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Skip Marley Asks Us To "Slow Down" For Press Play

Skip Marley

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Skip Marley Asks Us To "Slow Down" For Press Play

For the latest episode of GRAMMY.com's Press Play series, the "My World" singer delivers a soulful acoustic rendition of "Slow Down"

GRAMMYs/Sep 17, 2020 - 10:34 pm

24-year-old Jamaican-born reggae artist Skip Marley, grandson of the legendary Bob Marley, grew up in the rich musical environment of his homeland and family, often touring with his uncles Ziggy and Stephen. In 2017, he collaborated with Katy Perry on her hit "Chained To The Rhythm," making him the first in his family to hit the Top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100.

Now, with "Slow Down" featuring R&B songstress H.E.R., the lead single from his August 2020 debut album, Higher Place, Skip has earned more accolades for his family name. He became the first Jamaican-born artist to snag a No. 1 on Billboard's Adult R&B chart and the track was the fastest and biggest streaming song from the Marley clan.

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For the latest episode of GRAMMY.com's Press Play series, the "My World" singer delivers a soulful acoustic rendition of "Slow Down."

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Press Play: Chikoruss Delivers A Suave Performance Of "In 2 Deep"
Chikoruss

Photo: Courtesy of Chikoruss

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Press Play: Chikoruss Delivers A Suave Performance Of "In 2 Deep"

R&B newcomer Chikoruss strips down his 300 Entertainment debut single, "In 2 Deep," for an intimate acoustic rendition.

GRAMMYs/Feb 27, 2024 - 11:48 pm

On "In 2 Deep," R&B newcomer Chikoruss makes one thing clear: he's blasé about any potential lover's relationship status. If he feels a spark, he'll follow that connection and consider the consequences later.

"I know you got a man, but I don't care," he boldly declares in the first verse. "Honestly, you should really make more time for me/ F— around, find out, you gon' see/ No matter, they say this love the same."

In this episode of Press Play, Chikoruss performs an acoustic rendition of the assertive single.

"In 2 Deep" is the Montreal native's premiere track with 300 Entertainment. As Chikoruss explained in a press release, the song is special to him because he made it during his first trip to LA. "It was the day I dropped my debut single, 'Body Language,'" he recalled. "I was beaming off of the good energy from the release."

Chikoruss' rookie year also saw the singer opening up for Bryson Tiller at the Toronto show of his 2023 tour. As he continues to craft "the Chikoruss sound," his goal is to create more tracks like "In 2 Deep," which channel the 2000s with a feel-good, modern approach.

Watch the video above to hear more about Chikoruss' fearless pursuits in love in this live performance of "In 2 Deep," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.

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7 Things We Learned Watching 'Bob Marley: One Love'
Kingsley Ben-Adir and Ziggy Marley attend the Los Angeles Premiere Of Paramount Pictures "Bob Marley: One Love" at Regency Village Theatre on Feb. 6, 2024 in Los Angeles, California.

Photo: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images

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7 Things We Learned Watching 'Bob Marley: One Love'

Starring Kingsley Ben-Adir, 'Bob Marley: One Love' takes viewers inside the tumultuous world of late '70s Jamaica as Marley prepares to release 'Exodus.'

GRAMMYs/Feb 16, 2024 - 07:23 pm

For so many modern music fans, Bob Marley is more of an image than an actual person. 

The late reggae superstar died in 1981 — struck down by cancer when he was just 36 years old — and while his popularity has only grown in the 40-odd years since, audiences now might be more familiar with music’s vibes and Marley's image than they are with the man in totality. 

A new movie starring Kingsley Ben-Adir seeks to rectify that. Produced by Ziggy, Rita and Cedella Marley, among others, Bob Marley: One Love highlights Marley’s music, family, and deep passion for Rastafarianism. The biopic also takes viewers inside the tumultuous world of late ‘70s Jamaica, when crime bosses battled colonizers and Marley prepared to release his 1977 album Exodus — the record Time Magazine would come to call "the best album of the 20th century." 

