At Reggae Jam 2011 singer Conrad Crystal and deejay Suga Roy made their first live appearance in Germany touring their 3rd album: Universal Tribute to Gregory Isaacs. Where many of the most memorable performers at festivals could be said to have held the crowd in the palm of their hand, the slender Conrad and the hulking Suga grabbed theirs by the scruff of the neck: with the latter even jumping into the photography pit to demand the energy and commitment of the people. Sure enough an audience not hugely familiar with the dynamic duo (and their myriad foundation collaborations) was won over. Just a few hours beforehand Reggaeville conducted this on-the-spot interview with the pair.
One of the things you two are famous for is the sheer number of artists you’ve worked with – particularly on your second album And The Great Reggae Icons. Where does your love of the foundation come from?
Suga Roy: Well, as a youth who come up in the business I respect the foundation artists, so I have to go to them and share some work with them. That is my tribute to them. A lot of man show tribute to some man when they die but that is my way of showing tribute to all of the big artists, which is the original who set the business. So that’s why we did the album named Great Reggae Icons, with Suga Roy and Conrad Crystal.
So this year for your third album you decided to focus on one of the biggest foundation artists of them all – the late great Gregory Isaacs. When did the idea to do the Gregory tribute come to you?
Suga Roy: Well, Gregory is an artist where coming up in the business and living in Clarendon I always loved Gregory Isaacs’ music so when I enter in the business and come forward to Kingston it was a joy to do over Gregory Isaacs’ songs. I also did a song with Gregory Isaacs before he died.
Conrad Crystal: Which is the song named Soon Forward.