"DETERMINE to make it to the top" that is the decision of Rohan Alexander Bennett, when he left his home town of Annotto Bay, St. Mary to start his musical career in Kingston, Jamaica. Born in 1972 under the sign of Pisces, Determine is the product of a strong, supportive and close-knit family. His father, Bobsey Bennett is a fisherman, and his mother, Reverend Lucilda Bennett is a minister of Religion. Determine credits his mother and Bob Marley as his greatest source of inspiration.

Determine is a past student of the Holy Trinity Secondary School in Kingston and the Port Antonio Secondary School in Portland, JA. Here he excelled in Home Economics and Accounts. He was offered the opportunity to further his studies in Accounts, but because of his love for music he declined the offer and went to pursue his musical career in Kingston. Like numerous other Jamaican artists Determine began performing on the Jamaican sound system circuit and he soon managed to reach such a popularity that he won the Rockers award for best new deejay in 1995. Meanwhile he had the opportunity to visit various recording studios and a series of singles followed including "Burn Up", Dem No Know Love", "Bulls Eye Part 2" (in combination with with Brian & Tony Gold) and his debut single "Lion In Zion", done on the King Jammy$ label. The latter made a significant impact both locally and abroad, but it was his first international single release, "Selassie I", that finally brought him his breakthrough as it went to the number one position on the British pre-release chart. However, alongside the top ranking dancehall deejay Beenie Man Determine scored his biggest hit to date with "Kette Drum", a duet that has topped Reggae charts in Jamaica, the U.S., Canada and Europe, and has been hailed as one of the hottest dancehall hits of 1995. Originally intended as a solo effort, Beenie Man was so impressed with the Bobby "Digital" Dixon produced riddim that he invited Determine to record it as a combination tune. It not only affirmed the revival of Nyabinghi drumming on record but the huge success of the riddim led to some notable answer versions from artists like Bounty Killer, Shabba Ranks & Cocoa Tea and Garnett Silk.


In the following year, 1996, Determine reinforced his high profile as he continued to record some notable and successful tunes. As a part of the trend of reviving Bob Marley riddims in the Dancehall he voiced "Live Wire" across the wicked "Heathen" riddim for Ocho Rios-based producer Barry O'Hare and his XRated Crew, for whom he also recorded the songs "Time Like This" and "Who", the latter delivered across the "Drum Song" riddim. Combinations with Yogi - the striking "No One Cares" - and Turbo Belly - "What Dem A Think" - as well as solo hits that included "Welcome Shaka Zulu", I Shall Not", "Born Pressurizer", "House House", "Nah Duh Nuttin" (which lashes out the heads of Government, who has been exhausting the labour of its people and compensating them with little or nothing in return), and "If A Nevah Jah", followed and created a positive impact, thus spreading his name and fame further. Determine founded his own label "Zulu Productions", on which he released "More And More" - which went to a number one position in Canada - and "Hands In The Air", a number one tune in Bermuda.

On November 11, 1996, under the management of Artistic Exposure, Determine led the "Father's Of Africa" tour in the U.S. where he performed in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago and Connecticut. He then moved on to Canada where he performed in Montreal, Ontario and Toronto. Other members of the tour included Everton Blender, Yasus Afari and Deli-Man-Deh-Yah. Determine has also made performances in Antigua, St. Kitts, Bermuda, Barbados and Trinidad. He performed on the "Passion" tour along with Lady Saw, Frisco Kid, Tanya Stephens, General Degree, Leprechaun and Cement Kid. They made appearances in the U.S. and Canada between July 3rd-27th, 1997.

On March 15th, 1998 Determine accompanied by Prezident Brown and Hindu went on his first promotional tour in Europe where he performed in France, Belgium, Holland and Switzerland. Under the management of RUNN Records in Holland and the "XRated" Record label in Jamaica, Determine delivered solid performances although his part of the show only featured six songs, thus leaving his ardent fans clamouring for more. (Check out our concert review of this show in Antwerp, Belgium, which took place on the 21st March, 1998.)

Determine's love for children was the force that drove him to treat over 300 children in the Majestic Gardens community in Kingston on May 12th, 1996. Here the children were treated to a cooked meal, snacks, natural juices, fruits, ice-cream and hundreds of excercise books and pencils for returning to school. Black Champion sound system provided entertainment for the event, along with Anthony B, Vigilante and Determine. Several talented individuals from the community got the opportunity to reveal their God-given talents. On January 1, 1998, Determine officially adopted the Rushworth Basic school in Waterhouse, Kingston JA, after he was approached by Mrs. Lavern Hendricks for financial assistance to refurbish the building which housed 90 students ages 3-6 years old and 5 teachers.

This encouraged Determine to organize a fund-raising Walk-A-Thon and Stage Show on Valentine's Day, February 14th, where he along with parents/guardians, students, teachers and members of Zulu Productions journeyed from Constant Spring to Waterhouse with the hope of solliciting enough money to finance the needy project. This was followed by a Stage Show which featured artists from the Zulu Productions camp : Vigilante, Attowa, Fire Lion and Determine himself. Other contributing artists were Risto Benjie, Easy Wayne and Angie Angel. Even Determine's serious countenance and socially conscious lyrics cannot mask the humour that shines through his stage antics during every performance and makes him one of the Dancehall's truly great entertainers. Recently Determine started his Fan Club, where he can be contacted at :

Determine's Fan Club
c/o Paula Francis
P.O. Box 280
Gregory Park,
St. Catharine
Jamaica W.I.



Selective discography:

Albums:

Singles:
  • Lion In Zion (King Jammy$)
  • Ancient Book (King Jammy$)
  • Live Wire (XRated Records)
  • Who (XRated Records)
  • Time Like This (XRated Records)
  • More And More (Zulu Productions)
  • Hands In The Air (Zulu Productions)
  • Kette Drum with Beenie Man (Digital B)
  • Do It Fi Sprite (Digital B)
  • Jah Jah Route (Digital B)
  • Frustration(Digital B)
  • Blood Out (Digital B)
  • Slow Dem Fast (Greensleeves)
  • Go Through That (Builders)
  • What You Require (Star Trail)
  • Searching (Fi Wi Music)
  • Hollo Ghow (Fi Wi Music)
  • Dis & Dead (Mentally Disturbed)
  • Hail His Name (WWS)
  • Mr. Wicked (Crimes)
  • Come We (Kings Of Kings)
  • Full A Hype (Steely & Clevie)
  • Half Key Flex (Tantrum)
  • Universal Love with Anthony B & Saba (Kennedy International)
  • Fassy (Mixing Lab)
  • My Lady (Bus Brains)
  • Praise Ye Jah (Black Scorpio)
  • Purer Than Gold (Spider Ranks)
  • Zion Hill (Cylton Records)

Sources :
Sleeve notes from "Freedom Chant" (Brickwall)
Text : Teacher & Mr. T, 10-12-1999



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