The phrase 'Early Warm' was coined in the Reggae dancehalls of Jamaica, meaning dispensing of common or popular music before unleashing special dub recordings.
A recent discussion about the lack of musical excitement at dancehall events sparked a strong debate on Sound Chat Radio. Although the conversation failed to identify the main reason for what seems like boredom for the audiences, very interesting points were raised.
I blame the selectors and sound systems because they have deleted a very important element of dancehall from events. This element is ‘early juggling or early warm’! Today’s sound system do not see the importance in building excitement in the dancehall before they start playing the latest top ten songs. In fact, today’s selectors see playing early as a disrespect to their status and star power. As a result, dancehall is now plagued with a bunch of sounds who all want to play prime time only.
The top ten syndrome has gotten way out of control. Due to the lack of respect for dancehall early segment, the sounds who are forced to play during the early hours rush to play music what should be played far later in the dance. This of course is because today’s selectors only feel they are entertaining when they get requests from the crowd for 'forwards'. No one believes in the old time ‘rock and come in’ vibes.
In the past, dancehall musical experience was segmented. Patrons loved going to the dancehall early because the early segments of the event featured a mixture old and new songs. If you were in Jamaica during the mid 90’s, you would have experienced some of dancehall’s popular sound systems warning up the dance with a disco segment and an early 80’s and 90’s segment. Those segments were followed by new releases. If you were in America during that era, the prominent sounds at the time warmed up the dance with Studio One selections and a strong vocal juggling, which again was followed by new releases. The hottest and latest dancehall hits were played in the final segment of the event. There was no rushing to play top ten. The business goal of this concept was to keep the patrons at the event until the end, in order to sell more drinks.
If an event featured multiple sound systems, each team played their time slot leaving the hit songs to send everyone home on a high note. Today, the dancehall experience has become extremely boring. Patrons come to party for the last two hours of the event. One of the reasons why this is happening is because patrons know that the early segment of the event does not feature star selectors. The deletion of early segment in today’s dancehall has significantly reduced the enjoyment factor that once existed.
What’s your view? What do you blame for the lack of excitement in today’s dancehall?