Women Well Represented on “Down In Jamaica”- 40 Years of VP Records Compilation


Women Well Represented on "Down In Jamaica"- 40 Years of VP Records Compilation

Down in Jamaica — 40 Years of VP Records to be released on October 25

by Howard Campbell

NEW YORK – When Carter Van Pelt began compiling songs for a box set to celebrate VP Records’ 40th anniversary last year, he chose Red Fox and Naturalee’s Down in Jamaica as the set’s main title.

A fitting coincidence since women are strongly represented on the 101-song project.

Officially titled Down in Jamaica — 40 Years of VP Records, it will be released on October 25. It contains hit songs by 94 artists who have been associated with the Queens, New York-based company since it was launched in 1979.

“In this case, the inclusion of women was totally organic because every track by or featuring a woman was a major track in reggae/dancehall and for the label. VP didn’t press many records by women during the early years, (but) Lady Saw was a transformative figure in the genre and a big VP artist, so you knew she would be on there,” said Van Pelt.

Now known as gospel act Minister Marion Hall, Lady Saw recorded a number of edgy dancehall albums for VP during the 1990s when she was in her prime. Her lone song on Down in Jamaica is I’ve Got Your Man.

Other songs by female artists on the set are Foxy Brown’s Baby Can I Hold You Tonight; Telephone Love by J C Lodge; Lioness on The Rise from Queen Ifrica; It’s A Pity by Tanya Stephens; Twice my Age by Shabba Ranks and Krystal; and Hardcore, a duet with Jah9 and Chronixx.

“You find more and more women making and impact in the genre and that will only continue. We’re glad to have Jah9 currently, and as the last track on the set, that was a very intentional statement about the future of the genre,” Van Pelt explained.

VP Records was founded by Vincent Chin and his wife Pat who left their native Jamaica in the late 1970s and settled in Queens. They were music industry veterans, having operated the successful Randy’s record label and recording studio since the early 1960s in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital.

Vincent died in 2003, but Pat Chin continues to oversee VP’s operations. Their sons Chris and Randy, are CEO and president of the company, respectively.

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