The Socaholic

Soca is the opium of life.

I Could Make Babies to the 2016 Soca Songs

Wey yu mean when yuh sey yuh not feeling the carnival 2016 songs?

Listen, this is probably the most diverse, waistline-gyrating, orgy-encouraging, friendship-celebrating, levitating set of soca songs I’ve heard in a long while. And I’m sure you will guess that a few of my favourites would be from the ‘waistline-gyrating’ and ‘orgy-encouraging’ categories.

Every time I listen the songs, whether while working or in a fete, I swear they turn me on. If I wanted babies, carnival 2016 would encourage me to conceive.

I feel like people haven’t been paying much attention to some of the lyrics coming out of the songs this year, and maybe that’s the reason they are a bit disgruntled. Not me. These songs make me want to fete whole day and all night, and fall even deeper in love with the opiate nature of soca music.

These songs are going to make me behave oh so badly this year. Alexia better watch meh, lol! (Don’t tell her I said that).

I have several favourites, I think I’ve lost count.

But let me just highlight 15, along with a few of my favourite lines (I may not get the lyrics all accurate, but you’ll get the idea).

  1. People – Kes‘in every fete there’s always a special crew, going till morning, fete till wi falling…’ <—I think we all know this is my crew
  2. Waiting on the stage – Machel & Badjohn Republic‘we waiting on the stage, we waiting for we time, for  we to carry on, and for we to lose wi mind…’ <—Machel understands how I feel
  3. Freedom – Lyrikal‘close your eyes and feel how freedom does feel…’ <— Fete instructions I would recommend
  4. Ole and Grey – Patrice: ‘a doing it till a ole and grey…’ <—Yup! That’s me alright!
  5. Bon mon ami – Angela Hunte‘lawd ah weak; have mi lock up in de bedroom, every day feeling brand new…’ <—eh em!
  6. Unforgettable – Patrice & Kerwin‘so much bacchanal we’ve been through together, so much people come in life to sever we, but dem nuh know dat de love wi share it real tight…’ <—Yaw. Love (among other things) real tight
  7. Cheers to life – Voice‘cuz de ting so sweet, sometimes I feel like I don’t wanna go home…’ <—I have all sorts of interpretations for this
  8. Go hard – Skinny & Machel‘so just leave me let me wine…’ <—Please. Thank you
  9. Memory – Machel & Tarrus‘we coming now, look we coming, and we ready to go hard again…’ <—For my long distance ‘runners’
  10. Girl meets brass – Salty & Fay Ann: ‘baby gyal a wahn yu rock it, rock it, and rock it…’ <—de riddim and hook got me doing all sorts of things
  11. Oh yay – Olatunji‘shi got mi here begging for more, bumper soft like butter cocoa…’ <—Justified greed
  12. Show Off – Destra‘gyal parade it, parade it, parade it; don’t be afraid to wine and misbehave it; cuz in de middle ah de road when a say to goh dung, yu betta goh dung, goh dung, goh dung, goh dung, goh dung, goh dung…now jiggle it, jiggle it, jiggle it, jiggle it, staaaaay….’ <—I feel like a voyeur
  13. Bicycle – Vybz Kartel & Bunji‘ride till de bicycle bruk off, bruk off…’ <—I’m here for the riding
  14. I need it – Machel‘when yuh wine and yuh juk and yuh do like dat; yuh bounce to de riddim and yuh pushing it back; si all dem things yuh doing girl mek everything good in mi worl’ <—This is why I need ‘it’
  15. Dip and Ride – Destra: ‘when ah dip and ride, dip and ride, dip and ride, dip and ride; mek em wanna slip and slide, slip and slide, slip inside…’ <—Slip it een ahn done! (whatever your it may be)

I know some folks will have to wait on the fetes to ‘feel’ the songs, but if you haven’t started feting already (this is a joke), take a listen to a few of these mixes especially when your lover(s) and friends are around.

Let’s make babies this season, hahahaha!


The Socaholic Who Doesn’t Play Mas


Carnival is much more than Playing Mas…

Maybe it is because I am severely affected by economic inequality, but each year I am forced to be quite selective about which promoters I ‘barter’ with during the carnival season. I know carnival in Jamaica is comparatively inexpensive, but for persons affected by different degrees of poverty and high levels of socaholism, we have to treat our annual carnival budget with austerity.

