KOFFEE: The Emerging Female Star Of New Wave Reggae
The 19-year old rising star is this year's hottest newcomber and she's here to stay.
Koffee, one of BBC Radio 1Xtra’s 2019 prospects to look out for, has certainly lived up to that accolade as we approach the second half of the year. Still receiving plenty traction from her debut EP Rapture that dropped back in May, the Spanish Town born and raised star has a penchant for interweaving mellow and sharp sounds that have universal appeal without losing any of her Jamaican roots.
Positivity and good vibes are at the epicenter of her musical personality, according to Koffee. For example, take her hit song, ‘Toast’. With four million streams on Spotify and a single of the year award at the Jamaica Music Industry Association, this particular tune is symbolic of all that is Koffee. The song’s message is one of gratitude, towards life, one’s achievements and everything in between. You can’t help but smile every time it reaches your ears, which we imagine is exactly what the teenage star intended.
So how did Koffee suddenly become the buzzword among industry leaders? Well, her first appearance on the scene came in 2017, when her tribute song for Olympian record-breaker Usain Bolt went viral. The star himself shared the song on his Instagram and as you can imagine, the rest is history.
Her next single soon after, ‘Burning’, made sure to tell the world that Koffee has no intention of disappearing. The song is personal, written after the teenager found out that she didn’t get accepted into sixth form. The lyrics are intended to spur a fire within oneself to succeed no matter the obstacles placed before them: “Since the devil nuh like it, him say fi turn it down / So mi jus give him the fyah and mek it burn him”. Essentially, those who stand in Koffee’s way, she will give them the fire and (figuratively) burn them down. Big words from a worthy challenger.
Dancehall rhythms are often at the forefront of Jamaica’s music scene, with artists such as Spice, Vybz Kartel, Popcaan and the like continuing to pull out all the stops. But alongside names like Protoje, Chronixx, Buju Banton etc, Koffee could be the female artist to bring in a new wave of reggae music to mainstream ears. Her sound and lyrics have a way of evoking the original roots of the genre without sounding stale or outdated. For example, her song ‘Ragamuffin’ is laced with energetic beats but within her lyrics there is mention of gun violence in Jamaica: “What a gwaan a Jamaica / Parliament tun di paper / Fi ghetto youths them nuh cater / Dats why di country nuh safer”. The juxtaposition of sunshine melodies and serious subject topics is Koffee at her finest, and this particular tune has a certain Bob Marley-esque tone about it.
With 2019’s summer coming to an end, we look forward to seeing what else Koffee has to offer next year. Brimming with so much talent at such a young age, we imagine she has a lot more to bring to the table and Fizzy Mag cannot wait.
As the star herself says: ‘Koffee come in like a rapture / And everybody get capture’.