Reporting Live From Jamaica's Concrete Jungles, Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley Exposes A World You Won't See On Postcards.
Driven by a mighty riddim from legendary reggae producers Sly & Robbie and tricked out enough motorcycle, glock and siren samples to male the dub wizard Lee 'Scratch' Perry blush, Jr. Gong's trance - inducing Welcome To Jamrock introduces the world to what life's about in Trench Town of today: massive poverty, endless random acts of violence, ruthless cocaine pushers, gangs whose powers have eclipsed the government's, and dangerously undereducated youths.
Who's to blame? According to Jr. Gong, it's the country's past and present leaders and Jamaican parents." A lot of our problems in our economy have to do with the importation of food from elsewhere. We cannot compete with America's farmers. So you'll find that imported food often sells cheaper than what is grown in Jamaica."
Although the island's leaders need to make Jamaican food affordable for Jamaicans, parents need to be more responsible as well, Jr. Gong says." On a community level, people need to be going around speaking to parents about making sure their kids are going to school, because a lot of times schools will be there, but kids don't go." And that's just grazing the surface, he says.
Even while the violence on the island is continuing to spread to the affluent, uptown areas of Kingston and increasingly putting natives in a state of despair, Welcome To Jamrock has angered Jamaicans who resent being lumped with ghetto gang bangers. Unfazed, Jr. Gong responds, "If people are getting emotional, then that means it's doing what it's supposed to be respect in the international marketplace. I don't know of any other genre of music where you can say, "the music is really about upliftment - upliftment of the people." (See the entire article in the October 2005 issue of The Source, pg. 83)