When FADER coverstar Mavado failed to materialize for our Issue 42 launch event last November, there was some speculation about whether he was really real or whether music editor Will Welch had been visited by some sort of dancehall apparition (dude’s full-black outfit and cryptic answers do nothing to dispel the spookiness). However, the combined powers of FADER and VP records were enough to summon “Jamaica’s most controversial artist” in physical form to a ram-packed listening event for his new LP Gangsta For Life a week ago, which is dropping July 10th as the singer mentioned once or twice. If there were any lingering doubts about his realness, we’re happy to report his image was captured on our phone.
Turns out once the genie is summoned, he is not so easy to put back in the bokkle and what was supposed to be a 2-3 song mic check became a 10-15 song (we actually lost count) marathon sing-along. We’re not talking 2 bars / gunshot / pull up selector type songs either but full-length renditions with eyes closed, one finger on his ear (why do singers always do that?) and his head so deep in a badman place that he legitimately forgot the audience was there. At one high point Mavado intro’d a ladies tune by saying he wanted to show the critics he could really sing, then silently hip-grinded to the lover’s rock beat for several verses-worth before he remembered what he was supposed to be proving. The crowd maintained rapt attention and knew all the words even to the tunes that are basically funeral marches but the climax came on the final chune when he unveiled original lyrics to “Dying” (which in it’s current video-hit form is essentially a Tupac tribute): I’m not asking for trouble, I’m just askin / Lawd… / When my enemies come to send me to the graveyard / Let the first shot they fire blaze my heart hard / Cause I’d rather be a memory than a retard…”
It gets no realer.