Police in Helicopter – Yaadcore, Jah9, & Subatomic Sound System

Reggae’s classic ganja tune & incendiary protest song re-licked for 2021 with two of the Jamaican “reggae revival“ movement’s stars, Yaadcore & Jah9, updating the vibes on the mic alongside Lee “Scratch” Perry’s NYC band Subatomic Sound System producing the heavyweight riddim in the future dubwise style of their acclaimed “Super Ape Returns to Conquer” album. Originally recorded in 1982 by John Holt & The Roots Radics at Channel One Studio, this song captured the hearts of a generation opposed to the CIA-funded, $9 million campaign by Jamaican police to eradicate marijuana from the island. With the goal of bringing this musical history to a new generation, Yard Birdz Records approached Emch of Subatomic Sound System to recreate the riddim with 21st century sub bass and drums, helicopters swirling overhead, and plenty of dubwise smoke & fire. Jah9 brings new vibes to John Holt’s original lyrics with her signature vocal style that evokes the deep, powerful tone of US jazz giant Nina Simone or Lauryn Hill. Known for her own poetic protest music as well as recent boomshot collaborations with Chronixx, Jah9’s performance demonstrates why her unique sound has paved the way for a new generation of women in reggae. Meanwhile, Yaadcore turns up the heat with all new verses addressing today’s cannabis industry ina style that connects the roots of classic DJs like Yellowman & U-Roy to the dancehall era of Vybz Kartel. Yaadcore surprised the world in 2020, reintroducing himself as a vocalist after being the longtime DJ for Protoje. Yaadcore is credited with launching the mixtape series that introduced Chronixx & Protoje to the world. Subatomic percussionist and Jamaican legend Larry McDonald, 84 years young, is on the congas, nyabinghi drums, & percussion, adding new African rhythms absent from the original tune. Larry brings a lifetime of heritage as a reggae originator having worked with everyone from Count Ossie, The Skatalites, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, & Lee Perry in Jamaica to Gil Scot Heron, Taj Mahal, and even Bad Brains in the USA. Subatomic’s Troy Shaka Simms adds saxophone lines that take it back to Africa with melodies inspired by the timeless Ethiopian jazz of Mulatu Astatke. The guitar lines on the original tune are redone with heavily effected horns reminiscent of Lee Perry’s Black Ark recordings. On the dubstrumental mix, Emch plays and dubs the melodica in the fragmented style of Augustus Pablo’s “King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown”.

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