A posthumous album by dancehall icon U-Roy has been announced. It’s called Solid Gold U-Roy and arrives on July 16 via the Jamaica / BMG Trojan. The LP features a number of guest stars including Ziggy Marley, Shaggy, Mick Jones from the Clash, Jesse Royal, Richie Spice and others. Today’s announcement comes with the release of the new single: a cover of “Man Next Door” starring Santigold. Check out the music video below.
“It was a great honor to work with U-Roy, a true creator, on this project,” Santigold said in a press release. “He was a major pioneer in a genre that influenced me so deeply. And so it came about that the song “Man Next Door” that I was supposed to sing has been a favorite of mine since I was a child. It felt so special to be able to sing this song especially – I knew the harmonies in my body without having to think for a second – and to hear his voice cut through, to control the rhythm and to draw us all into his world. What a gift to sing with him on this track. He was one of the greats. “
“Man Next Door” is a reggae standard written by John Holt and originally released in 1968 by his group “The Paragons”. U-Roy sampled the song in 1982 for “Peace and Love in the Ghetto”. The picture for “Man Next Door” was shot in 2018; Santigold’s scenes were recorded separately later that year. The video was shot by Nick Franco / 1185 Films in collaboration with the co-founders of Trojan Jamaica, Zak Starkey and Sharna “Sshh” Liguz.
“We met U-Roy through our friend Wayne Jobson, who brought us to Kingston in early 2018,” said Liguz. “We had lunch and got on really well and talked about re-recording his greatest hits with him together with special guest artists. He was easy to speak to, very dignified and confident, but very approachable. Cool looking and humble but then he would open his mouth and come out with a big, booming statement. “
Three weeks after our meeting, we started recording at the Trojan Jamaica Sounds Studio in Ocho Rios. U-Roy would toast his songs live and Sshh would sing the songs that would later be sung by the guests. Sshh and U-Roy quickly teamed up and had a lot of fun doing it. The band was Sly & Robbie, Tony Chin, Robbie Lyn and me. We had to work fast (four days) as U-Roy set off on a six-week European tour right after taking up his roles. After he split up to go on tour, we spent a few months dubbing and adding the guest artists. Most of the artists came to our studio in JA and some recorded in their own studios.
“We had always loved U-Roy because of the power of his voice and his lyrics with their humor and their seriousness,” said Liguz. “We did the Solid Gold album because we wanted everyone to know that U-Roy invented rap.”
U-Roy died in February at the age of 78. Solid Gold U-Roy, originally slated for 2020, is being released as a tribute to the toast legend.
U-Roy made of solid gold::
01 Trenchtown Rock [ft. Ziggy Marley]
02 man next door [ft. Santigold]
03 Rule the nation [ft. Shaggy]
04 Tom Drunk [ft. Tarrus Riley]
05 Wake up the city
06 Stop the train [ft. Rygin King]
07 Natty Rebel (Natty Rebel) [ft. David Hinds]
08 Queen’s Majesty (chalice in the palace) [ft. Robbie Shakespeare]
09 Small ax [ft. Jesse Royal]
10 Wear to the ball [ft. Richie Spice]
11 Every knee must bend (miseducation) [ft. Big Youth and Mick Jones]
12 Miseducation Every knee should bend (Scientist Dub)