Jade Hylton: Bmusic talks to MC Trooper

MC Trooper has been pushing the good lovin’ vibe now since the ’70s and has seen how the reggae and roots scene has grown to be a big part of our love for music in Brighton. He also recently released his first track on local label, Roots Garden Records. I talked to him about how reggae and roots branched into the Brighton culture, how it was planted in the city, and continues to grow.

“When I first started coming to Brighton I always felt good vibes, I love this place, it’s a very creative, artistic, diverse sort of place. When I first started coming down here, there was no reggae as such in Brighton. Me and my brother brought reggae to Brighton in the form of a sound system.”

“When I moved down to the south I introduced my brother to the sound system culture. He had a system in his room and I had one in this bedsit we were living in. His was called Ethnic Rebel and my one was called Fugitive HiFi, and we used to battle, till in the end we put them together and called them Tribal HiFi, and that’s when we started bringing it to Brighton.”

What was the reggae scene like in Brighton back in the ’70s?
“There used to be a place called the Resource Centre up at the top of North Street and we used to run that all night every weekend. We would move in the sound system, it was totally illegal, but the police used to say, by the time there’s so many people in there we can’t do anything about it, that was the attitude them days, as long we wasn’t making problems out on the street.

“There was another place called the Afro Club which was held in the Concorde, but not the Concorde as you know it today; it used to be up the top of the seafront near where the wheel is now. On a Friday there was a hip-hop night going on down there so me and my brother would check it out. It was the only place where you might hear a little reggae being played, reggae was really kept underground. We used to fight to get a little reggae played in them days.”

What is reggae music to you? Not just beat or rhythmic wise, but the culture and soul of reggae?
“Reggae music is the heartbeat, when we sit down as Rasta and play the drums, the first rhythm you hear is of a heartbeat, and reggae music is built off that. That’s why it’s so harmonious to everybody, I go to places like Spain, Italy, Germany, a lot of them can’t understand the lyrics, as such, but because of the power of the feel of the music, they feel that heartbeat. A lot of people now are learning English through music. Music is very powerful.”

“It’s a spiritual thing, it’s not about your hairstyle or the food you eat”

“It’s a spiritual thing, it’s not about your hairstyle or your clothes or the food you eat, reggae music is the thing that pushed Rasta and roots culture and showed people it’s not about all this other stuff, it’s a one love ting.”

You can hear MC Trooper on reggae radio station VibesFM on Friday 10am–12pm, Saturdays 7am–10am and Tuesdays 11pm–2am. MC Trooper is also performing in festivals all around the world as well as sets in Brighton which you can find the dates for on his website www.mctrooper.com. You can also stream free music at myspace.com/mctrooper and follow him on Facebook on www.facebook.com/mctrooper12

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