Daptone Records Drops a Heady Reggae Collab Between Sugar Minott and Victor Axelrod

Victor Axelrod, Sugar Minott album photo
Courtesy of Daptone Records

For lovers of reggae music, Sugar Minott was a veritable force of nature.

When he died at age 54 in 2010, he left behind an impressive body of work. While still in his teens in the late ‘60s, Minott cofounded the African Brothers, a band savvy at blending R&B and soul with a strong Rastafari vibe. In the subsequent decades as a solo artist and guest collaborator, the Kingston, Jamaica-born Minott appeared on dozens of releases and as a producer; as a sound-system operator, he was a first-wave creator of dancehall.

Recorded in 2010 with Brooklyn, NY wunderkind-muscian/producer Victor Axelrod (Antibalas, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings), the track “One Step Ahead” is a strong reminder of Minott’s skills at bridging American soul-pop and roots-deep reggae.

Over a gurgling instrumental track that serves as willing rhythmic cornerstone, Minott takes his time in assuring his lover of his stone-y devotions. Filigrees of a chorus of harmony vocals and tasty, bubbling organ trills only add sweetness to this unearthed potent hybrid from one of the subtle greats of Jamaican music.

“One Step Ahead” is one of several singles to emerge from a new album of Axelrod collaborations called If You Ask Me: Victor Axelrod Productions for Daptone Records (due out in September). The record also features tracks with Brooklyn dub group the Frightnrs (whose young singer, Dan Klein, died in 2016), the late Sharon Jones and the late Charles Bradley. Preorder here.

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