By Sarah Goodman
By Sarah Goodman
Rabat – Jamaican singer Chronixx took the stage on Monday night, June 25, at Rabat’s Mawazine’s Festival, playing a mixture of reggae songs at an intimate performance on the festival’s fourth evening.
Chronixx took the Bouregreg Stage, named for the river that bisects the cities of Rabat and Salé, and, greeting the audience, played for an hour and a half on the edge of the river and Rabat’s famed Kasbah des Oudayas.
Jamar McNaughton, who performs under the stage name Chronixx, played a setlist drawing mostly from his 16-track album, Chronology, released last year. The 25-year-old played hits like “I Can” and “Likes,” the latter a jab at his generation’s social media preoccupation and reaffirming, “Do it for the love / Me nuh do it for the likes.”
Chronology contains a number of tracks about black empowerment, made explicit on songs like “Black is Beautiful” and “Majesty.”
At Monday’s performance, Chronixx reiterated his message while speaking between songs, addressing the audience directly.
“This is a music of the people, music from Africa, as a music for liberation for all African people,” he intoned, over shouts of “freedom” from the audience.
He continued, “and ultimately for the liberation of all humanity, without any discrimination of class, color, or creed. Remember that. So this [song], it says ‘forget your troubles and rock with me,’” before launching into a rendition of “Skankin’ Sweet.”
Chronixx first received international acclaim following his 2012 album Less than Greater Than and solidified his standing in the international music scene two years later, with the release of Dread & Terrible. Earlier this year, he released a hit single, “Unity We Need,” in collaboration with fellow Jamaican artist Richie Spice.
Although one of the most prominent contemporary reggae artists in the world, Chronixx also draws from a number of musical genres, from the Caribbean or abroad. Songs on Chronology contain varying influences from jazz and electronic to dancehall, on tracks like “Spirulina.”
The singer has also engaged in high-profile, genre-bending collaborations with electro-reggae-dancehall group Major Lazer, lending his high, sing-song voice to the music’s electronic rhythm. Chronixx has previously performed on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on the American television network, NBC. The Kingston-native has performed on stages the world over, from California’s Coachella to Britain’s Glastonbury.
Nearly a year since its original release last July, Chronology remains on iTunes’ Top 20 album chart. However, the artist downplayed his celebrity and proclaimed solidarity with the audience. “These are my people, they look just like me.”
Gesturing to the crowd, “my brothers are over here, my sisters are over here.”
Following his performance and chants of “one more,” Chronixx and the other six musicians continued for two more songs. Disappearing from stage for a brief moment, he re-emerged for the encore carrying a Moroccan flag, which he draped over the microphone for the duration of the set.
Later, in a post on the artist’s Instagram page, Chronixx thanked the crowd: “Always a great joy to be in Africa.”