By Natasha Ofosu
Grenada | Monday 21 March 2016: 11:11 GMT
When Grenadian artist Tallpree burst onto the soca scene in 1999 with his hit Old Woman Alone, it marked the start of Jab Jab music’s ascent from an obscure sub-genre of soca to one that is recognised internationally in its own right. While not credited as the originator of Jab Jab - an accolade attributed to the Grenadian band Moss International, who are said to have been the first to have included the conch shell in their recordings - Tallpree is now hailed as the undisputed King of Jab. The singer, whose real name is Wilt Cambridge, has been unwavering in his commitment to the music. He has produced memorable dancefloor fillers such as The Grave, the Jail and the Hospital with which he won the Grenada Road March title in 2000, Jab Jab Crew with Alison Hinds (2002), Wicked Jab (2009), and Jab Jab Nation on the Vintage riddim (2013). Jab, which comes from the French word ‘diable’ meaning ‘devil’, is a distinctly percussive sound with a three-beat repeated refrain (often rung out on a conch shell). The word also refers to the devil masqueraders in Carnival (called Spice Mas in Grenada) who, smeared in black oil, mud or paint, wearing horns and carrying chains, whips or even serpents, depict the evils meted out to enslaved Africans by their colonial masters. Tallpree has explained that “Jab music is a movement” which Grenadians, including him, are immersed in from childhood. “Grenadians live for Jab. Just as the fancy costumes in Trinidad is the big thing, J’Ouvert is the biggest thing in Grenada when it comes to Carnival,” he said. “That passion, that energy, that vibe is always there.” Tallpree began his music career as a reggae dancehall singer. He switched genres to soca in 1997, a decision which began to pay dividends two years later. He won the Spice Mas Road March title twice, in 2000 and 2001, and in 2003 he was crowned Soca Monarch. Tallpree established his Preeday concert in 2011 on the Wednesday before the climax of Spice Mas. The annual event has grown to become one of the premium shows of the carnival, attracting top-draw local and regional artists. The signs, based on the music he has released thus far, are that 2016 will be a blistering year for Tallpree. Doh Touch Me on the Sick Jab riddim has an irrepressible vibe, and We Dirty on the Jumbie Jab riddim adds a new element of synthesised/electronic dance music beats to the traditional jab rhythm. He also has a number of hot collaborations: Sugar Cane, a double entendre with Psycho Bob; Born Mad with Slammer Cutter from Toronto; Fraid Jab with Trinidadian radio presenter and soca artist Shal Marshall; Powder, a straight up power soca duet with Nadia Batson.
You can catch Tallpree performing at Cocoyea’s Easter Monday fete’ | Click for tickets and more information