April remains an emotional month for Slash Ladat
Dancehall artiste Slash Ladat still grapples with emotions related to losing two loved ones in the same month, 19 years apart.
In 2002, his older brother drowned in the vicinity of Forum Beach, in Portmore, St Catherine, and in 2021, his father passed away after suffering a heart attack.
"I always wondered about the way my brother died because when I was about six years old, I almost suffered a similar fate. But he was the one who saved my life. He was a good swimmer. Someone told me he tripped, fell off some rocks and into the water and could not manage to swim. It took me about five years to get to some emotional stability and just get over it. But every now and again I think back and I kinda find it difficult to accept it," Slash Ladat told THE WEEKEND STAR. His dad's death also rocked him.
"But I was a grown man by then and a breadwinner, so I was prepared to be the man for my family. Of course I was saddened by it. The dates of their deaths are two days apart, April 10, 2002 for my brother and April 12, 2021 for my dad," he said.
The deejay wrote and recorded a song in memory of his father but has yet to release it, as he awaits "the right time". He just released his debut EP Unexpected, which is a mixture of dancehall and reggae-inspired productions that promotes peace and praises women.
"We just honoured my father by playing some tunes in the house; it's something he did when I was younger because a sound system was in the space," he said.
Born and raised in Portmore, Slash Ladat, given name Dwayne Knight, was greatly influenced by Vybz Kartel and was briefly mentored by the Gaza Empire leader before his incarceration.
"I was a hardcore dancehall act at the time; that was around 2004 and Kartel had said he would manage me. But I think me just step away from that whole camp thing. With or without him I'm still doing music and his advice has contributed a lot," he said. "Artistes like I-Wayne also influence my work, and we have a song together but it's not on Unexpected. That recent project is fusion of the past me with the present and future me."
"Over the years I have grown and listeners of music will see a different style. There are eight tunes on the EP, with a mixture of 'girl songs' like Dolly Body and authentic reggae music like with the song No War, which I think international lovers of the genre will love. Bob Marley inspired that one," he added.
He hosted a small, intimate launch party at the Pep Up Bar and Grill in Cockburn Pen, St Andrew, last month and is now looking at opportunities to travel overseas to promote the EP.