Published Nov 03, 2010Recently deceased reggae legend Gregory Isaacs was always prolific in the studio, but the grand total of his recordings may be less than we thought, as someone has been impersonating him in recent years.
Canadian artist Dubmatix, whose System Shakedown is currently the No. 1 reggae album on Canadian campus radio charts, was burned by this nameless (though not untalented) mimic passing himself off as the Cool Ruler. Dubmatix (aka Jesse King) tells Exclaim!, "Turns out it's not him, but a guy who did a great job impersonating him. He's duped other people as well. Sounds like him, talks like him. I mean, I talked with Gregory – turns out to be a guy that sounds just like him in Kingston."
It is common practice in reggae for Jamaican artists to "voice" a rhythm sent to them from international producers. The producer will usually pay a fee up front and split future royalties. Most of the time, the producer and vocalist won't meet. However, in this case, there was skepticism all along that the vocals on the track were not Isaacs', as seen in the comments section of this YouTube video.
Dubmatix further addressed the incident in the following statement to Exclaim!:
It has just been brought to my attention in the past few days that the recent recording I did with Gregory Isaacs is not Gregory, but rather someone that impersonated him and has done so to others out there. I would not, nor ever, release a fraudulent track.
I'm, of course, very disappointed, shocked and angry that it is not Gregory but rather a shyster, taking advantage of people, their hard earned money and good names. I also am upset for those of you who now have a copy of the CD or album download that includes a track that is not by Gregory. I've worked with some of my favourite artists over the years, including Sugar [Minott], Alton [Ellis], Linval [Thompson] and more, and it's disheartening to think that someone would do this.
On our end, we've been working hard to remove his name from the track. References on all existing websites under the Dubmatix name have been removed, an updated CD cover and liner notes issued. Online retailers will also be making the correction as soon as possible. Future CD pressings will not include or reference the name or track.
It's a very unfortunate situation; however, there are 12 additional songs on the System Shakedown album with legit singers such as the Mighty Diamonds, Tippa Irie, Brother Culture, Dennis Alcapone, Jay Douglas, Ammoye, U Brown, Kulcha Ites and more that all worked hard, as did myself, and I wouldn't want their efforts to be diminished.
Now that I know for sure that it is not Gregory, it's important to set the record straight out of respect for Gregory's family, the fans and myself.
No doubt the passing of Isaacs should end this person's scheme, but there will undoubtedly be more to this story in weeks and months to come. You can listen to the offending song below.