Bob Marley: One Love is only in theaters. For those who can't make it out to the silver screen, read on for seven insights into Bob Marley’s life gleaned from the movie.

Bob Marley Had A Complicated Upbringing

In the movie, we learn that Bob Marley never really knew his dad. Marley's father is never shown in full, but depicted as this sort of faceless white colonist with nothing but contempt for his young son.

Bob’s mom moved to Delaware when the singer was quite young, following her marriage to an American civil servant, and a teenaged Bob was sort of left to fend for himself in Jamaica. It was then he met and fell in love with Rita Anderson, who introduced him to Rastafarianism. 

Bob Believed His Music Could Bring People Peace 

When the movie opens, we’re thrust into 1976, during which Jamaica was undergoing major political and economic turmoil. Crime bosses were warring, political rivals were clashing, and there was a lot of unrest in the street. While Bob took pains to not take sides at the time, he felt like he could help heal the country through music, planning the Smile Jamaica concert to bring people together. 

Unfortunately, as we see in the movie, Bob’s homebase is invaded just before the tour, with Bob, Rita, and their manager suffering gunshot wounds. (According to the movie, the thickness of Rita’s dreads kept a bullet from hitting her brain.) 

Read more: Living Legends: Stephen Marley On 'Old Soul,' Being A Role Model & The Bob Marley Biopic

Though people encourage him to flee the country after the shooting, Bob is committed to the show. He performs, though he appears rattled in the movie, ultimately sending his family off to Delaware and heading to London to get away from an increasingly untenable situation in his home country. 

Rastafarianism Influenced Bob's Language & Songwriting

If you’ve always hummed along to cuts like "Redemption Song" but didn’t quite understand the meaning of  lines like "Old pirates, yes they rob I," One Love is here to answer. Per the film, Rastafarians believe that "words separate people," meaning that there should be no "you" or "me," but rather just "I and I." 

Bob’s love for Rasta life features prominently in the film, and there are revelations about how he thought that his music and the Rasta message were essentially the same thing. "Reggae," the film says, "is the vehicle" to spread the gospel of Haile Selassie and the idea of a Black God. Songs like "Natural Mystic" were, in Bob’s eyes, just classic Rasta messages set to catchy music. 

That’s also partially where the idea for Exodus comes from, which we see the recording of in the film. One of Bob Marley's most important records, Exodus was inspired not only by the cinematic saga of the same name, but of the singer’s religious politics. While tracks like "Turn Your Lights Down Low" are pretty much torch songs, others, like "Exodus" are about the Rastafarians’ quest for a spiritual homeland, or, as the song puts it, the ongoing "movement of Jah people." 

Bob Marley May Was A Visionary, But He Was No Saint

While we don’t get a real clear picture of what was going on with Bob and Rita’s marriage in One Love, we do catch some glimpses at random women giving Bob the eye, as well as a blowout fight between the two in which they both rail against the other’s infidelities.

While it’s well known that Bob fathered at least six children out of wedlock, two of his 11 or so claimed descendents are solely Rita’s kids, including one daughter she had before they were married and another conceived during an affair with a former Jamaican soccer player. 

While Rita’s involvement in the movie would suggest that she doesn’t necessarily harbor any intractable feelings about what was going on outside their marital bed, the inclusion of some of the less savory parts of Bob’s personality serve to make him seem like a more complete human on-screen.

Bob Wasn't Concerned About The Almighty Dollar

Though Bob Marley’s estate is worth an estimated $500 million today, the movie makes it clear that the singer didn’t care all that much for money. 

There’s archival interview footage of him during the credits pooh-pooing the notion that he was "rich," with him saying, "my richness is life." He’s also seen during the movie doling out money to needy Jamaicans, as well as to his band. At one point, Marley tells his manager that he doesn’t really care how much they make on a potential African tour, as long as they "have enough to pay the band."

