Interview with Junior Reid

Interview with Junior Reid

You bring reggae music with you to New York today. Why do you think there is so little reggae music in the US now?

Because everything is controlled by companies and they are not pushing reggae music. There’s no push on the radio [either]. But reggae is still here, otherwise Junior Reid is here. Get inspiration from me like inspiration I get from other people. To get this is important, otherwise I don’t wanna go forward. When it come it gotta come hard, you know?

You’ve been making music for a while. At this point are you mostly representing the old school of reggae in your music or are you bringing the new style with you now?

New style of reggae and Hip Hop together, because it is one. True reggae and Hip Hop are influenced together, you understand me? So 2 things come together as one. Hip Hop is a force, reggae is a force, so when it merge together it becomes new flavor. Original form will still be same but it’s part of the whole thing. That’s why I say like that.

You come from a dangerous part of Jamaica yourself. How would you describe life in Jamaica nowadays?

In Kingston it’s nice. There is a lot of new money. East and West unite as one. Music works together, you understand?

You’ve done a lot of collaborations with Hip Hop acts from Wu-Tang to Game. Do you feel that you express yourself differently when you work with Hip Hop artists?

I am always myself. When you need me to deliver myself I am in reggae. I don’t want to lie to you and change me. Junior Reid is always reggae. I’m still the same.

What should we expect from your new album?

The new album is crazy. All the tracks are ready we’re just setting the business. You’re gonna love it. There is a lot of features on it, like Snoop, Weezy, Fat Joe, Cool & Dre, there is a lot of artists there. Reggae artists also.

How do you feel that you changed on this album?

Did I change on this album? I don’t feel it. Cause I just take it on the other level. Take it on the new market. You understand me? Kids like 2, 3-year-old singing it. So I give it to you (laughs). It’s the same thing. No change. From Black Uhuru days, Junior Reid this, first reggae group to go to Grammy Awards, win it. That’s my group, you understand me? Nationals charts, Billboards, tour the world, you understand? When BET and MTV come… I been there and done that.

You don’t feel like the more commercial approach took some of your fans away?

No, it only helping cause my fans they love Junior Reid and love what I am doing. They call and they say ‘Keep doing what you doing’. So if it’s sell it’s bigger sell and if it’s love it’s bigger love. And it’s JR Records here (lifts up the chain with JR on it).

How would you compare your fans here in the US to back home?

Here and at my home it’s nice. It’s the same fans, I want fans to love the vibes and want more music, keep firing that stuff and doing that stuff, you know? They don’t want me out they want me in, so they say ‘Keep doing your thing’. The fans are same. Certain era [fans] they don’t understand they just want to dance. So they dance to the message. They want the roots and I give the roots. My fans love the roots and my messages and love to dance, so when I make an album I make like that. And I cover every era.