This spring has been particularly potent so far for dancehall/reggae singles. There hasn’t been a “Jamrock” or “Burnin” or any major breakthrough crossover song (yet), but as you may have noticed right here on this site, there has been a steady stream of excellence. “Mus Come A Road” has technically been around for a minute, but it is a major jam and we are celebrating it’s officialness today along with Mr Vegas as he is having a little release party for it and its video at Club Element on Houston tonight. We’ll put up the video when we get it, but until then you can grab the song and read our Gen F on Vegas from F44 after the jump.
Download: Mr Vegas, “Mus Come A Road”
THROUGH THE WIRE
Dancehall veteran Mr Vegas did it his way
Story by Edwin “Stats” Houghton
The story of Mr Vegas is the stuff of dancehall legend. A modest career doing reggae covers like “Killing Me Softly” was sidelined in the mid-’90s by a broken jawbone, but rather than miss the chance to jump on Jeremy Harding’s classic “Playground” riddim, Vegas voiced “Nike Air” with his jaw wired shut. Unable to mold his mouth around the notes, he half-rapped Mi wan’ fi see yuh hand inna di yeeairr… in a nasal monotone that became the trademark on a string of oddly addictive ’90s hits. A pitch-perfect counterpoint to his dancehall schoolie Sean Paul on tracks like “Hot Gal Today,” the two fell out dramatically when the 12-inch appeared minus Vegas’s name. “I still believe to this day that if you’re my friend, it’s for life and no record label or nobody can come between,” says Vegas. “If you and me put in heart and soul to blow a song up in Jamaica and then it’s promoted as just you when it start takin on wings overseas…I can’t see eye to eye with that.” Although long since squashed, the beef proved penny-wise and dollar-stupid for Vegas, who disappeared from the juggling around the time his sparring partner went platinum.
Suddenly, however, in 2006, Vegas transformed his status from MIA to comeback kid with hits as wildly disparate as the sweetly sentimental one drop “Do You Know” and the raunchy uptempo bashment of “Hot Wuk” (aka “Hot Fuk”). “I didn’t want to just come back in and record a lot of songs like ‘Nike Air’ and ‘Heads High,’” Vegas says of his strategy. “When I did [’90s throwbacks] ‘Constant Spring’ and ‘Taxi Fare,’ people said, ‘Ok, he’s making some noise.’ But when I said ‘Do You Know,’ they start believing.”
Between the cover tunes, the veteran status and the interpretation of material from all over the dancehall map, you might legitimately think the name “Mr Vegas” was in tribute to Sinatra or Wayne Newton. In fact, Vegas was named for a local strip club (for rocking shirts in go-go dancer pink “long before pink started wearin in Jamaica!”), but he seems to have grown into the name’s other connotations. “When I look at a great performer, I have to see why them stick around for years and years—it’s the stage show. In order for me to be around this long I can’t come to no show an’ flop. I rock any crowd: Spanish, Japanese…I’m just an entertainer.”