Read more: Living Legends: Reggae Great Marcia Griffiths Looks Back On Her 60-Year Legacy, Working With Bob Marley & Inspiring The Next Generation

Bob Died Of An Extremely Rare Cancer 

Though it’s generally well-known that the late reggae icon died much too young, the circumstances of his death are discussed less often. As we see in One Love, Bob found out on July 7, 1977 — an auspicious day according to Marcus Garvey — that he had acral lentiginous melanoma, an extremely rare form of skin cancer that appears in generally ignored parts of the body, like on the soles of the feet or. In Bob’s case, the cancer appeared under a toenail. 

Though his doctor recommended that Bob have his toe amputated to stem the spread of the disease, the singer rejected the notion, citing his religious beliefs as well as his performing career. The cancer would spread to Marley’s brain, lungs, and liver before he died a little shy of four years later.

The Marley Family Is Heavily Invested In Keeping Their Legacy Alive 

One Love opens with an introduction from Ziggy Marley, who says that he was on set nearly every day the movie was in production. He added that he wanted to make sure the film captured his dad’s true essence, and it’s clear both from his speech and the work that he’s done since that he really does mean it. 

Read more: Ziggy Marley Talks Working With His Kids On 'More Family Time,' The Joy Of Toots Hibbert & Bob Marley's Revolution

The Marley family has always stayed close, recording and performing together quite a lot (Bob’s sons Damian and Stephen are touring this summer, for instance).  Bob Marley: One Love seems to be just another extension of the love they have for their dad and for their whole family, as well as for the rich legacy their parents created together.

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Press Play: Watch Tish Melton Preview Debut EP With A Stripped-Down Performance Of "Sober"
Tish Melton

Photo: Courtesy of Tish Melton

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Press Play: Watch Tish Melton Preview Debut EP With A Stripped-Down Performance Of "Sober"

Indie pop newcomer — and Brandi Carlile's mentee — Tish Melton premieres "Sober," an emotional track from her upcoming EP, 'When We're Older,' out March 1.

GRAMMYs/Feb 13, 2024 - 07:50 pm

Beneath the empty bottles, Tish Melton wants to know if her love is true; to her, drunken confessions of love mean nothing. It's what happens when the party's over and no one is watching — that's when she sees that person at their most authentic.

"You're standing close/ But you're so far away/ Your eyes are closed/ But you see me anyway," Melton sings on the bridge of her emotional track "Sober." "And I swear you told me you love me on the walk home/ If you meant it, I'll never know/ I think we should stay sober."

In this episode of Press Play, the indie pop newcomer premieres "Sober" with a raw and intimate acoustic performance.

"Sober" is an unreleased track from her upcoming first EP, When We're Older, which arrives on March 1. Melton previously released three singles in 2023, "Damage," "The Chase," and "Michelle."

As she prepares her debut project, Melton already has a major supporter in her corner: nine-time GRAMMY winner Brandi Carlile, who has been a mentor to Melton since recognizing her talent at her debut show at the Troubadour in Los Angeles.

"Tish is so young and so brilliant," Carlile, who produced When We're Older, revealed in a press statement. "Like most lessons in life, I learned this one while I thought I was teaching it. We should guide youth in music, but there is no question that it should lead."

Watch the video above to hear Tish Melton's honest performance of "Sober," and check back to GRAMMY.com for more new episodes of Press Play.

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Usher's Super Bowl Halftime Show Was More Than A Performance, It Was A Celebration Of Black Excellence
Usher performs with Ludacris, Lil Jon, Jermaine Dupri and Will.i.am during the Apple Music halftime show at the NFL Super Bowl 58 football game

Photo: Michael Owens/Getty Images

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Usher's Super Bowl Halftime Show Was More Than A Performance, It Was A Celebration Of Black Excellence

From celebrating Atlanta's HBCU culture to shining light on Southern rappers like Ludacris and Lil Jon, Usher brought the brilliance of the Black South to Las Vegas.

