2012′s a big year! It’s an election year for the US, an Olympic Year for the world, and the golden jubilee for Jamaica! This August marks the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence from Britain.
Jamaica gained their independence in 1962, and six years later, the nation created one of their finest exports, Reggae music! To incorporate the sounds of the island into this year’s celebration several artist have released a singles to honor the nation’s anniversary.
To help organize the celebration, The Jamaica 50 Secretariat, an arm of Jamaica’s Ministry of Youth and Culture have been assigned to plan, organize and execute the events to celebrate Jamaica’s 50th anniversary. This bureau commissioned Shaggy to develop a song for the Jamaica 50 marketing campaign.
After a reported $1.7 million was spent in production, “On A Mission” was created. The track that features a handful of Jamaica’s most talented artists. Shaggy, Assassin, Beres Hammond, Tarrus Riley, Damian Marley, Romain Virgo, Chevelle Franklyn, Tifa & Tessanne Chin, and Wayne Marshall all donated their time, and talents for the project. The track was produced by Shaggy and recorded by his new record label, Ranch Entertainment. Check out the video below of Shaggy discussing the project.
Officially released through Jamaican radio, and the internet on June 15th, “On A Mission” is an up-tempo, uplifting, dance groove, with a fusion of various sounds and styles. There are reggae riddim verses, but the single is more of a club jam than an island tune. It’s a party anthem, great for a celebration, however some say it may be out of touch with the core of Jamaicans, that the pop sound of the track may not be appropriate to represent the 50th anniversary, and the history that represents.
In a recent video interview, recording artist Gramps Morgan criticized the track saying, “(there) could have been enough things done to represent ska, rock-steady, reggae, dancehall… it could of been a little more roots…” Watch the short statement below!
When it was released, “On A Mission” unofficially became billed as the official song for the 50th anniversary celebration of Jamaica’s independence. The confusion caused a small uproar and heated debate about whether “On A Mission” or the 2011 track, “Find the Flag” should be the official song of the Jamaica 50 celebrations. If one song was going to be chosen to represent the golden jubilee, many people believed that there were other choices that should be considered,
in late 2011, as the plans for the celebration were beginning to form, “Find the Flag” was written and produced Micheal ‘Mickey’ Bennet. It features 15 artistes that includes Ken Boothe, Freddie McGregor, Konshens, Capleton, Tarrus Riley, Natel, Bunny Rugs, Chevelle Franklin, Vegas, Admiral Bailey and Stitchie. The song has an obvious historical, and patriotic concept, apparent from the start of the song. Also people may be more in tune with this song, as it contains more of a nationalistic, traditional and familiar reggae sound.
The Jamaica 50 Secretariat settled the debate by issuing this statement:
” This Marketing Campaign song was never intended to be, nor is it considered by the Jamaica 50 Secretariat to be The Official Jamaica 50 Celebrations Song. The Jamaica 50 Secretariat recognized that the Minister with responsibility for Culture in the previous administration had announced another song, commissioned by the former Administration and produced by Mr. Michael Bennett, as the official Jamaica 50 Celebrations Song. It is the view of the Jamaica 50 Secretariat that in this 50th anniversary year all talented Jamaican artistes should be able to feel that their creative work has an equal opportunity to be a part of the national celebrations. As such, the re-scoped and restructured Jamaica 50 Project approved by the Government does not include any one song as the official Jamaica 50 celebrations song.”
The Jamaica 50 Secretariat went on to explain that various songs will be used for different celebratory events. For example, in the online debate, several people had suggested, with its up-tempo pop dance sound, that “On A Mission” maybe a good song to represent the Jamaican Olympic team, while “Find the Flag,” and its patriotic sound may be a better representation for the celebration of 50 years of independence. The Cultural Development Commission’s annual popular song competition is also in the works… another source for songs to celebrate with. Hopefully there will be a Jamaica 50 Song Compilation album in honor of this momentous occasion!
“On A Mission”
“Find the Flag”
Ranchet Records Website
Ranchent Records facebook
Article By: Aaron Solomon
Watch Shaggy’s interview about “On A Mission.”
Recording artist Gramps Morgan talks about the project.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary, Shaggy and Ranchent Records have also released the single “Love Mi Jamaica” featuring Shaggy, Red Fox, and Andre Fennel.