Selector Chiqui Dub shares his thoughts
If you are an old school, rub-a-dub artiste looking for a career rebirth, Latin America may be the place to go. That region has emerged as one of the most vibrant for Jamaican music in the past 10 years, but Panamanian sound system star Chiqui Dub says fans there are drawn to sounds from a classic era.
He was in Jamaica early February for Reggae Month activities. Chiqui Dub played at several dances including the weekly Weddy Weddy, staged by Winston “Wee Pow” Powell’s legendary Stone Love sound system.
Chiqui Dub, 37, said dancehall/reggae fans in countries like Panama, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico have an affinity with the “bounce” of music from the 1990s and early 2000s.
“Because di dancehall we consume right now, have too much fusion with trap. It different than when yuh play TOK, Mr Lexx, Mad Cobra, or Beenie Man. Promoters inna Latin America an’ Panama prefer to book artiste from ‘90s an’ early 2000s like Buccaneer, Red Rat, like Elephant Man, like Degree, because di type of dancehall they make before make you bounce an’ dance. Remember, dem (Latin Americans) nuh speak English, they love di lyrics, they love di melody, but they love di riddim too,” Chiqui Dub explained in his best Jamaican patois.
Music from the 1980s and 1990s has a strong influence on Reggaeton, the Latin equivalent of Afrobeats, the Nigerian sound currently taking the world by storm.
Reggaeton’s artistes and producers owe a lot of their success to 1990s dancehall heavyweights like Grammy-winning deejay Shabba Ranks and producer Bobby Digital whose songs, like “Wicked inna Bed” and “Love Punaany Bad”, continue to create a stir in Spanish-speaking countries.
Chiqui Dub, who is from Panama City, said the lion’s share of his gigs are in Latin America where fans also love the music of the jailed Vybz Kartel and Skillibeng, arguably the hottest name in Jamaican dancehall.
He added that his profile is growing in Europe where there is a traditional affinity for roots-reggae.
“Is three years mi nuh touch Europe, an’ now mi get over seven shows already confirmed (in March). Germany with Warrior Sound, Barcelona, Malta, Italy, Switzerland,” Chiqui Dub disclosed.
Born Jean Alexander, Chiqui Dub’s introduction to Jamaican music came from listening cassettes of Stone Love dances. That ‘soun’ ruled the 1990s and played across the world, introducing dancehall to remote areas in Europe and Asia.
That made Chiqui Dub’s appearance as a sound system selector at Weddy Weddy even more special.
“Is not any selector can come an’ play inna Stone Love. If yuh know about music, yuh can play Stone Love, if yuh don’t know about music yuh can’t play inna Stone Love, so di vibes was up from di first song to di next,” he said.
(Photo courtesy of Chiqui Dub)