For a long time, artist discovery in Jamaica was limited to traditional studio culture and the “quality control” involved in vetting before recording said artists. It fostered an environment where studio owners, producers, beatmakers, and engineers had much more power as tastemakers of the sound. They decided who got to record.
Now, thankfully, the democracy attached to Jamaican music is finally shifting more power to the audience. Technology has made this easier in two main ways:
- Recording devices and equipment have become much more accessible allowing artists to record themselves.
- With new media, and the internet there are so many ways to discover new music and artists.
The story of the artist behind one of Jamaican Dancehall’s biggest new hits, is one demonstrating the power of the direct link between the audience and the artist.
Nation Boss’ Humans, one of the most played songs coming out of our little island in the last month, exists because people demanded it. After posting to his WhatsApp story, as per his morning freestyle ritual, Nation Boss noticed it was ripped and posted elsewhere. Originally posted to TikTok by one of his contacts, the song was so moving, that it became viral shortly after, making its way to Instagram, and Facebook. At the time it was just a freestyle, there was no second verse or outro structure, but the people didn’t care. They kept demanding, they kept waiting. Until finally, Nation Boss made the link with top producer Troublemekka, to make manifest.
Fast forward to today, and the young Spanish Town native has transitioned from obscurity to fame. Getting a hold of him these days is hard, but when DancehallMag reached out, he obliged and we linked him where he frequents most: Troublemekka’s studio. The artist looks energized but composed, focused but on the verge. It was clear he was grateful for the platform, and ready, itching to do the work.
Where were you born?
I was born in Spanish Town.
You grew up there?
I actually spent like two years of my life in Spanish Town, then Migrated to Barbados. I basically spent ten years of my life in Barbados.
You lived with both parents?
It was always my mother.
In total, I have like six siblings. I didn’t grow up with my sibling, I’m actually the last one for my mother.
You were interested in music while you were at school ?
Most definitely. I was just inspired by the raw love for music and my natural gift to sing because I always had great vocals. I noticed I could sing from a very tender age.
How old are you?
I’m 22 years old now.
Why Nation Boss?
Nation Boss just came to me. The choice of the name was by the universe, it just came to me.
What does native mean to you?
Natives, like original people. To me that’s the definition of native, ‘cause to be native you have to be organic, grounded, that’s roots, you know.
How long would you say you’ve been doing music?
On a serious note, roughly ten years.
There’s not a lot of songs out there from you, were you just making music and not releasing any?
Yea it was just composition, writing, meditation. That was just it, right through. I never stopped writing.
How did your family feel about your talent, and your dream? Were they supportive?
My mother was always supportive, but it was only her and there wasn’t any support from anyone else. My mother is not a person who has it. We are coming from a life of poverty. So me just have to give thanks right now, most definitely.
What kept you motivated to keep practicing, keep trying?
In a weird but honest way, the bad things that were occurring in my life at the time. Throughout that time frame, it was painful. Just pain right through, that was the drive. That was the motivation.
Humans is a big anthem for introverted or introspective people; how much of an introvert are you? Does introspection play a big role in your daily life?
Most definitely, mi live a isolated life. Solitary type of person. Mi nuh really do the crowd, so it’s a big part of my daily life being able to sit and reason with myself.How do you deal with that now, having to commit to things and being social with large groups?
Well, you know, me not liking humans, I’m being forced to now [laughs]. But you know it’s life we have to make some adjustments along the way and we will get better at it as time passes by.
Of all the people reaching out to you at the time, what inspired the link with Troublemekka?
That was like a telepathic linkage right there. Before even this happened I used to link Troublemekka on Instagram. I used to tag him to some of my posts, because I would download his beats off the internet randomly and just freestyle over them around my friends. So I did try to link him up an ting but you know I’m a young artist with no recognition and he’s a busy producer so he wouldn’t have the chance to see it.
But when this happened he was actually one of the first people to reach out to me, one of the first producers. Knowing that I already connected to his style of music production it was like an instant chemistry.
There was no question in it, we just did it.
This song seemed to fwd from a real place and I think that was the viral element. Despite the fact that social media works a particular way in terms of algorithms, the song blew up because it felt real and true to many people. Do you feel that’s what separates this song from the rest of your morning freestyles before?
Yeah most definitely because this was surrounded by real life experiences. Facts and not fiction. So you done know where realness is concerned it’s going to be relatable and slap real hard. We a speak things that people a go through now, in their everyday life.
We a work on some singles right now. The same energy, nothing different. The fire just a go get hotter from here. We just a kick the ball off on a positive note.
How soon are you looking forward to releasing a body of work? Or do you intend to establish yourself a bit more with some a few singles?
We really want to get something out in the next month. So May is the aim right now.
Now that you’ve achieved this huge boost from this song, does it feel the way you thought it would feel to be this well known?
It’s even beyond that right now. There’s no words, trust me there’s no words.
The plan is to keep building on your reach, but how far do you envision your music spreading to in your dream?
There’s no limit right now. There’s so much talent. There’s so much talent’ we’re just going to continue pushing and grinding, so wherever greatness leads us.