We Nuh Follow Fashion
Out of many—one people. Many hearts. Many sounds. Many styles. As a first generation Jamaican American, I grew up on Freddie McGregor and Beres Hammond. Reggae Gold albums and Sean Paul hits. I sang along as Lady Saw told di people dem fi “chat to mi back” and did the nuh linga at the barbecues. From roots to dancehall, reggae runs through my veins. The baselines. The steel pan drums. The vocal inflections. All food for the soul. Not only were my fave artists socially conscious and sexually liberated, they were all fly. All the time. Lady Saw flexing in her blonde bob on the cover of the iconic Strip Tease. Elephant Man giving us a half yellow half red fro. Sean Paul risking his hairline for them cornrows. Shabba Ranks’ gold chains. The leaders of the new school have since continued the legacy of unforgettable looks and head turning hair-dos.
Here are a few of the new gen who nuh follow fashion—fashion follow dem.
The First Lady
Lady in the streets but freak inna di bed, Spice takes queues from Lady Saw giving you bodysuits and blue hair in Mandeville because— ah so wi like it. But the current first lady of dancehall doesn't just serve you sex appeal, she takes fashion risks, giving you an avant-garde tangerine sweater complete with the Louis boots. Your fave could NEVER.
When reading Youtube comments about his hair and how he must "do something to it" the Unruly Boss tells Noisey, "Okay, I'll think about that. Doing something to my hair." OVO darling and one of this biggest dancehall artists to crossover since Sean Paul is unapologetic and unafraid. Whether it's having his mom plat his hair or rocking a chest protector without a shirt, Popcaan continues to push boundaries and push out some of ya favorite records of the year.
The Wild Card
23-year-old Alkaline grabbed our attention in 2013 with what we thought was tattooed pupils and bleached skin. Many artists tried to follow suit— damaging their eyes in the process. Since then we've come to know that Alkaline was wearing contacts the entire time. Much like his signature vocals, Alkaline goes left when the rest go right making it almost impossible to predict his next move. But that is the best part. And we love him for it. Chill with the bleaching though.
The fashion killer and leader of the new school, Mr. Protoje gives you a look everytime. EVERY. TIME. Coupling the waist-length locks, the bright colors, and the signature hat with handcrafted textiles from the likes of norblacknorwhite he continues to broaden our understanding of reggae music and the experiences of those who created it.
Lord America a capture land
Di whole a Jamaica a capture land
A long time dem wah trick therasta man
Like dem nuh know say that man a real African
Capture Land (2014)
The real rastaman Chronixx sings about the plight of the African diaspora over beautiful melodies and iconic instrumentation. It feels like Beres. Capleton. Buju. The face of Adidas SPEZIAL SS17 Chronixx keeps it roots with the classic Adidas, clean silhouettes, earth tone fits, and locks perfectly tied atop his head. This man is truly the purest form of the genre.
And he better get that Grammy too.