Courtesy Warrior Sistren BLAK IWA TV
Royally Speaking featuring the Small Axe Jesse Royal premiered for the second time on the Usain Bolt Tracks and Records behind the screen series stage, last evening September 30th 2014.
The popular Sports Bar in Kingston was a lively melting pot of patrons as all awaited the arrival of the Small Axe on stage. Close to midnight, Kamila McDonald-Alcock welcomed the now burgeoning gathering, in her role as host for the night’s proceedings. Shortly thereafter, the band in place opened with an instrumental version of Sizzla’s ‘Solid as a Rock’. This was followed by Kamila’s introduction of Jesse Royal. The Royal One entered the stage to screams and woots, in signature style skunking to the “rootical” playing of “so long Ras Tafari a call u so long.”
The Palace Pickney’s first selection was ‘Hotter the Battle’ to which he received a warm welcome. It was immediately obvious that the Small Axe was ready for business. He easily transitioned to the single ‘Muddy Road’ which was featured his Royally Speaking mixtape recently released by Major Lazer. He was in undeniable command of the stage; drawing for ‘Wadada’ featured on the In Comes the Small Axe mixtape. The vibration and energy in the venue seemed to be rising as each selection was given to the people.
If you were in the gathering and never knew of Jesse Royal before tonight, you might perhaps have been ashamed, as you perused the audience enraptured by this performance, chanting ‘Wadadadadadadada’, it was really something to both behold and feel. This felt like a reggae rockers revolution part, chopping lyrics from ‘Greedy Babylon’ was Jesse’s next axe of choice. The small in stature Lion with a big voice and big lyrics stood tall in principle against the oppressor and spoke for the people.
I took note of the confidence and growth I was witnessing. This was the Royal completely in his zone. He gave impromptu lyrics as is his signature style, easing easily into ‘Little Did They Know’ from XTM Nation’s The Living Heart album. Then something fairly new was inserted “Gimme likkle herb mek mi calm dung mi nerves” as The Royal One asked Richie Spice to join him on stage. They performed ‘Herb Burner’ together much to the delight of patrons. It was a pleasant surprise and added extra spice to the already sweet deal.
Noteworthy was how Jesse provided complimentary support to Spice, humility and respect were displayed as he gave a strength to his fellow colleague. Jesse then turned his attention to his female fans sweetly presenting ‘Butterflies’ and ‘Baby Let Me Be’ with its jazzy, neo-soul feel, his movements on stage personifying the music coursing through him much to the delight of the audience.
As he moved, rocked and swayed, I saw a man fully in tuned and aware of his passion, this musical offering wasn’t just a performance he was offering himself; he became love personified in our presence. The lyrics “if u have got someone, hold them tight” provided a beautiful ambiance in the moment, a sweet note to wrap up the tribute. Acoustic guitar sounds then transitioned the moment to introduce the opening notes for ‘Journey’, a personal favourite from the Royally speaking mixtape The Palace pickney delivered a most passionate performance which was a soul uplifting reminder, echoing the message “its never ok to quit”. He then did something special he segued into Damian Marley’s ‘Road to Zion’. Jesse just knows how to mix it up like that, perfect! He was then joined on stage by Nature who delivered an electrifying performance of ‘World Peace,’ which was a nice compliment.
We were then transported to ‘Dreams of Africa’, “the resources in the west are drying up”, Jesse stated, facts that we live and know so well, but “Africa still has so much to give.” It was at this juncture, Kabaka Pyramid joined the Royal One on stage, with what seems like a yet to be released song, delivering his own commentary on the state of affairs in the west, expressing in satirical congrats to the government for the decriminalization of herb. Dre Island then joined the duo on stage delivering ‘Uptown Downtown’ and Protoge’s ‘Resist not Evil’ amply covered by Kabaka.
The Roots Man Riddim then heralded the entrance of Jah 9 who offered ‘Reverence’ in her usual serious and calm tones. The only Warriess on stage, she beautifully complimented the Kings with her vocals. The house was rocking at this point having their fill of such talent and comradery, when the Young General Chronixx entered stage right delivering ‘Here Comes Trouble’, ‘Capture Land’ along with ‘Spirulina’.
Musical Ites were gained and maintained, you were entertained and edutained. To seal the beautiful sharing of gifts, Jesse closed with ‘This Morning’ in fine style to a now very grateful and pleased audience. Our cups were filled and I dare say overflowing. Jamaica and the world have taken note and it’s now glaringly obvious that these youths will not be denied. This movement will continue to inspire growth and the rise of consciousness will continue. It is indeed here to stay.
Kudos to the organizing members of the team for putting on an excellent show and for the love offering from a definite prodigy of this time, Jesse Royal, the Palace Pickney and Small Axe was all we needed and more. He didn’t leave us wanting. Supported of course, by a stellar band and ‘bredrens and sistrens’ of like ilk, only made the evening that much sweeter. Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records Behind the Screen Series could not have ended its first season for 2014 in finer style. Royally Speaking was effortless and fluid. Love was definitely in the house for all those who gathered.
It was a pleasure to be there to experience and report in my words its impact.
Love, Love, Love! To one and all!