Roots-reggae singer Richie Spice celebrates his 49th year around the sun today. In commemorating his special day, the singer shared a gratitude post on Instagram, with a photo taken earlier in his career.
“Give thanks for all the support I’ve been getting from my people over the years,” he said. “Keep on supporting Richie Spice, and I’ll keep supporting you with good music…”
The St Andrew-native has made good on his word of making good music, providing more than two decades of socially-conscious music, delivered via his signature cool-mannered vocal style.
Here’s our Top 10 Richie Spice Earthstrong Playlist, which highlights some of his best work.
Earth A Run Red
Perhaps his most commercially successful single, Earth A Run Red is equally rich in storyline and history. Serving as a cautionary note of the lurking dangers across society, this Henfield Records single was originally released in 1998. However, it wasn’t until Spice teamed up with Fifth Element Records to release a music video in 2004 that it received any acclaim. The song’s shelf-life is boosted by the fervent drumming of esteemed percussionist Bongo Herman and the lucid lyric, “10-year-old a look dem owna tea bread.”
Another 2004 Fifth Element production, Spice advocates for youth who are still fighting the good fight despite societal corruption and imbalance, and makes it known that, “If you think that his Majesty’s sleeping then you better think twice.”
Youths Dem Cold
In another cry for marginalized youth, Spice uses this 2007 track to delineate how social division makes it difficult for the new generation to survive comfortably. He highlights the role of the powers that be to “give dem the key, oh set dem free” to alleviate cyclical poverty.
World Is A Cycle
Speaking of cycles, Spice provides the consummate reggae anthem for karma on this 2007 record. When all is said and done, his overall advice for steering clear of bad karma is to, do right, do right, do right, do right, do right!
A staple record in his performances, patrons, only have to hear the opening lines “Nana, Nana, Nana, yeah” before the sound of horns and blazing torches invite an encore. The track zooms in on the crime and drug culture often spearheaded by the elites and forced unto the most vulnerable. The single was featured on his Spice in Your Life in 2006.
With most of his music taking its perspective from the ghetto youth, it’s no surprise that Spice dedicated a song to the Ghetto Girl. Released in 2004, the single speaks of the beauty, brains, and strengths of a woman whose worth shouldn’t be underestimated because she comes from the inner city.
From the Ghetto Girl to the Brown Skin girl, Spice balances his catalogue with odes to Queens all over. Unlike the backlash Buju Banton received for his 1992 song Love Me Brownin’, Spice establishes that he speaks of all shades of brown by dropping a representative music video that bears no brown skin bias.
Grooving My Girl
With a title just as groovy as the track, Spice delivers another reggae ballad for the ladies which sounds just as refreshing as when it first premiered 21 years ago. The song was featured on his 1999 Living Ain’t Easy album, which was later reissued internationally as Universal.
He isn’t called Spice for nothing. The singer does the kush lovers proud with this one as he speaks of the benefits of blazing his herbs, which make him “calmer and smarter,” though the system gives him a fight.
Di Plane Land
Sometimes enjoying that kush requires a little illegal plane landing here and there, but it doesn’t mean certain groups should be robbed of their human rights to equality. Spice chronicles the hackling treatment faced by Caribbean travelers who are stereotyped as drug smugglers in this song.
Birthday bonus: Together We Stand
A 2020 release, the track promotes oneness in order to cultivate a better world, making it the perfect theme song for the recent COVID-19 relief marathon organised by the Jamaican government. Produced by longtime collaborator Clive Hunt, the song is also the title track of Spice’s album released in June.