It is the typical journey for a Jamaican artiste to start from humble beginnings in abject poverty and defy the odds to become one of the top names in dancehall. But, as cliché as it is, it’s real and is a big accomplishment for those who’ve lived it. Elements of their successes can be accredited to them focusing on their natural talents, dedication to its development, understanding the business, and stopping at nothing to reach the ultimate goal.
Stylz It had the opportunity to speak with Agent Sasco one of dancehall’s finest. He talks about the values and morals of dancehall artistes; bridging the crossover gap between Reggae/Dancehall music and other genres; and his career path.
It’s time to Stylz It with Agent Sasco:
Stylz It: What keeps Agent Sasco consistent after 15 years in the business?
Sasco: My love for music is sincere and has always been and it has also been my primary motivation. So with my love of music being consistent, I think it facilitates consistency in my work.
Stylz It: There seems to be a communication gap between the established artiste and the upcoming artistes where morals is concerned. Where by the established artistes are not being leaders and the upcoming artistes are not being the followers. What do you think went wrong?
Sasco: I think the issue of morals and values is not limited to the music industry, therefore the causes and effects can’t be. If there is anything wrong, it has to be shared across all the structures and sources of influences in society. Starting with the family, school, church etc… That being said, I don’t think all established artistes are great morals examples and not all upcoming artistes are in need of moral reform.
Stylz It: What’s your views on the crossover genres, for example artistes such as Bruno Mars, Snoop Dogg and so many others that use our reggae samples to create hit songs. Is the crossover healthy for reggae/dancehall? Is it a case where some of our artistes are not seeing the value of what we have here in Jamaica?
Sasco: A particular genre of music is not exclusive to the land of origin. The creative process should be free and non restrictive. Just as Caribbean artistes are free to pursue R&B, Rap, Jazz, Classical, Rock…So too are artistes from across the world free to do, Reggae, Dancehall and Soca. I’m sure our Jamaican artistes understand the value of our music the difference is that artistes like Bruno Mars and Snoop have access to more resources through major international record companies that can provide a greater platform and increase the reach of their music.
Stylz It: Artistes have done songs in the past where it seems to contradict their image at present. For example, an artiste starting off his career doing ‘gun’ songs and years after realizing their true character come with a change of image but their past haunts them. What do you have to say to an upcoming artiste who has not yet found his/her true identity?
Sasco: Do the music that you are comfortable with. Let everything else take care of itself. Like I said, I think the creative process should be free.
Stylz It: After the classic “Gully Sittin” album in 2007. When can we expect a next Agent Sasco album? And how difficult is the process for an artist such as you to complete an album?
Sasco: I’m currently working on an album for a 2015 release. The music and creative part of working on an album is pretty straightforward for me. You choose a direction, identify the producers you think can help execute that direction and get to work. The difficulty is often in the bureaucracy and business side of things.
Stylz It: It seems like the possibilities are endless for you. With your appearance on Kanye West’s Yeezus Album, what else can we expect from you for the rest of 2014 and beyond?
Sasco: I’m happy to be doing what I love. I continue to apply myself, try to learn and develop and grow as a person and an artiste. I love representing my music and I’ll continue to work hard. Within all of that, my experience has been that great songs have come, great live performances, albums and most importantly, the type of fulfillment you get from doing what you love, with sincerity and passion. I will continue to pursue maximizing my potential.