BY JELANI GRANT
Kool Runninz & Skylevel Entertainment has organized Flair, for the first time, an end of year music celebration with Sir B as MC. Toronto-based Reggae-star Lenn Hammond is scheduled to perform along with Exco Levi, Steele, and Ammoye with special guest Boyo Hammond. DJ Grandmaster Rosa, Soul to Soul and The Hard Core Band will keep the night thumping at the Jamaican Canadian Association.
Hammond said the event was intended to be a pre-New Years Eve event for those who want to enjoy a fun music-filled night without paying too much. “We want to give the people a nice night to enjoy… some good music and good company”, he said. As a testament to his performing talent, the term ‘Lenndification’ was created to describe the essence of Lenn Hammond during a live performance.
Born in St. Mary, Jamaica Hammond grew up surrounded by musical talent such as Beres and Yogie Hammond. His father, Boyo Hammond, is also a Reggae artist, known for LP’s such as Younger Touch and Boyo Roots Reggae during the days when vinyl records were more popular. Besides performing with Steele before, Hammond is very familiar with the works of his father Boyo Hammond, a Reggae legend in his own right. “Boyo is the general, he’s magnificent,”
Hammond is well known for his soulful sound and his lyrics which can be romanticizing or touch on relevant political issues. In 1993, he had a hit with his own composition, ‘Just The Other Night’, and reached the Top 10 rank in Toronto. Hammond is also a past JUNO Award winner for his self-titled, debut album for which he won Best Reggae Recording in March 2001. This album also received a Canadian Reggae Music Award (CRMA) and an Urban Music Award (UMAC). Hammond has performed on stage with legends like Sizzla, Bounty Killer, Buju Banton, Wayne Wonder, Barrington Levy, and Luciano.
Despite the growing number of pop, hip hop and rap hits that have either sampled a Caribbean sound or used vocals from Caribbean artists, such as Justin Bieber’s Sorry and Drake and his OVO crew’s numerous island-inspired hits, Hammond says the exposure for talented Reggae and Calypso artists is helpful for the culture. “I feel good that it’s happening, what we’ve been doing is quality and its good that it is being more appreciated,” he said. “At the business end I wish we could be compensated regularly.”
“I have a dancehall track Drive-by Sex that should ruffle some thoughts,” said Hammond. Hammond describes Drive-by Sex as, “when people have no strings attached, it’s just physical companionship…like, ‘I’m gonna be in the area, lets link up’.” This single will be a part of his next album, he is working to release for 2017. The album touches on social issues, mainly the social injustices that have been brought to light in America in recent years. He said considering the fact that USA is so powerful, the presidential election results reveal a sad truth about democracy and how it works. The Skin I’m In is another single to be found on the album, touching on his own experience with racism and discrimination.
Hammond said he will post his tour lineup once dates have been scheduled and is developing a website that will include all of his music and updates on what he is working on now. For now, he keeps in touch with his fans through social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.