Over ten years after being named ”Best New Artist of the Year” and after the release of his worldwide smash hits, ‘Fresh Vegetable’, ‘Armour’, ‘Chatty-Chatty’ and ‘Sweet Jamaica’, which catapulted him into the sweet embrace of Columbia Records, Tony Rebel’s success is still unsurpassed in the dancehall. Tony Rebel has been double-featured on the Grammy nominated Stir-it-Up compilation (Chaos/Columbia) had consecutive certified Gold success on the Cool Runnings Soundtrack (Columbia Records). In 1991, Tony had the Billboard Chart busting single, ‘Weekend Love’ with Motown Recording Artist Queen Latifah. In addition, his 1991 album in North American ‘Vibes of the Time’ went straight to #1 on the CMJ Charts and remained at or near the top of that and various other charts for several months.
A most proficient lyricist with careful enunciation, the potency of Tony Rebel’s righteous raps is undeniable. Songs such as ‘Reggae on Top’ (1990) and ‘Teach the Children’ (1994) have become musical rallying cries while ‘Sweet Jamaica’ (1993) and ‘Jah Is By My Side’ (1996) have been publicly acclaimed as unofficial national anthems. Heading concerts from Jamaica and the Caribbean to North America and Africa and performing before as many as 80,000 foreign fans, this cultural ambassador has since 1989, taken his effervescent message of peace and love to open hearts on every continent.
Undoubtedly, Tony Rebel is at the forefront of what is perhaps the most pivotal movement in contemporary reggae history; the union of roots and dancehall. Lyrically, he comes with the wisdom literature similar to that of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh but the rhythms he rides are as pedestrian as any used by Bounty Killer. However, his vocal delivery is said to fall somewhere between the two; a new masterpiece of ‘sing-jay’ fashioned by Tony Rebel himself.
However, 1994 also brought its share of happiness for Tony Rebel, with the establishment of Flames Productions; he has proven that he was a gifted producer with an eye for talent. With the success of founding his own music production house, Flames Productions and the Flames label, Tony Rebel had the vision and experience take on the promotions industry by hosting his own musical showcase, Rebel Salute, a well established annual event. Continuing his musical mission, Tony Rebel released his fourth album in 1997. Interestingly, this album is call ‘Jah is By My Side’, after his multi-award winning song of the same name.
‘Realms of Rebel’, on Ras Records, reaffirms that he is a true master of the unique art of sing-jaying-a blend of rapping and singing. Before his audience can even penetrate the fullest of ‘Realms of Rebel’, Tony hits the top ten chart, Summer of 2001 again with ‘Just Friends’ sung along side Jamaican Singer, Swade, on the Techniques label.
His latest works ‘Connection’, was released in Europe by Next Music, soon to be released in the U.S., is the unique Tony Rebel style, connecting with the original vibes and the roots music. Tony Rebel also collaborated with Sting on a song on Jimmy Cliff’s latest album. Among many other projects this past year, Tony Rebel came together with Steven Segal to collaborate on a song called ‘Music’, which is featured on the CD titled ‘Songs from the Crystal Cave.’
Just making outstanding music and producing one of major festivals in Jamaica is not enough for Tony Rebel, he proves how diverse he is by delving into the Jamaican lecture circuit as a motivational speaker and acts a resource person on several national committees. His most recent activity is spokesperson for a committee comprised of Jamaican entertainers and which is aimed at stemming the spread of AIDS in Jamaica, a committee established under the auspices of UN’s Goodwill Ambassador, Dr. Harry Belafonte.