Not everyone can be accredited for changing music history. Mr Vegas, otherwise known as Clifford Smith, has become an urban legend of sorts when one considers his ascent to the top. With an instant hit, “Heads High” resulting from a accidentally developed ‘singjay’ style Vegas broke records as this single hit the Top 20 in the UK Pop Charts, the Top 75 in the Billboard R&B Charts, earned him a MOBO and Tamika Award and lead his debut album to sell 50,000 units out the box in the US and granted him tremendous success Internationally. All of these achievements are significant for a Dancehall Reggae artist and just a segment of the grounds covered that has earned him a loyal fan base with urban club and mix show dj’s eagerly awaiting his next album release.
Photo, 4 soundclips & text courtesy of Delicious Vinyl Records.
The hit Lovers Rock styled single “Rise” from his sophomore album “Damn Right” allowed Vegas to tour Europe intensively the last two years while also serving to solidify him as a top name in Reggae Dancehall. With a superior catalog that started off with the Jeremy Harding produced “Nike Air” resulting in the Number 10 slot on the UK National Charts, he has continued to drop hit singles. “Heads High” produced by vetran musician/producer Danny Browne broke Mr Vegas Internationally, crossing him into the Pop market. Today this song is his signature piece and still requested on every stage show. His lyrics deliberately contained catchy hooks, often approved by his own nieces and nephews prior to recording. Songs like; “Bun It”, “Duppy Durex”, “Everywhere I Go”, “Girls Time”, “Go Up”, “How About That”, “Jacket”, “Kokane”, “Position”, “Sweet Pineapple”, “She’s A Ho” and “Yu Sure”, served to solidify his ranks in Dancehall.
In 1998 after being paired with Sean Paul to record for the Belly Soundtrack, Vegas and Paul hit the studio working off a vibe and belted out the monstrous hits; “Hot Gal Today” and “TigerBone”. To this very day, “Hot Gal Today” still receives airplay on stations like; HOT 97 in New York, Power 99 in Miami and KKBT in Los Angeles. It is undoubtedly the song that laid the groundwork for Sean Paul’s break with “Gimmie The Light”.
Working with some of the same cast of producers; Richard Browne (Danny Browne’s nephew), King Jammys/WARD 21, Penthouse, Shocking Vibes Productions, Sly & Robbie, Troyton Remi from Black Shadow (produced “Gimmie The Light”) as well as Computer Paul, Frenchie and Lenky (produced the hardcore Diwali riddim widely popular in worldwide urban markets); his new album contains a collection of strong Dancehall flavas and songs with more melodic International appeal.
While preparing for his album, juggling requested appearances and touring, Vegas has been developing his own label imprint; In Da Streetz Records. Mr Vegas and his manager/co-partner in the label have dropped a series of successful riddims including the Bollywood, which featured hits songs “War” by Vegas, “Red Red” by Beenie Man, Ward 21’s “Roll Up” and Capleton’s “Lock Up”. The latest riddim slated to drop from In Da Streetz is the Clappers riddim inspired by Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover” and Vegas’ own “Ghetto Pickney” is racing threw the streets of Jamaica, blaring out of every local radio station while the video is playing on the television networks across the island!
He’s gearing up for his third album. Going with a company based in Los Angeles, Delicious Vinyl/Lickshott, a label who dropped albums for Born Jamericans and Brand New Heavies as well as a marketing/promotions company responsible for crossover artists like; Born Jamericans, Patra and Shaggy, Vegas feels confident that this next album will gain even more ground than his previous two. As he admits; “This is me. I love to sing and my style is just mixing up different melodies that people can sing along to”. Mr. Vegas is a success story to all ghetto youths everywhere and soon that message will ring throughout world fervently.