Tag: Jamaica (New York)

  • Pharoahe Monch is the World’s New Rap Therapist

    Pharoahe Monch sits at the head of a long, wood-grain table in a hotel lounge in Long Island City, musing on death, emotional trauma, and Dr. Oz. The rapper, who grew up in South Jamaica, Queens, is explaining the concept of his new album, P.T.S.D. (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), by way of something he heard the […]

  • Mavado

    New Yorkers might recognize Mavado’s throat-achy posturing from 2009’s “So Special”—think Flatbush dollar vans whizzing past and discount fashion chain soundtracks (Rainbow, 4eva. Amirite, ladies?). Dancehall heads, however, have swooned for his slick style and gully rhymes since 2005. Signed to DJ Khaled’s We the Best, last year’s “Suicidal Thoughts” was his darkly mature debut […]

  • Queens’s VP Records Heads To Jamaica and Back

    The first thing you notice when you walk into the Jamaica, Queens, headquarters of global reggae powerhouse VP Records is the chasm in the middle of the room. VP’s offices are on two floors at the end walls, a setup reminiscent of a motel or a taxi hub. To the left are stacked moving boxes […]

  • The Great Dancehall Freeze-Out of 2010

    When word spread on April 1 that the U.S. Embassy in Kingston was stripping dancehall stars Aidonia, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, and Mavado of their visas, many Jamaicans figured the news for a joke—just more fodder for Clovis, the Jamaica Observer cartoonist whose satirical barbs target trouble-prone musicians just as often as inept politicians. For […]

  • Portugal in Jamaica at O Lavrador

    A few blocks south of downtown Jamaica, Queens, lies a miniature Portuguese neighborhood that has managed to remain intact for decades. There’s a soccer club, a churrasqueira, and a couple of taverns, set amid truck depots, warehouses, and frame habitations decorated with ornate metal grillwork that might remind you of Lisbon. The neighborhood’s anchor is […]

  • Reggae’s Civil War

    I traversed four Caribbean islands in the past two months and spied one common denominator: graffiti. Scrawled precipitously on a cliff suspended above the lush mountains of Saint Lucia, on the aluminum siding of a rum shop in French Saint Martin, on the concrete walls of a Trinidad office park, on accessible surfaces covering urban […]

  • A Rough Guide to the Irie Jamboree

    You should attend this weekend’s Irie Jamboree in Queens for three very simple reasons: It will start on time, run smoothly, and deliver all of the artists advertised. I’m not being facetious here: Plenty of reggae shows, let alone all-day outdoor ones featuring more than two dozen acts, can’t boast any of the above. This […]

  • How to Be a Japanese Reggaephile

    In 2001, longtime hardcore reggae fan Hidetsugo Haji faced a dilemma. He wanted to be a part of the “real thing,” but he lived in Japan, which lacked some basic pieces: a ghetto, for example, and the everyday struggles that come with such blatant economic disparity, not to mention the extraordinary opportunity to look such […]

  • Central American Masa Pancakes Rule at Dona Mari, El Comal, and Many More

    During the first decade of the 21st century, New York’s population of foreign-born Salvadorans zoomed to 40,000, making them our 11th largest immigrant group. Jamaica, Queens, constitutes the center of this community, accounting for a half-dozen Salvadoran restaurants ringing downtown Jamaica—a metropolis unto itself, complete with skyscrapers. Several friends and I recently set out on […]


    You like college hoops? We’ve got a deal for you. The St. John’s Red Storm men’s basketball team plays in New York twice in four days—the first at the Garden today at 1:30, in the Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip-Off Championship doubleheader (opponent not yet named). For $50, you can see two games; for […]