BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Seani B first began DJing as a youngster in the late ’80s when his older brothers schooled him in the art. Quickly progressing, his desire to grow found him working shifts in west London record shops and hosting radio shows on local community stations. His first big break came in 1994, when he released a bootleg dancehall reggae remix of the Case and Foxy Brown classic ‘Touch Me, Tease Me’. The success of that track led to a call from Kiss FM to work as an in-house mixer, and the feverish demand for Seani’s remixes led to artists like Lauryn Hill, Destiny’s Child and Beenie Man requesting his services.
Today the Grammy award winner balances his craft as a label owner, producer, DJ, and a fundamental part of 1Xtra. His focus has remained the same, as he continues to spread his love of reggae, dancehall and all things musical through the platforms at his disposal. With an upcoming performance at this year’s LIMF festival in Liverpool – where he’ll perform a roots, rock and reggae show – we asked Seani to enlighten us with 10 essential roots tracks. Classic Sizzla, new school Chronixx and the late reggae prodigy Garnet Silk…
1. Sizzla – Praise Ye Jah
In the mid 90s Sizzla created a new Rasta movement with such gems as this song. Praise ye Jah is a modern day rockers classic.
2. Chronixx – Here Comes Trouble
Chronixx has been the leading voice in the latest crop of roots artists. The drive of the riddim track and his military vocal attack combined has made this an anthem.
3. Morgan Heritage – Strictly Roots
Produced by myself and my partner Don Chandler, this helped Morgan Heritage scoop the Best Reggae Album 2016 at the Grammy.
4. Fabian – Prophecy
In every good Roots record you need a heavy bassline. This is every basshead’s dream.
5 .Bob Marley and The Wailers – Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)
I could pick so many Bob Marley classics, but I chose this because of childhood memories. As a kid I always used to wonder why the lyrics were, “Them belly full, but them hungry.” As you get older you start to understand how lyrics like these are inspired!
6. Horace Andy – Rock To Sleep
This is definitely a personal favourite. Again its all about the bassline for me. The simplicity in the production is genius.
7. Garnet Silk – Splashing Dashing
Garnet Silk is a talent that we never got the opportunity to see fully blossom. He was an artist who’s spirituality came though the speakers from his music, this is a perfect example.
8. Capleton – Jah Jah City
Capleton the fireman HAS to be in this list, his catalogue of hits is undeniable. Roots music is about the message, Jah Jah city.
When some people think of Aswad they think of the pop reggae band. When I think of Aswad I think of this track and 1980’s cult UK reggae sound system film Babylon.
10. Dennis Brown – Promised Land
The haunting horns is the backdrop for this Dennis Brown classic. The extra bonus is that it’s produced by Aswad.
Seani B’s Roots, Rock, Reggae show takes place 23rd July as part of Liverpool International Music Festival with Christopher Ellis, Carroll Thompson, Sweetie Irie and Kiko Bun all performing. Entry is free, with more information available on the LIMF website.