Truck Back has ripped the veil off a new riddim called Spark Plug, which encapsulates the main things that are good about dancehall—incredibly tough snares, arabesque chords, frenetic energy—but is still spare enough to let any deejay fit in between the beat. Not surprisingly the initial run has brought out a rogue’s gallery of Jamaican artists literally from A to Zebra, who I think got a furlough from his 10-year rape sentence specifically to rail against white people over this beat (possibly he missed the whole Obama post-racial thing while incarcerated).
The breakaway tune though, is definitely “Fight” from Erup, who seems to be on some kind of wavelength with the Truckback crew, maybe because he turns in the most melodic version of any riddims he voices, and being proper musicians the Locke brothers are right there with him, composing him a spooky, lighters-up bridge of his very own. Heavyweights Vegas and Beenie Man merit similar treatment, but like a true classic, the track seems to inspire the best performances from everyone who jumps on, including the lone female deejay Spice who comes out the gate with a mad double-time (I just wished she had stayed on it for the whole song, instead of launching into a Pointer Sisters melody).
Spark Plug blend:
Sizzla, “More Riches”
Deva Bratt, “Trackle”
Mr. Peppa, “Journey”
Zebra, “Right Away”
Beenie Man, “Draw Me Out”
Mr. Vegas, “Life Alright”
Elephant Man, “You Cyaan”
Download: Ghetto Palms Spark Plug Blend
Since it coincides more or less with the entry of “Click Mi Finger” into mainstream video rotation and the leak of a sick club refix (streaming below…about a billion times too fast for most reggae heads but if you fuck with Crookers, Radioclit, Douster, et al, give it a bligh.) it seemed like an auspicious moment to post the full Q&A with Erup from his Gen F profile in the last issue of FADER.
Stream: Erup, ‘Click Mi Finger” Grahmzilla Refix
Let’s start at the beginning. What is your government name?
Kevin Nickolas Saunders.
Tell me how you got started in music…
Well music is an inborn concept to I an I, still. In school I was just naturally havin a joy with music daily until you know, I grow up. I always love it so.
What was your first recording?
Well my first exposure—the first time I record a song—it was a dubplate, still.
What soundsystem did you do the dubplate for?
It was in 1993 comin, the soundsystem was Matlock.
Did you start out in the dance?
Yeah I started out deejayin in the dance. I did an original tune on dubplate.
What was the song?
Ha, just a bare song talking about girls an fancy, and nem ting. I was a teenager dem times, me just tink about things real pretty and jus like, you know? Heaps a things.
Are you from Kingston?
Yeah I’m from Kingston, JA—born in Rockfort, grew a likkle and did my basic school an ting there. Then just move into Harborview, and from Harborview Primary to Norman Manley Comp [Comprehensive].
Is Matlock from your area?
That is from Bayshore which is close to Harborview.
So how long were you doing dubplates before releasing a 45?
Well, all my whole life. See I been doin it before even I get exposure, just to be on stage and people licks and wave for me and dem ting deh. Somebody try to contact me to get show before I could even read or nuttin, jus communicate in my style and people like it, keep carryin on works, doin dem things that I should.
You had some 45s out before Gearbox right?
Yeah my first 45 was in year 2000.
What label, what tune?
The tune was “Burnin a Fire” yunno? Reality and war, tribal war for the Fanclub label.
Did you collaborate with any particular producers before linking with Truck Back?
Yeah I been doin some song for producers before I even reach this Truck Back thing, I was workin at Mega Studio in downtown Kingston. Hyde Street. Dem times I was a youth. 24 track. After 24 track I was writing on DAT, recording right away coming from that stage. Sing it one time an fling it on dubplate, nah even haffi stop an say, Yo bring it back on this again. One lick and I hit that. Me like, natural. Me could just learn it an know it. Our father was in the business too, him never really make it...so it coming from the blood still, naturally.
So you did “Click Mi Finger” in one take off the top of the head?
That song in a mi head, still. Mi never really did plan it, me have part a the lyrics, mi brother have part of the lyrics. Me have that tune before me even meet Truck Back. I link Truck Back and hear the riddim, me say, Yo I like dat riddim! I might have a song fi it, so same time whappen now…we put it ‘Click Mi Finger “ ca’ the riddim meditate the tune in my head, like freestyle it in mi head before they bring it up, then… like the riddim just TALK to the tune, so me know say this riddim mash this song when I put it pon it, firs’ time. First song ever play on the radio, first time into a dance and next week them hear it.
So that was about two years ago now?
‘07 it come out
Truck Back is obviously a good fit with your style, are you just working with them or are you still trying to voice for every producer?
Me an Truck Back, like we have a lickle vibes going on when I step inna the studio. Those people are musician an they know music so when we work together an’ it make good music.
How does that add up to an album? Will there be an LP on Truck Back records?
Well, my recording label is Fully Govern, yunno? Truck Back label is differently, so…I have songs I record for myself too, which I would like to put on the album. And Truck Back would put some of these or maybe put two from other producers.
So when is an LP coming?
Right now we still talking about this, meetin about it. Truck Back—they would like to put out an LP for me and I don’t have a problem with that, we just want to make it right; right beats, right promotion and right push.
You think it would be this year?
Yeah, have to be this year because people been waiting for this…must be this year.
Are you still doing dubplates?
Dubplates usually means war tune and I don’t really get into those things, so… sometime I do it one'ta time but I don’t like to put too much violence in my music for no reason. So sometime I turn those people away and just say, No I don’t really into that. Happiness and joy, its just a happy song…