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FADER Five: Gyptian’s All-Time Favorite Reggae Love Songs

Shimmery throwback jams to fall in love to, selected by the Jamaican reggae star.

August 29, 2014

In our newly minted FADER Five column, we ask the artists and producers orbiting our universe to riff on a theme and serve up five gems of their choosing.

Gyptian is a figurehead of the roots revival that took hold at the turn of the millennium, but when you ask him about love and romance in island music, he turns immediately to the 1980s, to his childhood and to the golden age of classic reggae. Gyptian didn't name of the songs below by title or artist, but rather sang the lyrics down the phone to me, as if instead of tunes he and his mother sang along to on the radio, they were his own memories: a private, integral part of his history. He was kind enough to share them with us for The FADER's Sell Off week celebrating Caribbean culture. 

1. Beres Hammond, "She Loves Me Now" [1986]

My mother is the first person that really get mi attention to that song, because whenever that song comes on on the TV or on the radio she’ll used to be like crazy, and at that time I was a little boy, you know? So I was always fascinated with the whole thing. “What’s so special about it? Why this thing beckon my mom?” So from there, and gradually growing up, I started listening more to the song and then I see why, you know? That song, for some reason, whenever I hear that song, it’s like it raises my head. It’s like it feed mi feelings, I can’t really explain. It’s like warm, welcome feelings, a happy feeling.

2. Sugar Minott, "Herbman Hustling" [1984]

Ah, you know the restafari, we Jamaicans that's part of our heritage. And now it's actually legalized, so it's a good look. This is more like a vibe song than a love song. Skankin' and winin' with your empress in the party.

3. Sanchez, "If I Ever Fall In Love" [1993]

That song I used to sing it like everywhere, everywhere I went, you know? Until my cousin be like, “Everywhere you go you sing the same song over and over!” So that’s where I come in with my original style, from there. So pretty much that is the song that really let me start writin’. I’d sing it over and over like everywhere I go. Pretty much people got tired of mi singing the one song so they started requesting other songs. That’s why mi go and writing my own songs and stuff like that.

4. Ken Boothe, "Everything I Own" [1974]

That was a cover of a cover. I mean, that’s a son teaches me a lot about tone and sounds and melodies. Ken Boothe has a very melodious voice, in terms of bass. It's a very unique voice. I was about five the first time I heard it, sitting around on a summer evenin', and the song was playing.

5. Gregory Isaacs, "Night Nurse" [1982]

“Night Nurse” was like rulin’ the place! And mi mean by that, that’s a seductive song. Pretty cool, pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty sexy. Pretty much that’s what I love about that.

From The Collection:

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FADER Five: Gyptian’s All-Time Favorite Reggae Love Songs