PRODUCER Ainsley “Notnice” Morris says he’s on a mission to return dancehall music to its pride of place on the global stage.
“The sound of it (dancehall music) is changing too much and change is good; but when it is changing for the worse and people a complain both locally and internationally, dat cyaan work,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
According to him, the dancehall sound has lost its appeal. And, he made the decision “to rescue it” after learning United Kingdom radio stations are giving more air time to Afrobeat, while dancehall and reggae music are on the decline.
“I was so not happy with that,” said Notnice, who indicated his new mission kicks off in 2020. “Me just a use my medium to lead by example. So mi just a do more dancehall stuff.”
Notnice rose to prominence in 2009 and provided the rhythms that gave artistes, including Vybz Kartel and Popcaan, an international audience.
In August, he released his 18-track, multi-artiste project, Kyng Midas, which debuted at number 9 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart. He said some of the songs on the album have the old and edgy sound he plans to recreate.
“If you listen to the album and hear Bounty Killer songs, K Queens, (Agent) Sasco, I really try to give it that grimy dancehall sound that I grew up on,” Notnice said.
The producer believes the genre’s changing sound has played a role in hindering dancehall artistes from really tapping into foreign markets.
“No whole heap a artiste nah really crossover. Dem nah hit internationally! It’s 14 parishes and it look like dem just alright with that. Me nuh alright wid it!” he states.
In the late 1980s and ’90s, dancehall music was at its global peak and international labels came courting. Acts including Tiger, Super Cat, Shaggy, Bounty Killer and Beenie Man had major record deals.
“Mi jus’ a go play my part. This is really my goal for next year; fi get more producers and artiste fi try get back the original dancehall sound wah the overseas market did really gravitate to from back in the ’90s,” he added.