Chronixx looks to the past and the future of Jamaican music with 'Likes'

Chronixx underlines his dedication to past musical figures as his music points to a promising future.

Chronixx's new video provides a timely reminder of Jamaica's rich musical history.

Chronixx performing live in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)

If you've been paying attention to some of the most popular songs of the summer in recent years, you'll notice that many feature musical influences from Jamaican genres like dancehall and reggae. This has not escaped the notice of reggae star Chronixx, who released his new album Chronology last week.

Speaking with q earlier this year, Chronixx talked about Ed Sheeran's huge hit "Shape of You," which has a very noticeable dancehall music influence.

"When you first hear 'Shape of You,' at first, it's like, this could be a little more authentic,," Chronixx told host Tom Power. "But then you say, coming from Ed Sheeran this is a tough record. This is good, you know what I mean. And then you listen to it three times and four times and you're like shit. This is my shit!"

The fact that Sheeran and other pop stars are drawing on Jamaica is not surprising to Chronixx. 

"We should never get stuck on the fact that people are mesmerized by Jamaican music because it is very mesmerizing and it will continue to be so," he said.

While he's cognizant of the influence Jamaican music wields on popular songs now, Chronixx is also immersed in the historical importance of the music emerging from his native country, something he underlines in the video for his latest single "Likes."

While riding on top of a moving vehicle in the video, Chronixx literally points out the historical figures in Jamaican music affixed to a wall, who have helped the music gain its worldwide platform and its presence in popular music today.

In a further interview with q digital staff, Chronixx talked about the importance of making the song "Likes," which he says is about doing music for passion as opposed to reasons that are driven by social media approval and trends.  

"It's very easy for us to get caught in the trends and the facade and the illusions of what's safe and what's not," he says. "But all music doesn't strive off hype because it's not man who makes all music great, but it is the message and the culture and the consciousness that makes our music great."

Consequently, to put things into perspective, Chronixx points to the legends who have come before him in Jamaican music, whom he stresses are not constrained to one genre.

"Jamaica has over 10 major sounds that have been prominent in the popular music space and the underground music culture and all of these forms of music have created an outlet for themselves," he says referring to dub, lover's rock, mento as well as reggae and dancehall.

"Growing up I used to hear Beenie Man and Bounty Killer on TV and Shabba Ranks and Buju Banton and Capleton and Sizzla. And when I was a baby I saw Mad Cobra — all of these great DJs, you know," he says, naming many artists he cites as inspirational on "Likes."

"You grow up [in Jamaica], you have people like Sister Nancy, Lady G, Lady Saw. Growing up you hear so you know the full importance of the culture and what it can do. And now I find myself in the same position where a lot of these people who I look up to were at, you know. So we just have to play our part."

Part of Chronixx's insistence on honouring those who came before him is not only because his father was a singer who performed under the name Chronicle, but because as well as a great past, he believes Jamaican music as a whole has a great future ahead of it.

"I have to acknowledge where my music is coming from because I see it going to a very great place and I mean it wouldn't do all of these great artists the right justice if the music is going where it's going don't somehow reflect and acknowledge them as the ones that moulded it into what is now. ... These are the actual people that channeled the sound of reggae music and brought it into the physical world --- we have to give thanks every time."


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