As promised, Oranje Streetz Musick has delivered the largest collaboration seen in the history of Jamaican recorded music.
Dubbed Voices Against War, the 12-minute record boasts 27 of Reggae’s seasoned and new artistes including Luciano, Johnny Clarke, Big Youth, Stranger Cole, Spliffy Dan, Chester Miller, JaFagan, Ras Kelly Holt, Johnny Smooth, Jr Saw, and Abrianna.
Released late September, the song’s advocacy for peace comes at a time when civil war continues to wreak havoc in Yemen, and protests against injustice and police brutality have erupted worldwide.
“Even locally, we have a lot of gang feuds and conflicts so it was part of the main idea in doing the song in the first place,” label principal Ainsworth ‘Mitchie’ Williams told DancehallMag.
“The external wars, the Yemen war, and all of that fit in at the right time with so many different conflicts going on. I think mankind nah go stop fight no matter what we do, and it’s not that mi nuh want peace but with the mindset of mankind, dem a go mek the song relevant.”
Nestled in a one-drop beat and Williams’ signature rub-a-dub style, the project has been more than a year in the making. He said its release was delayed by distribution and publishing issues, which he resolved by returning to his usual distributor, TuneCore.
“It should have been out two or three months ago… but the feedback has been great so far,” he said. “It nuh really circulate the right way yet, mi just a give it some time to soak in. Mi nuh press pon di gas fully yet when it comes to promotion, mi a wait until next week when mi get the video and mi start from there.”
A vinyl recording of the song is also in the works.
For Williams, it wasn’t difficult getting the acts on board as he has worked with most. But scheduling the artistes to record their contribution and shoot the video within a specified time posed a challenge.
The visuals were filmed across Downtown pre-COVID, and includes scenes from the renowned Orange “Beat” Street, where Williams manages the Rockers International record shop in Kingston.
“At the time, mi did have one and two artistes weh mi did a wait fi get in the video which took a very long while so mi end up haffi close it without getting two people,” he said. “I’m grateful for their support but mi nuh think mi shoulda mek them hold up the other people who were there and push out the effort already.”
With the temporary closure of the record shop because of the pandemic, Williams has been working on more music. Another Day, a collaboration between himself and Glen Ricks, is slated for release soon.
“We are trying to finish up some previous work,” he said. “Flabba Holt will come and play some bass, and one and two people come and do some recording. Me have two soundclash songs weh cut inna 45 (seven-inch) soundclash style. It’s a big part of Jamaican culture but a lot of people don’t do it anymore but there’s still a market for it.”
He added, “Mi have two one drop songs coming out, one wid me personally and JaFagan, and one wid Flabba Holt and Johnny Clarke… I also have a nice dancehall rhythm coming out with Carl Dawkins doing a medley of songs.”