Ricky Blaze Pushes Electro-Reggae Forward With ‘Lightaz’
If you want to hear the future of dancehall, look to producer Ricky Blaze. Blaze continues to pioneer the newer sounds of electro-reggae (a.k.a. “transhall”) with his new feel-good party record ‘Lightaz.’
Raised in Brooklyn’s predominately Caribbean, East Flatbush neighborhood, the 24-year-old was put in the right place to conjure up a new sound, which touches the ears of listeners in nearby bashments of his native New York and transcends to the U.K. and Sweden.
Blaze’s journey in music began as a 10-year-old. He learned to DJ from a neighbor down the street. By the time he was 17, he was a known party promoter. At that same age, he began producing and broke his first record, Ding Dong’s ‘Badman Forward, Badman Pull Up.’ It eventually became an international dancehall hit.
“For a kid like me coming from Brooklyn and then having this big success with a record like this all over the world, it’s kind of cool,” Blaze tells TheDrop.fm. “That’s what kind of made me feel, yes I can do production.”
He soon released a string of records fusing techno, electronic and dancehall vibes inspired by his Jamaican heritage. Both of his parents are from the island. This production style evolved the sound of the musical genre.
The reggae-infused electro movement spread even wider as electronic dance music DJs gained popularity. He mentions Afrojack and others as part of making that real.
“[These] producers were inspired by dancehall but at the same time were born in America or were born in England or wherever and we do like hip-hop and we do like other sounds of music and we find a way to fuse them all together and people listen and people love it,” he states.
Blaze’s forthcoming EP, ‘Lightaz’ will show off more of the “electro-reggae” sound. “It’s been a while since dancehall has been aligning itself with different genres and sounds,” he explains. “So electro-reggae is just electronic meets dancehall in a sense.”
Although Blaze is known mostly for his addictive transhall riddims, such as his most recent hit ‘Hold Yuh’ by Gyptian, he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed into one genre. In April, he released ‘The Maestro’ with more urban R&B sounds to prove his diverse handle in production. The project features fellow New York rappers Jim Jones, Maino and Talib Kweli.
“Being from Brooklyn, the whole dancehall vibe has been following me from day one,” Blaze shares. “I always wanted to be known as an international producer that produces any type of genre and do it well. And sometimes it was hard getting people to see that.”
At 24, time is on Ricky Blaze’s side as he continues to churn out big records from his Brooklyn basement studio.
Listen to Ricky Blaze’s ‘Lightaz’