Tippa Irie is a Dancehall legend who built his success based on a solid foundation. He began with his Father’s sound named Musical Messiah, and went on to perform with King Tubby’s and Saxon Sound (for younger DJs readingthis email, performing live on a sound is not as easy as it appears; you mustbe the cream of the crop to earn that residence).
Performing live developed Tippa’s ear and the ability to know what lyrics and which riddims connect with audiences. When Tippa heard one of The Heatwave’s productions, he immediately reached out to Gabriel to arrange a recording on one of the groups riddims. The result is “Tun Ova!”
Released on The Heatwave’s own label, the single is being embraced in Europe and making its’ way across the Atlantic to fans who respect the voice and delivery of the great Tippa Irie!
Here the single “Tun Ova!” When you play it, make sure you send feedback to @tippairie and @the_heatwave!
By Angus Taylor
The second single by Reggae Roast on Trojan Reloaded.
London based sound system Reggae Roast continue their relationship with Trojan’s sister imprint Trojan Reloaded.
Their second single, following Murder by Charlie P and Brother Culture, features legendary South London emcee and entertainer Tippa Irie.
Real Reggae Music repositions the Sleng Teng bass-line to create a completely new dancehall/dub hybrid backing for Daddy Tip to extoll the virtues of the music he loves – praising the next generation in Jesse Royal.
The vocal comes with a flipside remix by Bristol UK bass producer DJ Madd.
Trojan Records’ newly-formed music imprint has announced its first signing.
Reggae Roast’s Murder is the first track issued by the iconic dancehall and reggae label in over 20 years, and is the first release for their Trojan Reloaded imprint.
The formation of a frontline, new music label coincides with Trojan’s 50th anniversary this year, which will be celebrated across the year with a series of live events, catalogue releases, a documentary and the publishing of a book telling Trojan’s story.
In addition, the label’s past and future are set to come together with Reloaded second release, as Reggae Roast returns with Real Reggae Music featuring Tippa Irie on July 13, which will also be included in the upcoming Trojan Records 50th boxset due for release later this year.
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Deekline and Tippa Irie are bringing the smooth grooves and ragga vibes in the place on their latest colab for Jungle Cakes.
Setting the perfect mood for the summer Deekline has laced this chilled out, tropical Jungle beat with Tippa’s infectious vocal. Calling up Voltage & Nicky Blackmarket for remix duties they’ve kept some of the Caribbean feel but added some down low dirt to the mix. And no Deekline release would be complete with out some garage for the house heads, bringing a little bit of the 90s warehouse feel to the release, a sub heavy sound that will cause some serious damage on the floor.
He was the young South London lad back in the 1980s when he took the leap of faith into the rising world of Reggae, and released the iconic “Hello Darling”. He’d already had some success after releasing singles on the Greensleeves label but it wasn’t until “Hello Darling” was released that his career took off in the right direction for him. He was received with open arms and Anthony Henry AKA Tippa Irie was born and in hot demand.
Since then he’s gone on to work with some of the most influential musicians in the World. From Alexander O’Neal to The Black Eyed Peas, his own influence can be heard on some of the most memorable tracks ever recorded. Most recently he’s worked with London Reggae band The Skints whose style is reminiscent of some of the 80s classic Reggae musings, and certainly fits well with Tippa’s style. His music is as relevant now as it was back where it all began.
I caught up with him ahead of his latest tour with the Lockdown Band which will see him hype the crowds of The Maze in Nottingham on Sunday 16 July.
It’s 1986. South East London’s Saxon and their collective of talented mcs are ruling England’s sound system scene. One of them, Papa Levi, has already made history by scoring a Jamaican hit, Mi God Mi King. Another, a skinny youth with sleepy eyes and a cheeky grin, is about to crash the UK pop charts via a jazzy lovers ditty called Hello Darling…
Fast forward 30 years and that young man, Tippa Irie, has recently celebrated his 51st birthday. The U.K. reggae-dancehall industry has experienced ups and downs since the explosion of possibilities in the 80s. But Tippa has come through it well enough. He’s CEO of his own production company Lockdown. He travels the world bringing enjoyment to audiences at live shows, using his still preternatural ability to entertain. And he has just released his 13th album Living The Dream: a diverse collection of transatlantic crossover tracks (whose striking artwork features Tippa surfing atop dollar bills wearing a crown).
In part 2 of our full career interview with Tippa Irie, he talks about going on the road with Saxon, pop success with Greensleeves and his mixed experiences with major labels…
When you joined Saxon they already had quite a lot of notable people there like Levi, Maxi Priest and Peter King. Did you know them already?
No, but to me it was just dances. It wasn’t like you’d go there and it was like “Who is this guy?” You’d go over there and people had just got to respect your talent. If you could deliver then people can say what they want to say but you’re delivering. At the end of the day nobody could tell Musclehead “Who is this guy? We don’t want him here!” They saw my talent. Dennis Rowe was the main guy really. Dennis was the man that was infectious, who gathered us altogether and really showed us the love. He really cared about us. Dennis was the man that really kept us all together.
In the final part of our full career interview with Tippa Irie, he recalls how he was able to diversify into the worlds of football, hip hop and theatre, the challenges of surviving as an independent artist, and why, despite this, he is still Living the Dream…
Tell me a bit about how you recorded the 1993 Arsenal song Shouting For The Gunners with Peter Hunnigale? That was the year the Arsenal won the double wasn’t it?
Yeah that was the double year! There was a guy, a friend of mine, I can’t remember his name because it was a while back now and he was in that circle, the football circle. I think his name was Fred. He said “Tip, you know I’ve got an idea. I think the Gunners are going to do the double“. He came to me with the idea and I went to Peter with the idea because I thought that Peter could do the music. I just came up with “I know and you know we’re shouting for the Gunners“. Then of course I’m an Arsenal supporter so it was easy for me to write the lyrics. Peters is a supporter too.
We just got together and we did the song and we sent it to all of the radio DJs that we knew supported Arsenal. Like George Kay and Jigs in all these guys from Choice. They all supported Arsenal so they started to play on the radio. Then London Records, Pete Tong and these guys, they heard it so they signed it. It started to blow up from there and it got to number 33 in the charts. We nearly made it on Top Of The Pops but George Graham wouldn’t let the team come on Top Of The Pops at the time. If they did that it would have shot up the charts but because they didn’t it stayed in the 30s. But was still an achievement. We all did a video together.