As Elton Earlington and Delroy ‘Pele’ Hamilton of F.Y.A.H. bounded around the stage in Central Park on Saturday night, seamlessly threading a medley of Alton Ellis songs into their own material like “Raging Fire,” they drove home the running theme of the evening’s concert: Jamaican music’s past meets its future.
The reggae band’s placement in the line-up for VP Records and City Parks’ free SummerStage show was the perfect segue in the program, linking considered selection from DJ Empress Breeze, the rock reggae stylings of Soul Rebel Project, and the live-wire showmanship of Blvk H3ro with the enduring anthems of veterans Anthony B and Chuck Fenda, backed by the Jamrock Starz.
F.Y.A.H.’s performance was important for another reason: It helped usher VP Records’ Dub Rockers imprint back into full view. Dub Rockers, first launched in 2013 with the intention of bolstering the connection between Jamaican and American reggae talent, was symbolically revived by each act that night in Central Park, with the sounds of live reggae inspiring cheerful roars from thousands among the night’s crowd.
Dub Rockers is now pushing forward at full speed, with Soul Rebel Project’s “G Town Ride” shared through Dub Rockers and VPAL Music the day before the show, and F.Y.A.H’s new single “Freedom Fighter,” featuring Steel Pulse’s David Hinds, set for release through the imprint this Friday. And, as was made clear by the applause every time the MC Dubmaster Chris introduced the artists, authentic reggae music will always be welcome, whether at home or abroad.
Richard Lue, Director of Business Affairs said of the event “we wanted to use the Summerstage showcase to reintroduce our Dub Rockers label imprint to this diverse Manhattan audience. It was a great vibe.”
VP Records has been a bastion and conduit of Jamaican music in New York City since its inception. Partnering with SummerStage, the collaboration has presented shows such as Roots Reggae Review (2023), Dancehall Meets Hip-Hop (2022), Reggae Gold Meets Soca Gold (2021) and more.