We’ve decided to make the office Vibez Central today, and one of the easier ways to initiate that is to play Collie Buddz’ ganj-anthem”Come Around” 47 times in a row. While we have to be content with Collie on the boombox, those of you fortunate enough to live in San Francisco can see him live at Club Six tonight. To give you and idea of what dude’s about, check our Issue 43 Gen F on him after the jump along with the flyer for tonight’s show.
Collie Buddz’ vibrations travel faster than sight
By Edwin “Stats” Houghton
No matter what the trend, in any given season there is always one ganja tune that dominates the set at reggae dances from Jamaica to Japan. This particular semester that 45 is “Come Around” by freshman singjay Collie Buddz. A soulful, elegiac horn sample opens the tune with a cinematic intro that feels more Do The Right Thing than Harder They Come, until the air-horns let off and a wicked rockers beat drops in behind a voice proclaiming, Ever since the herbs flow down/ Police and rude boy dem inna showdown.
Like Trinidadian Marlon Asher, whose “Ganja Farmer” was last years’ omnipresent weed anthem, Collie is a non-Jamaican who topped charts in the UK and got a big run in other islands before finally cracking Kingston open. The video, as might be expected, is centered around a triumphant performance at the legendary Passa Passa street dance on Kingston’s Spanish Town Road. “Getting a forward there…that was real,” Collie says. “I did it twice and every shot you see me on the mic, I’m really singin it. Everybody was vibesin. Nice.”
But the video also reveals an unexpected twist to the cyclical story. Born in New Orleans to a Bermudian mother, Collie aka Colin Harper is white…or at least some half-caste admixture light enough to pass for it, which—by the metrics of reggae music, a strong hit of black coffee aimed at the West Indies’ colonial hangover—amounts to the same thing. The Village Voice has already compared him to a Caribbean Eminem and reviews of the new tune online are usually laced with Sean Paul comparisons, although he sounds not a damn thing like either one. What he does sound like is a plaintive one drop crooner of the same class as I Wayne, or Bascom X at his best, with a powerful emotional catch to his voice and a distinctly Bermudian lilt.
That rootsical quality persists even when voiced over a ragga-soca track like “Mamacita,” the b-side to “Come Around,” and if it has anything in common with Sean Paul it’s in the buzz generated amongst listeners who’ve never seen the face behind it. Even more telling is the queue of reggae superproducers—from Tony CD Kelly to Bobby Konders—lining up to voice him on their newest riddims, not to mention his cameo on a remix of Beyonce’s “Ring the Alarm.” With an album set to drop soon and an army of sound-men at his hotel door looking for dubs, seems like things are moving even faster than Collie himself can see. “My favorite tracks for the album are the two by Kelly,” he says. “One’s called ‘Dweet Right,’ and the second…shit, I haven’t really come up with a name for it. Um…I’m trynna think of one right now.”