Conscious, cultural Roots Reggae for the people!
Although the first official release on the Version City label (an imprint of the Stubborn Records label) was a US pressing of Rocker T’s “Babywrong Low Way” back in 2002, the label didn’t really kick off until 2007 with the release of a string of Jamaican 45s on the “Fortitude” riddim, a roots reggae boom shot rocking out of King Django‘s Version City Studio in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. The riddim was written and recorded by Django as the first track for the Version City Rockers’ “Darker Roots” sessions and features the original drums and bass team from Boston’s Skavoovie and the Epitones– Ben “Benny Beats” Herson (currently of Nomadic Wax) and Rob Joost. The rest of the Version City Rockers crew on this cut are King Django on piano and percussion, the Slackers’ Vic Ruggiero on organ, roots reggae legend Ashanti Congo Roy of the Congos on percussion and guitarists Brett Tubin and the late Shane Gooding.
A few months after the riddim was layed down, original Jamaican dancehall godfather Johnny Osbourne came in to do a massive dubplate session and blessed Django’s riddim with a killer vocal entitled “Let There Be Love.” Django carried the song down to Kingston, Jamaica in January of 2007. On the strength of this tune he was able to start Version City records with guidance and assistance from veteran reggae producer Bertram Brown, who had run his own Freedom Sounds label since the 1970’s.
For the next twenty months, speaking with Mr. B at length almost daily and often returning to Kingston, Django worked at a fever pitch as an artist and producer on both the Version City and Freedom Sounds labels. During this period, Django’s output included:
STU-7007: Johnny Osbourne – Let There Be Love/Version City Rockers – Version
STU-7008: Little John – I Feel Good/King Django – Thirsty
STU-7009: Pampidoo – Selassie I Rule/Justin Rothberg – God of Abraham
Following on the international success of the first three sellout releases, Version City proudly presented their next batch of bubblers on the “Fortitude” riddim:
STU-7010: Rocker-T. – Dread Inna Mi Heart b/w Version City Rockers – Dub Inna Mi Heart
STU-7011: Nigger Kojak – Give Ear b/w Version City Rockers – Let There Be Dub Version 1
STU-7012: Roaring Lion – Terble Sinting b/w Version City Rockers – Let There Be Dub Version 5
STU-7013: King Django – The More I Learn b/w Gideon Blumenthal – Tabernacle
STU-7014: Prince Alla – We No Want No Bomb/Dread No Want No Bomb
And on the Freedom Sounds “Ethiopian Kings” riddim:
Predator One – Back From the Dead b/w Weatherman – Work Hunting
King Django – One Finger/East Avenue
King Django – Asafa
King Django and Kapaichie – Them A War
Sizzler Ponderosa and Emerald Nutz – Hydrokilla
And on the Version City Rockers “Gangsta Drop” riddim:
STU-7015: Prince Alla – I and I Know/I and I Dub
On September 8, 2008, Mr. Bertram Brown was tragically and prematurely taken from us in a swimming accident during hurricane season off the coast of Negril, Jamaica. The loss of his very dear friend, mentor and business associate was a devastating blow to Django, who became deeply depressed for some time, emotionally unable to continue. Eventually, with Mr. B’s ecstatic exclamation, “Let us flood the streets with music!” as his mantra, Django was able to regain his resolve and begin to pick up the pieces and carry on forward as he knew Mr. B would have wanted.
You can purchase Version City releases at Stubborn Records. Look for new releases on the Version City label very soon!
VERSION CITY LABEL DISCOGRAPHY:
|STU-7006||Rocker-T. – Babywrong Low Way||Strikkly Vikkly||Strikkly Vikkly|
|STU-7007||Johnny Osbourne – Let There Be Love||Version City Rockers – Version||Fortitude|
|STU-7008||Little John – I Feel Good||King Django – Thirsty||Fortitude|
|STU-7009||Pampidoo – Selassie I Rule||Justin Rothberg – God of Abraham||Fortitude|
|STU-7010||Rocker T – Dread Inna Mi Heart||Version City Rockers – Dub Inna Mi Heart||Fortitude|
|STU-7011||Nigger Kojak – Give Ear||Version City Rockers – Let There Be Dub Version 1||Fortitude|
|STU-7012||Roaring Lion – Terble Sinting||Let There Be Dub Version 5||Fortitude|
|STU-7013||King Django – The More I Learn||Gideon Blumenthal – Tabernacle||Fortitude|
|STU-7014||Prince Alla – We No Want No Bomb||Prince Alla – Dread No Want No Bomb||Fortitude|
|STU-7015||Prince Alla – I And I Know||Version City Rockers – I and I Dub||Gangsta Drop|
|STU-7016||Johnny Osbourne – Freedom||Finnigan – Friends||Gangsta Drop|
|STU-7018||Predator One – Back From the Dead||Weatherman – Work Hunting||Ethiopian Kings|