Friday, September 21, 2012

When Tony Matterhorn A Talk...

So pleasant, yet so vulgar. So charming, yet so facety. So local, yet so international. Dufton Taylor Jr. (aka Tony Matterhorn) is a real character...and a real talent. When you hear people talk about "it" factor, he's definitely got it.
 

I woke up this morning to routinely check my phone, which includes a quick scan of Twitter to see what's up in news, entertainment, the city, abroad, and just a synopsis of what's going on. Only to find a series of posts by Matterhorn, in true uninhibited fashion.

I understand that's the nature of Twitter: to speak your mind, to show your real self to friends, fans, and followers near and far. But there is something ridiculously authentic about Tony Matterhorn's Tweets that always make me think, this guy is something special. And he's FUNNY. Extremely.

It's a creative energy. A talent. An awareness, and most importantly a genuine connection with his culture and fans that he seems to have mastered. From being a part of King Addies sound in Brooklyn in the 90s, winning back-to-back World Clash Jamaica titles, and the UK Cup Clash, Tony Matterhorn has long gotten the formalities out of the way.

He's a good selector. We know this. We've known this from time, from 1998 since he started his own sound. He is one-of-a-kind when it comes to the microphone, and it's his wit and personality that has made him easily rise to the top amongst  the community of reggae DJs, artists, and icons...because he is his own brand. His own movement. His own conglomerate. A "triple threat" as they say.

He can make some hits! We knew this in 2006 when Dutty Wine destroyed the dancehall, and every other musical scene. There wasn't a venue you could walk into in 2006 and even 2007 that didn't have a Dutty Wine competition at some point in the night. It was almost mandatory. And even outside of Caribbean entertainment, you wouldn't be shocked to see dancers from all genres Dutty Wining on stage at award shows, or in music videos. Even if it was a small rotation of the head, or a specific stance that they took...you knew where the movement originated from. You knew it was Tony Matterhorn who was responsible for the phenomenon.

To hear Nicki Minaj call his name on "Monster"...you weren't surprised. Dutty Wine was hot shit.

In fact, I think Dutty Wine will go down as one of the signature moments in his career because of the sheer popularity of it...and because it was fun. Fun to watch, fun to [attempt to] do, and fun to listen to. And this song kind of encapsulates what Tony Matterhorn represents as an artist: someone who has taken Jamaican culture and reggae music to an international level...without even seemingly trying too hard, or being too deliberate. It all comes across as truly good-natured, and truly entertaining.

When we hear his songs like Dutty Wine, or even "Goodas" or "Survivor" they are more than just songs...they are classics. Not because of the song alone (as good as the songs are), but even because of the context. The stories. The things he says when he's live and about to perform one of his tracks. The overall experience. Some artists can drop song after song, yet you don't know their face, or have a clue about their personality. When you get a product from Tony Matterhorn...you get the full package. You know him, and you know what's up. It's a complete experience.

He is undoubtedly one of the industry's most visible reggae selectors, and definitely an international icon. Anyone that follows him on Twitter knows that this guy is forever on the road, from continent to continent, sharing the music, and spreading love to fans and supporters here and abroad.

So many songs, many travels, and MANY jokes later...I woke up to listen to a track that he posted on Twitter..."DUPPY ATTACK," which only solidified my appreciation for Tony Matterhorn as an artist, personality, and reggae music ambassador. Just released this week, he calls names...he calls out Konshens, Mr. Vegas, Tommy Lee, Popcaan...and the list goes on.

"The duppy dem a talk...the fans them a chat...which artist a flop..."

It reminded me of his professional confidence. He's openly not afraid to "war" (even if in jest)...but yet I think because of who he is, his persona, and even the spirit in which he performs and conducts himself, he's justified in any and everything he chooses to say.

While reggae music is my first love, and I fully support and appreciate everything about my Jamaican culture...I don't necessarily keep up with the day-to-day gossip, who said who about what...who did this where...who's at war with who. I know the music. I know I love how it makes me feel, but reggae/dancehall music evolves so quickly, that's it's almost impossible for me to stay up to speed on the latest.

I do try. And songs like Duppy Attack are meant to stir up dialogue, conversation, and bring the industry's visibility and discussion to another level. You better believe I'm finally going to look into this Tommy Lee and see what's up. I was curious before, but I'm really curious now.

But on a broad level, I am a fan of the music, and the fan of the power of my island of Jamaica, thanks to personalities and talents like Tony Matterhorn. It's the energy, the vibe, the confidence, and the boldness of reggae music that will forever keep me motivated to endorse everything about it.

Tony Matterhorn, to me, represents a huge part of what I love about the culture. And as one of his 45, 313 Twitter followers, (and yes, he's following me too!) I felt obligated this morning to wake up and write down exactly why it is that this character can make me smile every time I hear him talk, or read his ranting, commentary, and foolishness :)

How could you not love and respect that face? So innocent, yet so openly terrible! These are the elements of which a true star is made. Appeal. Skill. Longevity. Personality. And when he's ready to write his life story...I will be first in line to be his publisher.



Written by Stacey Marie Robinson for Kya Publishing's "Urban Toronto Tales" blog.

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