In my opinion soca is the ultimate opium. When you combine that with socaholic friends, the best brands of rum, the best DJs and MCs, and promoters who understand socaholism, the carnival season is irresistible, and poverty becomes secondary. It is for this reason that financially prudent(ish) persons affected by poverty will budget for carnival. The best budgets even account for anticipated new fetes for the season – the only thing a good budget can’t truly account for is the date of a new fete.

A non-socaholic may never quite understand why people affected by various degrees of poverty will spend exorbitant amounts (relative to legally earned income) on carnival; you don’t need to understand. Learn this though: for the socaholic, carnival is an important part of our existence, and no one dares mess with that!

Sometimes, after preparing the carnival budget we realise that no matter how much austerity we apply in other areas of our lives, we just can’t afford all the fetes we would like to attend, and we have to revisit our fete list a few (or many) times. Sometimes we decide to take low or no-interest loan, but for the loan averse, that’s usually not an option. What we do then is prioritise and try to get the best value (experience) for money, and this is when promoters and fete times become very, very critical.

Before I talk about the important role of promoters and fete times I want to talk about opting out of Playing Mas. Mas is expensive. It is expensive for me even though it is comparatively inexpensive in Jamaica when you consider the global and regional carnival contexts. But this idle piece of blogging is not about global and regional perspectives. I am just writing as a Jamaican socaholic affected by poverty…

To enjoy the ‘best’ possible Mas experience in a nice-ish costume I have to consider spending at least 35,000JMD for my backline package, and maybe another 25,000JMD for accessories including make-up, totalling 60,000JMD. This 60,000JMD can guarantee me a great 7-hour experience on the road. And Mas can be one of the greatest experiences you will ever have in your lifetime especially if you do it with the ‘right’ people, even if you are a loner for carnival.

Bottom-line? Mas is worth the buck! In my opinion.

So why do I opt out? Remember that estimated 60,000JMD I mentioned? Well, that can take me to 10 fetes on average over a longer period.

And because the culture of carnival is deepening in Jamaica, and the quality of its execution is improving, it means I can have 10 ‘near-Mas’ experiences for the price of one Mas. That’s a call that as a poor socaholic I have to make. And instead of doubling that amount to enable me to attend 10 fetes plus Mas, I double it to attend 20 fetes, enriching my experience for the entire (2-month) period, not just for carnival week!

This is why promoters and fete time play an important role for me…

I expect that one of the goals of all or at least most promoters is to make money, and that’s fair; this is not charity work, be reasonable. I pay Flow monthly for a sh!tty Internet and cable television experience, so I think it’s ok to pay for the experience(s) of a lifetime! I don’t care how much money promoters make because at the end of the night or morning I get exactly (if not more than) what I pay for.

I inserted the misplaced preceding paragraph because people like to cuss promoters bout dem fete prices, like sey…!

Promoters who understand socaholism know how to plan and execute an excellent event. They may not get it all right all the time, given they are also human beings, but they get it right more than 80% of the time, and that’s good enough for me. I don’t know many carnival event promoters, but I know enough, as well as a few great Jamaica carnival brands. These brands pull out all the stops to ensure that every socaholic patron leaves their event after the last song plays fully intoxicated with soca, feeling high, phenomenal and oh so fantastic!

I think the following carnival brands get it, and I have every confidence that they will guarantee that I have the time of my life during the carnival season, so I spend my hard earned limited income with these brands.

I don’t attend all the fetes hosted by all these promoters, because it’s quite a large number, but the ones I attend are hosted by these brands.

Now on to fete time. It’s simple. I attend fetes that schedule fete time for six to eight (or more) hours, with the exception of weekday fetes that are not hosted during carnival week. This way I fete for at least 120 hours for the season for about 120,000JMD drink (and sometimes food) inclusive.

Of the estimated 20 fetes I will attend this year, here’s my list of top 10 picks, with Sunset Cocoa J’ouvert in the number 1 position.

  • Sundown Cooler Fete
  • Bazodee or Carnival at Night
  • Soca vs Dancehall
  • I Love Soca
  • Dusk
  • AFLOAT (if confirmed)
  • Rise Up
  • Beach J’ouvert
  • AMBush J’ouvert
  • Cocoa J’ouvert

Now budgeting 120,000JMD for carnival means I don’t go anywhere else for the rest of the year except out-of-season soca fetes, I don’t buy clothes (my colleagues will tell you that I wear a lot of free and gifted clothes), and I eat lots of rice all year round – it’s cheap!

That’s how I ensure I enjoy Jamaica carnival as a poor socaholic, who has to opt out of Playing Mas!

Mi so idle.