Latin Jazz & More
Rooted in a diverse mix of reggae with rock, Latin, dub, and pop, Papa Rosko's music blurs the lines between genre and geography. It's a sound filled with tropical grooves and larger-than-life hooks, created by a singer/songwriter whose background is as multicultural as the songs that fill his self-titled debut.
Years before recording his debut album with help from reggae hit-makers like the legendary Toots & the Maytals' Toots Hibbert (in one of his final studio appearances), Third World's AJ Brown, and dancehall artist Gyptian, Papa Rosko grew up on the move. His father’s work required the family to relocate often, and Papa Rosko found himself bouncing between countries like Turkey, the Philippines, Mexico, Canada, and the US.
"I've never wanted to replicate roots reggae music…because I can’t," he says. "That sound belongs to the Jamaicans. But I do love taking elements of reggae and fusing it with covers from different genres and also putting it into my original music. The best way for me to be part of those genres is to make them my own."
Papa Rosko moved to South Florida nearly a decade ago and recorded the bulk of his album there, with additional recording sessions taking place in Kingston, Jamaica.
The album makes room for a pair of country-reggae hybrid covers that nod to the years he spent honing his craft in Nashville. Papa Rosko trades verses with Toots Hibbert on the album's island-friendly version of Johnny Cash's country classic "Folsom Prison Blues," then teams up with dancehall star Gyptian for an upbeat makeover of "When You Say Nothing At All," a multi-genre hit across three decades by three different artists.
The album also finds Papa Rosko saluting the reggae fusion band who came before him with a cover of Third World's "You're Not the Only One," featuring guest vocals from the band's singer, AJ Brown.
A singer, songwriter, composer, and producer, Papa Rosko shows the full range of his abilities on the album's original tracks. "NooZies" — filled with anthemic electric guitar, rapped verses, and blasts of hot brass — finds him railing against the profit-driven news media industrial complex which sensationalizes everything for the sake of higher ratings, while the Latin-flavored "Tranquilo" unfolds like the chilled-out soundtrack to a cool siesta.
"1984" bounces between epic rock & roll and leisurely reggae, with topical lyrics inspired by George Orwell's dystopian novel of the same name, while "Chemistry is Everything" doubles down on Papa Rosko's knack for crafting a sunny pop melody. Featuring dynamic performances from a band of Jamaican and Latin instrumentalists who have performed with Sean Paul, Jennifer Lopez, Yellowman, Jon Secada, Freddie McGregor, and more, the self-titled Papa Rosko is an introduction to an artist who honors the roots reggae tradition not by attempting to replicate it precisely, but by fusing it with other genres in a truly unique way.
Along the way, he fell in love with the unique sounds of each place he visited, including Caribbean music, which he gleaned from a friend in Canada, an immigrant from Trinidad. That appreciation for a wide range of music would find its way into his own songwriting, with Papa Rosko eventually finding himself in Nashville developing a singular sound that fused reggae rhythms with elements of multiple genres.