Buggy’s fully loaded
SAY?THE?NAME Ryan Chase and the response comes back at you: Ryan who? Say?the?name Buggy Nhakente and immediately it is recognised as belonging to one of Barbados’ leading reggae artistes.
Deejays do not have “to be prodded” to play his music anymore and for a Bajan reggae artiste that is an accomplishment.
“For the genre of music that I do as a Barbadian artiste and the amount of airplay that I understand that I get . . . it has to be tremendous. Deejays are not going to blast [my music] everyday, but when they do, they do. It is in constant rotation,” was how the 36-year-old full-time dreadlocked reggae artiste put it during a recent interview with the WEEKEND?NATION.
Reggae is a way of life for the Parish Land, Christ Church born. It has taken him from the narrow confines of his homeland right across the Caribbean on many tours. He has gone as far the Middle East – Doha, Qatar to be exact, where he is scheduled to return at the end of this month.
Before returning to the Middle East, Buggy will be in concert at the Reggae Lounge with his band Fully Loaded tonight.
Buggy believes that reggae music gives expression to what is happening around him. But he is not cut in the mould of raw lyrical militancy.
“Sometimes it [music] changes [the society] for the bad, but for me I would like my music to change [it] for the good, so I would not sing ‘kill people’ lyrics and ‘die this’. But if something needs to be said . . . and I need to say it in song, I will say it.
“If that makes me an activist or a revolutionary [well] . . . . Take Nelson Mandela for instance, they use to say that he is a terrorist . . . but because of the work he did and what he represented at that time, 27 years later he was a hero because the world changed.”
The well-travelled singer is quite aware that some reggae artistes have attracted hostile reaction from special interest group because of their anti-gay and hate crime lyrics.
He has therefore taken a very pragmatic approach to his career.
“When you travel and see the world and when you look at things on a different scale . . . you don’t know who is coming to your show, you are making songs that you don’t know who is listening to [you] . . . I would hope that people respect each other opinions, societies and rights as they want others to respect theirs”.
The passion for the rootsy side of Jamaican music was always with the former employee of Barbados Light and Power. It was while at The St Michael School that a comment from a school colleague spurred him to think about getting involved in entertainment after hearing singing a song he had written about a field trip. But it was after graduating from the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic in mechanical engineering that he seriously considered an entertainment career.
His first recording, on cassette Good Loving was with producer KB Sharpe.
The relationship evolve as KB Sharpe was more into hip-hop and Buggy was committed to reggae.
Each went his way. There was no break-up.
The next move for Buggy was to run with a group called Foundation Youts who took the reggae music across Barbados.
While moving across the island, Buggy was, “developing myself as an artist because my style of chanting started to become a more sing/chanting and “more into being a rastaman”.
“I guess people were beginning to see me more as a rebel and revolutionary and all of this time I was still Lil Buggy. We targetted the radio . . and it was going good for a while but after it fell apart because everybody did not have the same vision.”
It was time for Buggy to shape his future. He kept his loyalty to reggae. He never accepted that it should be a seasonal thing here.
“I was like: ‘if Jamaicans doing it all year round, we have to be doing it all year round too.”
Buggy eventually hooked back up KB to record Wave. His next song was Nubian Girl which “opened up Barbadians for me”.
Buggy felt thew momentum and had to make a decision about his career.
He said Fully Loaded came about as a result of the evolution of himself as an artist.
“Between 2002 and 2005 I got an opportunity to do my first set of touring and sing outside of Barbados: the cross-fusion of reggae what people call chanting . When I came back to Barbados my producer and I sat down and he said it was becoming samey samey . . . If you want people to keep listening to you have to reinvent it . . . I went home and thought about the character [Buggy]. . . and what people thought when they heard the Buggy. A lot of people would ask ‘where is the horse’ jokingly. I played on that for a little bit and then I decided to make it ‘fully loaded’. That is where ?Buggy Fully Loaded came from.”
After working with Fully Loaded Buggy got an opportunity to pursue reggae music at a different level and that is when he headed to Jamaica – the roots of reggae on the invitation of reggae artistes Zizzla and Tony Rebel.
One of the criticisms Buggy faces here is that he wants to sound like a Jamaican. He however said the Jamaicans do not think that he wants to sound like them.
“They just think you are trying to do it way it is suppose to be done.”
He has learnt a lot from his sojourns to the “land of wood and water”.
“Adapting was not too difficult.?I could say my style of writing had change. I understood what I could use and what was impossible to use. What I could sing about in terms of topics and what comes out of you and makes the most impact it makes on people . . .
“All I had to do was to learn the language of reggae while I was singing reggae . .. it is not jumping on a reggae bandwagon. It is a music with message. It is a connection to a way of expression. The way reggae uses me is to express . . . it makes people sit down and listen for truth.”
One of the big moments while in Jamaica was to perform at Rebel Salute of which he said he was received “very good”.
As Buggy prepares for his show tonight, in tribute to the late Bob Marley whose birthday was yesterday, he is building up with repertoire for further recordings.
“The last album release was in 2012 Just a Man, it is still going pretty good, I have not been able to settle and get into the studio to record another album given the hectic travelled schedule. I have been continously recording so that I can have my third solo album pretty soon,” he said
Asked if he would leave the entertainment scene, Buggy said he was committed to his vision as a reggae singer.
“I was always was one who wanted a mechanical shop because I always enjoyed doing machinist type of work. I use to work with Barbados Light and Power. I packed up my bags to leave to come here [be an entertainer]. So to pack up my bags to go back is like . . . . . ” said Buggy without any doubt about his mission.