Bringin ‘it Backwards: Interview with Cham
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We had the pleasure of interviewing Cham over Zoom video!
Having amassed success spanning over three decades for his pioneering milestones and culturally-shaping achievements in the space of Dancehall, Reggae, Hip Hop, and more, Cham (pka Baby Cham) has crafted an undisputable legacy that remains peerless to the greatest in class. Today the multi Grammy Award-nominated, internationally acclaimed artist unleashes the highly anticipated visual to his fiery single “Lock Down. ” Lock Down takes on its masterful flare from the Clockwork Riddim, which is produced by eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt. Bolt, in a few short years, has shown that there is nothing off the table for him, and that success follows in every endeavor as long as the passion is upheld.
WATCH “LOCK DOWN” HERE
“Lock Down” find the dancehall legend in his element, spitting fiery, conscious-rooted lyrics over iconic bass-knocking beats made to uplift and rejoice. Cham encapsulates what life has been like in Jamaica for almost two years in a cinematically emotive way, using the extraordinary natives of Jamacia as leading stars for his genius real & raw storytelling.
The rich, bass-laced, fast-paced world of dancehall music means only the best of the best survive. Not many can go through a name change and still remain relevant. Many would say that even less can manage to take a break, tour the world and return to the scene to command an audience like never before.
Clearly, you’ve never met the Grammy-nominated dancehall-superstar that is Cham.
Having started in the music business by watching artists like John Wayne and Super Cat rehearse on his uncle’s Waterhouse-based sound system, Studio Mix, Cham doesn’t look at his musical career as a ‘job’. He has all right to, though. With his unmistakable voice and remarkable stage presence, Cham has made his name in dancehall all over the world.
He first emerged on the dancehall kaleidoscope in the mid-1990s, making tracks on various juggling riddims including the immortal Showtime Riddim which spawned his hit Galang gal. Then, in 2000, under the moniker Baby Cham, gave the world his debut album Wow: The Story, and hits such as Many Many, Boom tune, Man & Man and more. The formula of Cham’s deep baritone voice and rustic, lyrically lethal tracks made sure that he would stake his claim in the annals of music history.
While musical naysayers continued yapping about the limited potential of dancehall, Cham’s crossover hit Vitamin S struck a nerve… with the world. The song was perfect. Vitamin S racked up uncountable hours on disc jock turntables around the world, and led the artist, whose real name is Damian Beckett, to a deal with Atlantic Records, where he joined fellow Jamaican Sean Paul and American rap stars like Lil ‘Kim and Fat Joe.
His loyalty to Jamaica and Jamaica’s culture never faded, and his goal was always to bring dancehall music to international ears. In fact, Cham can be quoted as saying, many years ago, that he wants Madhouse Productions to be an international household name.
It came as no surprise when Cham and Madhouse worked together to produce Ghetto story, his biggest hit to date. The song hit at the end of 2005, and again, Cham took over the world. The song was a narrative of the rough and rugged life Cham overcame to become the man he is today, through the thick and thin of some of Jamaica’s toughest garrison communities and streets.
Having put the song into perspective and silencing all naysayers yet again, Cham went a step further and attracted none other than Alicia Keys to remix the now worldwide hit single. The world waited on bated breath for the release of Ghetto Story’s official video, and again the world watched in awe as Cham sent dancehall music to new heights, shattering glass ceilings on the way to the top.
But that wasn’t the first time Cham’s unmistakable style and voice ended up on a track with an international artist. His list of collaborations includes Foxy Brown, MIA, Nina Sky, Mario and more. But for Cham, it’s not about the accolades and the egos.
Having amassed many more international smash singles over the year such as the high-tempo, club-rocking hits Wine, That Way and Tun Up, Back Way and more places Cham’s versatility as an artist on display for the world to see across an array of generations.
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