This week we had the incredible opportunity of having a conversation with the viral sensation Foota Hype.
Get ready for the outspoken dancehall legend to drop his opinions on the current state of industry, reflect on his experiences in dancehall, and reveal the origins of the name Foota Hype.
Foota Hype is one of the most recognisable faces and names in dancehall, with the Viral King being a constant headline maker in dancehall. Foota Hype is never afraid to speak his mind and that is something that he definitely proved in our conversation.
What were your experiences growing up, was music always a big part of your life?
Foota Hype- “I was born into music. My father was a sound system owner, but my mother and father never wanted me to go into music”
What were your first experiences in the music industry?
Foota Hype- “I was first attracted to music at 13-14, I would pass sound systems and start chatting away. I was always a trash talker growing up, so I always wanted to say my bit at soundsystems. Because my mother and father did not want me to have a career in music, I began to sneak out the house to go to soundsystems, I used to have to beg a ride to get there”
Were you ever tempted to venture into the deejaying side of dancehall?
Foota Hype- “I was always a verbal person, but I was never attracted to playing the records, I entered music doing what I do best, roasting and talking on the mic. As my career developed I began to learn more about mixing and the basic concepts of music. But I always entered music with the aim of being an entertainer”
At what point did you realise you were becoming a big name in dancehall?
Foota Hype- “I realised around 1997. At that time, I was building my brand and really nurturing my career.
I was still working a day time job, but I started to throw parties to make money, as growing up we never really had money, so the parties were a way to provide for my family.
With these parties I really began to establish myself, starting with the Foota Hype Birthday Bash in Cassava Piece, which really began to develop my brand”.
When did you get the name Foota Hype?
Foota Hype- “I got the name Foota Hype whilst I was at Calabar High School. My friends at the time called me Foota, but no one in my community (Cassava Piece) knew me by that name.
The name Foota Hype comes from an event whilst I was at high school. Someone stole my friend’s backpack, my friends then accused me of stealing the backpack and decided they were going to jump me. But I wouldn’t have it. I got to the bus stop and jumped on the bus. My friends then followed me back to Cassava Piece. As I was running towards Cassava Piece, they were shouting ‘Foota you ago dead”. So after that people in my community knew my nickname Foota.
After that because I was mashing up the place everytime I was holding an event in the community, they decided to add the Hype. So my name became Foota Hype”.
What are some of the main issues facing dancehall in 2019?
Foota Hype- “The main problem is the main acts acting like b****es, they are fearful of competition. All the artistes are supposed to represent and be ambassadors for the music, but they decide to seclude themselves and live off their own solo secluded hype.
If you look at Beenie Man and Bounty Killer in the 1990s, when Dave Kelly dropped a riddim, both artistes would go on the riddim, they wouldn’t seclude themselves. That attitude birthed legendary riddims like the ‘Showtime’ Riddim.
Even Kartel and Mavado, the last two superstars in dancehall, had this attitude during their feud.
The music right now has a time limit, none of the music coming out is timeless, hit songs will last a month.
If artistes were more willing to compete with each other, the music would be more exciting, because music is a competitive industry.
The attitude of the artistes in dancehall is crippling the industry”.
What issues do you think have damaged some of the events being held in Jamaica?
Foota Hype- “The current situation has reached a boiling point, there are currently only three big shows in Jamaica. Promoters can’t tak in the artistes they want, because certain artistes refuse to perform on the same stage. No one can keep a show, would be promoters are now deciding to look towards opening other businesses opposed to holding events.
If certain artistes are asking for $6 million- $8 million Jamaican dollars to perform at Sting, how is the event going to be held, when they are going to need to pay the rest of lineup as well as these big acts”.
Looking at all the upcoming artistes in dancehall, who do you think will be breakout stars in 2019?
Foota Hype- “Fully Bad is going to be the biggest artiste, he’s the hottest artiste on the streets right now.
The new wave of artistes are going to breakout even further, people are getting tired of the mentality of the big artistes that are always on an ego trip.
So look out for artistes like Squash, Chronic Law, Rygin King and Teejay.
People are hungry for new talent right now”.
What are your personal aims for 2019?
Foota Hype- “My first aim is to continue promoting Fully Bad to make him the hottest thing in the mainstream. He is the hottest and most watched talent in the streets. He definitely has the talent to reach the top.
Second, get back to production. I have the drive and vision right now. I want to bring forward a new genre of artistes and put my vision out there as a reality
I also have a UK tour coming up in April, after that I go straight to Dubai.
2019 is going to be all about WORK ON WORK”