General Degree returned to the forefront of Reggae culture with firstly, his clothing line and now, he is completing his latest album, "Bedroom Bully." In an interview yesterday, he promised that as the name insinuates, the album would be one that is a vintage General Degree stylistic, with great wordplay, catchy lyrics and good quality rhythms. A date of release is not yet confirmed, but Look out for it!
Born Burt Cardiff on April 28, 1968 in the parish of Manchester, Jamaica, General Degree's love for music began at age six when as a child he often hid from his strict Christian parents in order to get a taste of what was happening on the airwaves. As he grew older he played the radio a little louder, listening keenly to the lyrical styles of Lt Stitchie, Papa San and Professor Nuts and he developed his own unique style of comical story telling/DJing.
General Degree developed his stage name by adopting the "General" from "General Trees" one of his mentors, and the "Degree" because of its "University Rank" meaning, which evidently describes the standard by which this hard hitting entertainer works. After sneaking out at nights to dances and hanging around the sound systems, the tailor by day saved enough money to travel to Kingston to make his first recording entitled "Circle Mandeville." He instantly became one of Mandeville's hottest talents. To achieve his dreams of international success General Degree moved to Kingston, the capital of the dancehall music.
He came out with a blockbuster hit "Granny," a dialogue between a granny and her grandson. In order to move to the next level, and not to be stereotyped, Degree wasted no time. No longer using his granny voice, he went on to work with some of the best reggae producers in the business, such as Donovan Germaine (Penthouse), Bobby "Digital B" Dixon, Dave Kelly (Madhouse), Sly and Robbie, along with Steelie and Cleevie. At the close of 1993, Degree signed a management contract with Main Street Records. He once again combined his talents with Danny Brownie on "Pianist" dubbed the most controversial song for 1993, which went up the charts.
After his 1997 self-entitled work, "Degree", General worked on his new album "Bush Baby" which featured some of Degree¹s best work ever. "Bush Baby" featured 16 tracks like Miss Gotti, Traffiic Blocking, Boom Boom, Pleasure Tour, the title track, Bush Baby, and lets not forget his duets with Red Rat and Maxi Priest.
In music in general and in dancehall in particular, sometimes only the sound of an artist's voice sets him or her apart from others, and Degree's hearty chatting is appealing in its forceful yet fun-loving zeal. Bush Baby is a nice display of his talent, a showcase of strict dancehall undiluted by pop sentiment (save perhaps for the irritating Maxi Priest duet "Baby Boo" and the cutesy title cut). Aside from the two previously mentioned tracks, highlights include the rousing "Signal" and "She Miss Mi Now," which has a crossover edge, along with the Ward 21 produced "Bag a Things" and "Buss Mi Door," which rides the Heavy Metal riddim used on Buccaneer's "Bruk Out".