According to Derrick Duckie Simpson, the founder and leader of the foundation roots reggae band Black Uhuru, it’s a sad time for reggae. He made the comments regarding the news that Californian reggae band, Stick Figure, has officially dethroned Bob Marley from the No. 1 position on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.
It is quite some feat considering that Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers has been number one for an astounding 140 consecutive weeks. Simpson added that in his estimation, the new No. 1 means that “reggae is now “owned by the white guy.” He made the comments while speaking with the STAR about the latest development.
Stick Figure recorded pure album sales totaling 9,672 copies. The group’s album, which took the top position, was released on September 9 via Ruffwood Records and has 14 tracks. It was produced, recorded, and mixed by Stick Figure’s lead vocalist Scott Woodruff.
The album also features some heavy hitters in the genre, including Barrington Levy and Collie Buddz. It is their fourth chart-topping album. That list includes the band’s 2012’s Burial Ground, 2015’s Set in Stone, and 2019’s World on Fire.
In addition to topping the Billboard Reggae Albums chart, they are also enjoying a strong run on the iTunes Top 100 Reggae Albums chart.
Simpson did not take too kindly to the group’s efforts and said that it was significant for reggae because, to him, it means that reggae has been dethroned permanently. His feelings are understandable for long-time reggae fans, especially since his group was the first-ever Best Reggae Album winner at the Grammy awards ceremony in 1985.
That was for their album Anthem, and since then, they have released classic reggae hits like “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “What Is Life.”
Simpson previously said that he felt that a new race owned reggae. He made those remarks back in June following the launch of his latest album, New Day.
“Reggae is now owned by the white guys dem … yuh know … Rebelution, Stick Figure and those guys,” he said in a live-streamed Q&A. He added that it has been allowed to happen because Jamaican people have turned their backs on it, so reggae.
Earlier this year, Californian band SOJA copped the Reggae Grammy award for Best Reggae Album, further solidifying his statement.
Meanwhile, the producer of the new No. 1 album, Woodruffe, told the Jamaica Observer recently that he is a producer first and foremost and is constantly being influenced lyrically by everything happening in his life.
He also said that he loved experimenting with new sounds and styles and mixing techniques and constantly tries to push himself in the studio.
“I’ve always been influenced by dub masters and music from Jamaica but have recently been very influenced by some electronic music styles as well, particularly Kygo and Major Lazer, which you’ll hear some subtle influences from on this new record,” he said.
Stick Figure was founded in 2006 as a one-man band by multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer Woodruff.