• Kavin

"Pressure Drop" Hits a Century! Big Up Yuhself Diggy Dang, Big Up Yuhself Reggae Rajahs!

Updated: May 1, 2018

My sistren and brethren! As Pressure Drop # 100 hits the airwaves, it's time for us to recognize the genius of India's top reggae/dancehall radio show.

Pressure Drop: the name of the show (from the title of a song by Toots & the Maytals) exemplifies the turn from the faster ska style towards the slower, cooler rocksteady style in the 1960s in Jamaica. A perfect metaphor for Indian audiences familiar with faster beats learning to love the steadier rhythms of reggae music.

Every Friday on boxout.fm, Raghav "Diggy" Dang of the Reggae Rajahs cooks up a tasty mix of tunes. In an exclusive interview with Diggy Dang, we learned about the origins and goals of Pressure Drop; this article presents the interview and contextualizes it within the history and evolution of reggae music in India.

Diggy Dang: We were offered a 2 hour radio show on Radio79.com in early 2013 to promote reggae and dancehall.  We did a show every week for over a year...

Reggae and dancehall really took flight within the Indian music scene in 2013. In January 2013, Snoop Lion performed in New Delhi to the attention of the national media. Although Snoop Dogg's foray into Rastafari appears to have been fleeting, it was a crucial fleeting moment for Delhi Sultanate, Begum X, and the Reggae Rajahs, who all performed at that concert. General Zooz, DJ Mo City, and Diggy Dang—aka the Reggae Rajahs crew—had become voices of the movement in New Delhi. Soon, local internet station Radio79, "India's first alternative station," which played a lot of EDM music at that time, invited the Rajahs to start "Pressure Drop."

Diggy Dang: I choose my all time favourite artists/ producers/labels that have hits after hits and have been crucial in the development of reggae music. For example Dennis Brown, Half Pint, Barrington Levy, or labels like Studio One, Treasure Isle, Channel One, or producers like Henry Junjo Lawes. If we know about an artist we are trying to bringing down to India, for example Johnny Osbourne who recently did a 5 city India tour, it's great to do a special focusing on their biggest hits.

With Pressure Drop, sometimes you get the latest global hits, other times tracks by Indian artists. Sometimes old school classics, other times artist/festival specials. Diggy Dang tries to pass on information in order to bring more people into the orbit of Jamaican music. One feature of the Indian scene seems to be that while audiences love reggae and dancehall when they happen to hear it at a concert or festival, they often don't follow up later by checking for artists or songs. At the same time, there is inevitably a personal identification with Jamaican and reggae/dancehall artists, who tend to be super charismatic. The Pressure Drop mixes, by deepening those connections, have become one of the building blocks of that foundation of the Indian scene.

Diggy Dang: I feel its important to keep the listener's attention by talking about songs and giving stories behind them, or just more information on the artists themselves. It can be quite educative especially when talking about the history of reggae music. It's nice to get messages from listeners regarding a particular show they enjoyed, or updating their own playlists after listening to particular show.

Some of the mixes—including #100—go live on Facebook, giving everyone the chance to interact with Diggy Dang live, make requests, and share the conversation on how these riddims and tracks all fit together.

Diggy Dang: [My favourite Pressure Drop mixes are] usually the ones where I count down my favorite tunes of the year. I did one episode on the best of 2017 reggae, and one episode on the best of 2017 dancehall. These ones need to be carefully curated to fit all the best hits in one hour. The 100th episosde is a personal favourite as its all the essential reggae hits that pretty much introduced to the genre.

I would add that the "Best of 2013" is also a wicked, wicked set by General Zooz and Diggy Dang. They recognize the new breakthrough artists like Chronixx, Jah9, and Gappy Ranks and the return of legends as was the case with Morgan Heritage. "Smile Jamaica" is one of those anthems!

Diggy Dang: [After] a long hiatus due to our schedule, when boxout.fm was started by a founding member of Reggae Rajahs—DJ Mo City—a year ago, we felt it like was a natural progression to re-start the show on this new platform. Boxout.fm onine radio station is a community-run platform focusing on alternative music and culture in India. I think as a platform it is great as it brings the music community together. They have several radio shows besides Pressure Drop that focuses on the reggae music -eg. shows hosted by Dakta Dub, Delhi Sultanate, and Pagal Sound. This in itself is great exposure as each of theses host bring something different to the table.

Big up Boxout.fm for all the great work!

Diggy Dang: I think it would be nice to have guests to host shows of Pressure Drop so that we get different styles and tunes that they enjoy listening to. Manavon from Shillong is doing a ganja tunes special for the 4/20 edition of Pressure Drop.

You can find mixes by Pinaki, Realovution Sound & Rudy Roots, Cian Finn, Su Real & Flash Hardcor, Delhi Sultanate, and many more. In addition, of course, to the regular programming of Diggy Dang and the other Reggae Rajahs. That 4/20 mix should be epic, by the way.

Anything more for the readers, Diggy?

Diggy Dang: Just check out the mixcloud links (here or here) for all previous shows, leave some comments, give us feedback on how to improve the show and make it more interactive and just share the love.

So we build the scene in India as we listen to Pressure Drop every Friday. Tell a friend, share this article.

Big up yuhself now.

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© 2018 by Kavin Paulraj / Reggae For The People