Is Chronixx Jamaican Reggae's Next Big Thing? Chris Blackwell, Diplo Think So

Chronixx, performing at SOB's in New York (Marlon "Ajamu" Myrie)

On Sept. 17, SOB's nightclub in lower Manhattan presented the New York City debut of Jamaica’s most buzzed about reggae act, Chronixx and the Zinc Fence Redemption. Throughout their 8-date Dread and Terrible east coast tour (so named for their forthcoming EP, to be released on Chronixx’s label Zinc Fence Records) which concluded on Sept. 21 in Brooklyn, Chronixx and his band have played in mostly sold-out venues averaging a capacity of 600.
 
Throughout his 85-minute set, Chronixx, (b. Jamar McNaughton) -- tall, casually dressed in a light blue denim shirt, khaki pants and a beige wool tam, a style reminiscent of the late reggae icon Peter Tosh -- charismatically delivered his rapidly expanding repertoire of hit songs that have prompted the meteoric rise of his career over the past year. Many industry insiders, as well as fans, cite the 21-year old Rastafarian sing-jay as reggae’s next superstar.
 
“I think it is the spirit within my music that has made it so popular, that’s what people are feeling,” Chronixx told Billboard.biz in a late July interview in Kingston. “In December 2012, everybody started to talk about Chronixx; before that I could walk on the road in Jamaica without anyone recognizing me... that is impossible now.” Following the August 2012 release of the video for “Behind Curtain”, a barbed commentary on false friends.

Chronixx has emerged as a leading light among an unofficial consortium of young Jamaican Rastafarian acts, being branded as a "Reggae Revival." These “revivalists,” including Dre Island, Jah Bouks, Jah9, Protoje, Kelissa (the opening act on Chronixx’s US tour) and Kabaka Pyramid, who topped the Next Big Sound chart in early May, play consciousness-raising, spiritually enriching one-drop reggae, evocative of Jamaican music’s (so called) '70s golden age -- yet rife with contemporary influences.
 
Chronixx’s lyrics range from topical anti-war statements (“Modern Warfare”) to cautious romantic declarations (“Access Granted”) to rousing anthems of resiliency (“Ain’t No Giving In”) which are enhanced in his live performances by audience interactions and an animated delivery, often punctuated by spins and leg kicks. His lithe vocals convey a righteous rage as persuasively as the abiding love he expresses for his native land on  “Smile Jamaica”.

Island Records' founder (turned hotel and rum magnate) Chris Blackwell is also impressed by Chronixx, describing his music, in an email to Billboard.biz, as “completely fresh, uplifting and very pure,” adding that "it's fantastic for someone so young to be able to communicate his message in the way he does and entertain at the same time."
 
Chronixx met with Blackwell following the artist’s June performance at Blackwell’s idyllic GoldenEye resort, located on Jamaica’s north coast. Neither the artist nor his management would comment on the meeting. “We are taking the time to figure out the best people to work with to put the music on the platform that we envision it,” Chronixx stated. “As of right now, I am unsigned and independent; I want to explore my sound without any restrictions.”