“Robert Minott again? Hell yeah! Are you kidding me? Let’s go, let’s go/Rasta train is coming again…” And with those playful, inviting words, the veteran Jamaican born, Atlanta based singer and performer gets down to grooving, hopeful, free-flowing business, meeting our collective moment of release and joy after a year of fear tension and anxiety with “Rasta Funk,” a true anthem of our time and the ultra-infectious title track to his highly anticipated epic new 14-track album on Wolf Entertainment.
Featuring the emotionally resonant backing vocals and snazzy vocal arrangements of Minott’s longtime friend Dorian Paul – legendary for his work as a songwriter, producer, singer and arranger with The Gap Band – “Rasta Funk” sets the much needed uplifting mood of the collection with lines like “We must learn to love and care for each other/Let the music take you higher and higher/Everybody looking for the new best thing/Everybody wanna feel their body swinging.
Addressing head on a time full of racial and political strife, Minott gets to the heart of the message later when he soulfully intones: “Music is love/Music is life. . .No matter your tribe or where you come from/We all one blood/Love is my religion…”
The singer, who this year marks an extraordinary 30 years since the release of his debut album Love Struck, laid the foundation for the release of Rasta Funk with two influential global hit singles. “Let’s Chill,” released in 2020, is a reggae version of a Teddy Riley penned track that was a Billboard Top 5 R&B/Hip-Hop hit in the early 90’s. Produced by Norman Owen – an influential New York based Jamaican artist in his own right – Minott’s recording hit #1 on Reggae Global Radio.
Minott’s subsequent single “Can’t Hold Back” hit #4 on the World Indie Music Chart and #6 on the DRT Reggae Pop chart. Produced by renowned fellow Jamaican artist Kirk “Kirkeldove/Drummy” Bennett, it’s a song of deep longing for an elusive lover, that fuses the singer’s reggae roots with exotic tastes of Afro Beat and R&B and featuring a dynamic rap by Jamaican rapper/DJ Mr. Lexx.
Next up for release is “Yuh Mek Me Feel Good,” a perfectly titled, dreamy light funk gem that captures the feel good spirit of romantic as well as universal love.
To Minott, a world renowned singer, songwriter and entertainer who has earned favorable comparisons to the late reggae legend Dennis Brown and British born Jamaican superstar Maxi Priest, the concept of Rasta Funk means the opportunity to blend and share the best vibes of his homeland of Jamaica and his adopted home of America – an expanse which covers his many musical loves, including reggae, R&B, funk, rock and even country for the simple reason that he loves them and all have made an impact on his ever-evolving artistry.
From “Rasta Funk” and “Reggae Party, “ and infectious, percussive jam featuring Hellmut Wolf aka The Wolfman on sax through the chillout coolness of “Lighter” (featuring Tremendous) and the tropical acoustic romance “Love Struck,” Rasta Funk – a labor of love six years in the making – harkens back to Minott’s earlier life, when he recalls kicking back on Sundays listening to what he calls “lover’s rock,” country and R&B and singing along with The Temptations, Freddie Jackson, Teddy Pendergrass, Kenny Rogers, Crystal Gayle, etc.
In addition to the producers already mentioned, Rasta Funk features tracks produced by Tampa based mixer/producer John Zych and the hit Jamaican production duo Sly & Robbie, whose credits include Maxi Priest, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Santana, No Doubt, Mr. Vegas and Grace Jones.
“My producers and I built Rasta Funk track by track, and as the sessions progressed and the name and concept took hold, it became more and more exciting to me,” says Minott. “The process of making this album has helped me to evolve into a better songwriter and artist, confident in my ability to take the music to a higher level. Rasta Funk is about having fun and people enjoying life as they should.
It’s a response of feel good music to what’s going on in the world today, my way of contributing to kind of opening people’s eyes to the reality that there’s so much more to life than going at each other like cats and dogs. The story it’s telling is to spread love and communicate what some might call my impossible dream – uniting everyone to live love and laugh so that everything is perfect and happy. That’s my outlook on everything and music is my vehicle to express that.”
Minott considers Rasta Funk “the best album I have ever produced, one I can listen to from start to finish and never get tired of” – which is a powerful evaluation considering the international success he has achieved with various singles and albums over the years – beginning with his debut single “Irie” featuring legendary artist Bunny Ruggs from Third World.
His popular releases have included his 2011 hit “Right Man Fi Yuh,” which topped the Jamaican charts and made strides on the South Florida and New York Reggae charts; the globally popular 2014 album Splendid Woman; and “Playa Playa,” a 2009 Top 10 Billboard R&B/Reggae/Dancehall track (from his self-titled Minott collection) that stayed on the chart for over eight weeks.
In 2007, he collaborated with dancehall artist Elephant Man on the track “Roll It,” and a later cover of “Silver Words” featuring rapper Kirkie KBZ also hit the Jamaican charts.
Over the years, Minott has also been a popular global performer, headlining shows everywhere from London, Johannesburg and the Cayman Islands to Houston, San Antonio, Austin, South Carolina, Miami and of course Jamaica. He has performed alongside the likes of some of reggae’s biggest names, including Priest, Burning Spear, Shaggy and Bob Marley’s sons Ziggy Marley, Ky-Mani Marley and Damian aka “Jr. Gong” Marley. He also has the unique distinction of performing with another Jamaican musical great, singer-songwriter Gregory Isaacs, and later playing for several years at an all-star tribute concert, held every Valentine’s Day to celebrate Isaac’s legacy after his passing in 2010.
“Everything I do as an artist and performer is driven first by my lifelong love and passion for music and making people happy,” Minott says. “I’ve been making music for several decades, doing it my way and still doing it the right way. Rasta Funk makes me feel good, period, with incredible production by my team of greats, and very original melodies and lyrics.
I’m in a great place in my life, so this is the perfect time to release an album that speaks so powerfully to the joy everyone can have despite the many challenges we all go through. Everything has fallen into place exactly as it was meant to be. I feel good about where I am both musically and personally, and I am looking forward to getting out there and performing these songs.”
Minott will be hosting a CD release party for Rasta Funk at the Ebony Club in Houston on August 10. Special guests include Dorian Paul and Dorian’s niece, singer Enjolee.
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