UPR!SE is a blog dedicated to The Shrine's Patron Saint and inspiration, Fela Anikulpo Kuti.

The blog focuses on music, fashion, art, design, politics and culture. It is a celebration of trailblazing souls who rise up without compromise.


Monday, October 25, 2010


Cool-running, natty-dressing Gregory Issacs sadly passed away today (10/25/10) at the age of 59 after a yearlong battle with cancer. Getting his nickname from his 1978 album "Cool Runner". Gregory perfected the style known as "lovers rock", with its smooth vocal stylin' based on that of Sam Cooke and Smokey Robinson and apolitical stance in counterpoint to the more militant Rastafarian sound dominant of Jamaica of the time. His massive hit "My Only Lover" (1973) is credited as the first "lovers rock" single ever made. With his smooth tenor voice punctuated with sexual moans and groans Gregory had a decade of future hits, peaking in 1982 with "Night Nurse".

Like many reggae stars, Gregory had a bad-buy image that was bolstered by his six month sentence for unlicensed handgun possession, drug dealing and an addiction to crack cocaine which resulted in a loss of some of his teeth and an impact on his subtle voice. Isaccs said of his addiction in 2007: "Drugs are a debasing weapon. It was the greatest college ever, but the most expensive school fee ever paid – the Cocaine High School. I learnt everything, and now I've put it on the side."

Isaacs nonetheless became an inspiration to a new generation of reggae stars through his combination of lover's rock and more politically charged tunes, such as "Black Liberation Struggle." He will be sorely missed.

1 comment:

  1. the world of music lost a diamond...unique voice,great songwritter,special personality...a legend of the jamaican music is gone...r.i.p