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Cocoa Tea gets back to basics


“Dem sey, ‘how no reggae coming outa Jamaica?’, a jus’ pure dancehall,” Cocoa Tea told the Jamaica Observer. “Wi want to address dat.”

Cocoa Tea recorded most of Wey Di Reggae Dey at his studio in Hayes, Clarendon, with additional recording taking place at Tuff Gong and producer Bobby ‘Bobby Digital’ Dixon’s studio.

The new set is scheduled to be released this month by Cocoa Tea’s Roaring Lion Productions. Already two songs, A Love Like Yours And Mine and Inna Di Red, have been released.

Responding to frustrated fans, Cocoa Tea says he went mainly for original music and recorded most of the songs live.

Drummer Kirk Bennett, keyboardist Bowie McLaughlin and saxophonist Dean Fraser played on Wey Di Reggae Dey which is Cocoa Tea’s most ambitious studio project since the much-hailed Barack Obama three years ago.

That song paid homage to the popular United States senator who became president, the first Black man to hold that office.

Interestingly, the dancehall genre that has been criticised for promoting unsocial behaviour has been good to Cocoa Tea.

Born Calvin Scott in Rocky Point, Clarendon, he is one of the movement’s elder statesmen, having recorded his first song in 1974 at age 13.

It would be another 10 years before he broke through with Rocking Dolly, produced by Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes.

Along with Yellowman and Barrington Levy, Cocoa Tea was a key member of the flamboyant Lawes’ Volcano Camp, releasing follow-up hits like Lost My Sonia and Kingston.

After Lawes moved to the United States, Cocoa Tea linked with producer Lloyd ‘King Jammys’ James with whom he enjoyed another good run.

The Cocoa Tea/Jammys tandem produced some of the dancehall’s biggest hits of the 1990s, such as Tune In, 18 And Over and Come Again.

Now, Cocoa Tea is doing things on his own, acting as producer and distributor for Wey Di Reggae Dey which he says is not just intended for the charts.

“The important thing is fi mek music dat the youth dem can appreciate,” he said. “Dat’s what Beres (Hammond) do an’ look how the youth dem love him.”



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