markings of a landmark event.
I-Wayne, Fantan Mojah and Bascom X were the representatives of this new conscious generation. Radio stations, cable TV, print and online media all covered this event. In addition, there were several American and international promoters witnessing the hype.
Interestingly enough, the show was primarily promoted through the underground of Brooklyn, developing awareness through local cable stations, WRTN radio and posters. One might have thought that such a promotion would be risky since this was the first time that Mojah has ever been to the US, let alone New York.
Although Bascom X had made some appearances earlier with I-Wayne, he had never before been billed for a show. So when a crowd of 2,000 plus patrons packed the venue, everyone knew that this show was special.
Bascom X hit the stage, or should I say “appeared” like a spirit on the stage. As the horns introduced him, lights were flashing, drums beating out the riddim, with a crowd looking on speechlessly as Bascom made his move.
Bascom X effortlessly belted out a series of tunes as he cajoled his fans. Each tune gained momentum, again indicating something special. After thirty minutes the artiste blazed the stage with a non-stop performance and then ended his set with the well-received ‘Lonely Girl’ which, as reflected on charts both in Jamaica and abroad, is definitely a crowd pleaser. It substantiated his impressive “official” US debut.
Then the MC took the mic and immediately introduced Fantan Mojah. The crowd greeted this “breakthrough artiste of 2004” with open arms.
In darkness, Mojah’s intro was something new. He gave a blessing accapella which focused attention on just what Fantan represents. Conscious support of poor people worldwide with the grace of Jah was how Fantan defined his moment of glory.
He then hit the stage with ‘Corruption’, his new tune that is just now taking the streets of Jamaica. At first the audience was stunned by the sheer energy of this new entertainer and indeed they witnessed new blood in this forever conscious struggle of the international reggae revolution.
MTV was allegedly there taping the event in preparation for its new programme to cover Caribbean music exclusively. This is another positive sign for the future of reggae, as the MC pointed out ever so clearly.
Fantan now had the audience singing his latest hit ‘Hail Di King’ word for word. Perhaps this was the first time that this artiste had ever experienced some 2,000 people singing his songs in unison as if they were in church. Whatever it was, Fantan Mojah took the blessing and gave back even more when he closed his set with his number one international hit ‘Hungry’.
“Papa hungry, mama hungry”…everybody singing – the patrons, the promoters, the photographers, the writers, bartenders, security officers – just everybody singing “do something for the poor”. Perhaps this is why this tune has risen to the top. ‘Hungry’ is the anthem of not only Jamaica, but of poor people worldwide. It is not an accident that this tune has reached the top position in Italy, England, France, America and Jamaica. Shivers reverberated through the entire massive with every chorus.
“Do something for mankind, and for yourself, but above all give praises to the Almighty,” Mojah told Wazup TV, the Brooklyn cable station.
Then came I-Wayne who did not disappoint. Rather than compete with the intense energy of Fantan, not all that different from the kind of energy previously seen from the likes of Elephant Man or Capleton, I-Wayne caressed the audience both with strong one drop beats and with plain accapella. The audience responded favorably to his disposition. He moved people in waves as if he were a brush stroke or a flick of a conductor’s baton or more accurately, a spirit torching the senses of the massive.
I-Wayne has lately been performing several shows across the eastern seaboard and various Caribbean islands. You can see experience starting to impact this artiste. The fact that ‘Satisfy Her’ is currently blasting New York radio on all of the stations from Hot 97, BLS, WRTN and college stations is testament to this. His climb up the R&B and singles Billboard charts is an added indication of what is to come from this group dubbed “Generation Next”.
God’s willing, the next wave from Jamaica continues to build from Shaggy, dancehall represented by Sean Paul and Elephant Man and now the return to conscious music beating out from I-Wayne, Fantan Mojah and Bascom X. Give thanks. The times are a changin’.