Fyah Roiall (pronounced “royal”) is one of Jamaica’s most exciting rappers at the forefront of the emerging “grimehall” sound (also sometimes referred to as “traphall”), a new forward-facing subgenre of Jamaican music that combines American trap, UK grime, and dancehall. His recently released new single “Nobody,” out via Easy Star Records, coincides with the launch of the pre-order for his upcoming debut album UNDERRATED, due out on June 19th. You can pre-order or pre-save the album, as well as stream the first single here http://www.fyahroiall.com.
Roiall, born Brandon Wedderburn, has always been out of step with the mainstream both musically and personally. While Jamaica plays a key role in the foundation of American hip hop, it is lesser known how much of an impact American hip hop has had in return on Jamaica. Roiall has been a keen listener as this music filtered back to the island – both directly in the form of hip hop and trap, as well as in a less direct way via UK grime, all of which put their own twists on the genre – and draws inspiration from the creative lyricism and complex wordplay found there. He was always drawn to the more political voices in early hip hop and conscious black American pop culture, when rap was a powerful voice for disenfranchised black youth. Roiall is also very much a product of Jamaica’s rich musical heritage. Rapping in his native patois, using his flow to paint pictures of real life situations embedded in a complex understanding of his cultural and historical place in the world, Roiall’s lyrics bring the past, present and future to life. Normally incredibly private, Roiall’s songs provide a window into his thoughts, to a place where his observations can be said openly and shared with other “free minds” around the world. Being considered outside of what’s expected in his home country is no easy task.
“The place traditional AS FUCK,” says Roiall. “They stick to their tradition. You’re not supposed to be this way or look like that. FUCK THAT. I’m gonna do what I fucking want.”
Roiall’s dreadlocks, nose rings, and stretched earlobes may be a common look for baristas and punk bands from the States, but his body modifications stand out in Jamaica – and not necessarily in a positive way. This is why Roiall would have a hard time breaking through in the Dancehall market – he doesn’t follow the rules. His look, sound, and creative openness are completely unacceptable in today’s Jamaican music climate, at least until he proves his concept abroad.