Junior Reid’s New Album ‘Living Legend’

Junior Reid

Junior Reid makes a bold claim with the title of his next album, due mid-August. It is Living Legend, a 16- to 18-track set of all-new songs, which includes Heat is On, Looking Out, Take it Easy (featuring Capleton), Where is the Love, I’m So Crazy (featuring Cassidy), and Real OG. With the songs all recorded and the artwork already done, Reid says he is now “listening back to see which mix can be better.”

He has a long list of legendary hits to draw upon, yet by going with a totally new song line-up, Reid is not resting his statement on what he has done in a very long and storied musical career.

There was a time when there was another descriptive to his stage name, which emphasised how young he was, relative to those he was sharing sound system and studio time with. Starting out at 13 years old and doing his first recording (Speak The Truth, produced by Hugh Mundell) at 14 years old, he was known as ‘Little Junior Reid’.

“It those days it was a trend to call you little – Little John, Little Kirk,” Reid said.

Other recordings

There were several other recordings, among them Mini Bus Driver, Know Thyself, Jailhouse, Human Nature and Babylon Release the Chains, before he really hit with Foreign Mind. He was making progress on the sound systems as well, moving from Studio Mix and Master Blaster to Lees Unlimited, King Jammys and U-Roy’s Stur-Gav. His first major stage performance was at the Ward Theatre, downtown Kingston, with Hugh Mundell and Dennis Brown. According to Reid, he performed really well and “from that me start get a good buzz downtown”. Which was important, as that was where Beat Street (the strip of studios and record shops along Orange Street) throbbed with the pulse of Jamaican popular music.

He dropped the ‘Little’ in short order, survived – physically as well as professionally – the murder of his mentor Mundell, had his first album, Mini Bus Driver, released as part of the trio Voice of Progress, joined first Reggae Grammy winners Black Uhuru for three albums (Brutal, Positive and a live recording) and hit again as a solo artiste with One Blood, Married Life and Banana Boat Man to bring up the 1990s. Then, in the first decade of the new millennium, the hip-hop collaborations This Is Why I’m Hot and the No One remake with Alicia Keys added to the legend.

Confidence in new songs

And yet, it is a catalogue he refuses to draw on. “I definitely have confidence in the new songs to live up to the title. We keep doing new stuff,” Reid said. He produced four tracks on Living Legend and relies on a number of “new and upcoming producers in Jamaica” for much of the others. Dre, Casper, Ghost and engineer Richie have production credits on the album, then there are the hip-hop hotshots, Swizz Beats and Blackout Movements (who produced the This is Why I’m Hot remix).

“From that time me always putting out a song, keeping current. It may not blow up big like some songs from other companies, but people still know it. Me always feel in the game. Me never feel like me out of the game or is a problem to make a hit,” he said. “If I did, when Game do over One Blood I wouldn’t have anything to follow it up with. I had This is Why I’m Hot (the remix of Mims’ song, along with Cham) and No One remix with Alicia Keys.”

And even before Living Legend is released, he is preparing the follow-up. “I already have the title of the next album and I have songs for it already. We have enough songs right now to do two albums,” Reid said.

He starts touring on July 15 to support Living Legend, starting in the UK and Europe, them comes back to the United States, Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean. In addition, he will be trying to venture into some new markets, including the African continent.

For Living Legend or not, he knows he has to keep active.

“The more you on the road when the album is out, the more you get out there, the more you promote the album the better,” Reid said.

Jamaica Gleaner

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One Response

  1. very informative post, thanks for posting

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