We missed him at Summerstage last Sunday, but we're going to make every effort to find Herbert Von King Park tonight, make friends with local green thumbs and enjoy the notably non-sweltery of today's New York weather pattern. Please join us and read our Gen F feature on Junior from Issue 46 after the jump.
Junior Reid rocks steady from decade to decade
By Nick Barat
Thanks to the interchangeable nature of most rap radio playlists, you could tune to your particular city’s version of Hot 97 or Power 106 or Jammin 95.5 any time of day this past fall and hear Junior Reid’s insistent cries of BLOOD! BLOOD! BLOOD! cutting through the Game’s smash “It’s OK (One Blood).” The very second that LA heatrock began to cool off, New Yorker MIMS’s “This Is Why I’m Hot” began its multiple-month climb to the top of the radio and ringtone charts, aided by a scorching dancehall remix that kicks off with Reid’s regal intonation, THIS is why we ho-oot…THIS is why we ho-ooo-ooo-oottt!
It might surprise you that one of the most widespread and in-demand voices in current urban music belongs to a 42 year-old Jamaican veteran, but for Reid, his success today comes as no shock whatsoever. “We just work,” he says from his Miami cell phone, “and let the people deal with it after, yunno?” In the late ’70s, Reid scored his first hits voicing tunes on Sugar Minott’s legendary Youth Promotion label, and he has stayed relevant ever since, whether as a member of Black Uhuru in the ’80s, a solo artist with massive singles like “Bubblers” and the original “One Blood” in the ’90s, and now as the guest of choice for hip-hop hitmakers looking to siphon some of the dancehall rocket fuel that only his wailing tenor can provide.
Reid’s forthcoming The Living Legend LP promises more radio clashes. “There’s a track with me and Lil Wayne called ‘Ghetto Youth Rock,’ a track with Snoop Dogg called ‘Junior Reid Smoking Weed,’ a track with Cool and Dre and Young Chris…it’s crazy,” he says, before mentioning even bigger team-ups he envisions for the future: “Junior Reid and Michael Jackson link? The world lock down!” Yet the collaborations the deejay seems most proud of are the songs he’s recorded with sons Wada and Andrew, the junior Junior Reids. “I always tell them that you have to believe in what you’re doing, and make sure you come correct,” he says. “Because once it’s out there, you can’t correct it. Even with a remix, the original is still out there!”