Munga Honorable Lights Up H... | Hapilos
When it comes to male artistes pushing the envelope, Munga Honorable is easily in the top five. The trailblazing entertainer is prominently stamped into Jamaica’s reggae and dancehall culture as the man who boldly says, “You can’t break my confidence.” His bravado is partly the reason singles like Nah Mad (Ova No Gyal), Flipping Rhymes and Bad From Mi Born are successful.
The Islington-born and raised son of a teacher has not given up on the dream to become a global icon for reggae and dancehall. With this mission in mind, he lit up the virtual stages of the inaugural 21st Hapilos Digital Distribution’s ‘Sip & Stream’ event last Friday, with a performance of a few tracks from his sophomore album, titled Shine Your Light.
Speaking to The Gleaner before his performance, Munga said the album reflects growth in both his personal life and his music. Though he has not shed his ‘Gangsta Ras’ image, the new project uncovers a vulnerability and maturity that may leave one to question the reasons. Could it be the car accident over a year ago in which he suffered loss, or the long-running court case? Whatever it is, it has prompted a change that will only make supporters of his music appreciate it more.
“I have matured in every sense of the word, and in the various aspects of my life. I made space for growth, so each moment that I live, I am growing and learning. Comparing Damian Rhoden (his given name) from then till now, I am a better person; and as an entertainer, I am a better lyricist and performer. As an individual, I have taken time to observe and acknowledge what would be perceived as my faults and make adjustments. No, I don’t think the pandemic had any effect on it, just that 2020 has been a year of reflecting for me,” Munga said.
Shine Your Light is the follow-up to 2012’s Bad From Mi Born, which Munga says, although fruitful, many did not realise was an album. “People are familiar with Munga on mixtapes, but that was a whole album (distributed mainly in Japan). I actually got the better part of my breakthrough from a mixtape by sitting in studio with producers and engineers, just a chop rhythms and freestyles.”
Munga added, “That’s how Wine Pon It and Talk To Me did break out, and it was recorded before songs like Bad Like I and even Bad From Mi Born … it was just highlighted after these tracks hit.”
He was not ashamed to say that at this point in his career, producing an album was nowhere on his vision board and that he may have incalculable losses, having not released any major compilation projects within eight years. “It wasn’t at the top of my brain, and as I stated before, it is a learning process. You learn as you grow, not a big issue. I can say that I have more songs out in a year, especially 2020,” he shared.
The latest 12-track album, he says, is meant to show people the direction of the Munga Honorable they have grown with and naturally, to connect with the fans, especially now, with restrictions on live and other entertainment events.
Watching the show from the engineer’s room at the legendary Tuff Gong International recording studio, more and more it became evident why Munga named the album Shine Your Light. The album is a complex musical biography. From Intro, a mash-up of Munga’s decade-old single Prayer and Another Prayer (released in 2015); audio clips from past interviews and breakings news on the entertainer; You Alone, the first and most reverent song on the album, to the empowering lead single Shine Your Light, produced by Cymatic Audio; satirical single Clueless Joe by Hapilos Records; and upbeat trap-dancehall My Vibes, produced by Champion Squad.
Excitement filled the studio during the 45-minute presentation with up-and-coming act Natural Flamez, who, as Munga’s backup vocalist, along with the East Empire Band, brought the album to light and life.
The upbeat Mind Pon Di Millions collaboration with fast-rising artiste Teejay and the erotic and soul-baring R&B piece In My Room, produced by Luigi Society and YRush Music, respectively, show the diversity of the tracklist and of Munga’s Hilltop Records, in which he plays the role of executive producer.
“As them seh, ‘Greater David, greater sons’, and the hope of every parent is that their child outshines them, so it would be nice if this second album do better than the first; and the third, which we are wasting no time to start, to do better than the second. I expect it will itch up pon one chart rouna one part,” Munga said.
Romaine ‘Luigi Society’ Brown, the producer who acts as a manager to the recording artiste, told The Gleaner, “Munga Honorable doesn’t get the respect he deserves; he can perform, he is lyrical, and I can tell you he put his heart and soul into this album. The album is already proving to be a success across several digital streaming platforms, with unique songs like In My Room [earning] up to 80,000 streams in 24 hours.”
The organizers, 21st Hapilos, who are also responsible for the album’s distribution, were pleased with the sip and stream and indicated that there are plans to transform the event into an ongoing series, but did not have any artistes or dates confirmed for the second staging.