GRAMMYs/Feb 12, 2024 - 08:41 pm

In the days leading up to Usher’s Super Bowl performance, the singer waxed poetically about the significance of this moment not only in popular culture but for Black music.

Speaking with Kelly Carter on "Good Morning America," Usher reflected on the history of Black entertainers who performed for the masses under restrictive laws. Although a majority of those laws have been overturned, it would be remiss to not think about the recent series of court cases that have targeted Black musicians, such as Atlanta-based rapper Young Thug, whose music is currently being used against him in court

For singers like Usher who have been privy to the ways in which Black music — and those who create it — have been mistreated, his halftime performance was as much as a statement as it was a tribute to those who came before him. "I'm coming through the front door with this one," Usher told Carter.

It is only fitting that the performance opened with lines from "My Way" the title of his Las Vegas residency, which has featured a who’s who of prominent figures in pop culture before launching into "Caught Up." Usher then descended from his anointed throne in a crisp, all white Dolce & Gabbana ensemble, he began a Michael Jackson-inspired dance routine with an array of backup dancers; the standout being renowned celebrity choreographer Sean Bankhead.

Usher made it clear early on, however, that his performance was no mere spectacle. He paused to deliver a testimony, one that bears repeating despite his new album and $100 million-earning Vegas residency: "They said I wouldn't make it, they said I wouldn't be here today, but I am." 

Once the air cleared and Usher thanked his momma for her steadfast advocacy and faith in him, he led Allegiant Stadium in a sing along of "Superstar." The track from 2004’s Confessions recently inspired a viral challenge on TikTok. 

A consummate performer and supporter of his peers, Usher wasn't content to simply highlight his own success. The singer transformed Allegiant Stadium to "The Yard" — the singular place at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, where students gather to talk, discuss, and have fun — and filled it with music. 

Usher’s Yard included a performance of "Love In This Club" with the assistance of two members of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., the second oldest Black fraternity in the U.S. The trio was supported by the Jackson State University marching band, known as the "Sonic Boom of The South," to finish the song. 

Even his brief moment of affection with singer Alicia Keys, who joined the singer for "My Boo," can be described as a "homecoming hug." Homecoming is another HBCU tradition, where alumni convene at their respective campuses and greet their former flame with a hug.

When Jermaine Dupri entered the stage to announce the 20th anniversary of Confessions, the transportation was complete. The audience was no longer in Vegas, but in Atlanta, the Black Mecca of the world. And Usher is Atlanta’s nucleus.

It is here that the spirits of Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, and Prince accompanied Usher as he bewitched millions with a singular microphone and momentum stage presence. A haze of purple clouds and smoke led the way for singer H.E.R., the night’s self appointed "Bad Girl" and her crew of roller skating baddies.

While Usher may have began the halftime show with the enthusiasm of a young boy who just got his chance to perform a solo in the church choir, by its end he was fully inhabiting his chart-topping sex icon persona.Will.i.am’s voice rippled through the stadium as Usher, donning a blue and black Off-White outfit reminiscent of football shoulder pads, glided onto the stage with an aura that is equal parts charismatic and sinful sweet. 

Skating, a main tenant of Atlanta’s culture, is embedded in Usher’s ethos and a part of his larger business. The singer loves skating and owns several skating rinks.

Usher finished the extravagant performance with "Yeah!" — a song beloved in Atlanta and far, far beyond. That the song is turning 20 this year and still resonates with a global audience (not to mention a football-loving one) is further evidence that Usher truly is the "King of R&B."

"Your moment is your moment. And this is a moment I’ve prepared for during the last 30 years," Usher told Billboard ahead of the Super Bowl. 

He certainly owned his moment. Usher's Super Bowl halftime show was no singular performance or an audition, but a coronation. He was receiving the torch carried by all the Black entertainers who preceded him, and reminding the world that the South still has something to say. 

Surrounded by Ludacris and Lil Jon,  strippers, and his own marching band, Usher closed the night out with the A-Town Stomp and one important phase: "I took the world to the A!" 

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