Duane Stephenson Put Down The Knife. As 2019 has flown by so quickly, there has been a lot of great reggae music released throughout the year, but not many songs stand out with as much purpose and meaning as this release from Duane Stephenson on the ‘Ghetto Heaven’ riddim from the Maximum Sounds record label. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Stephenson was the singer in the band To Isis for ten years before recording as a solo artist from 2005. His first solo single “24 Hours” was released in 2005. He then signed to VP Records, who released his first album, From August Town, in 2007 and has had continuing success with his melodic and deep meaningful reggae songs.
Now in 2019 and after many incredible releases, this latest song ‘Put Down The Knife’ is a must play for every radio DJ. Released on 25th October 2019 amid a rising problem here in the UK, which is the issue of knife crime. Something that is overlooked by those it does not not directly affect which is the people in power, as it mainly affects people in communities that have been left behind economically. As the solution to the problem – all be it extremely complex and there is not just one fix that will solve it but we as communities and as a society in general have to offer hope and a bright future to the youths, for without the youth what are we fighting for? Change really needs to happen and it needs to happen fast, along with the balancing of inequality. I feel there is a direct correlation and that crime and inequality go hand in hand, they feed each other.
Here in the UK, there has been 10 years of cutting public services to the bone, getting rid of youth centres and youth support services amongst much more, with low wages and the feeling the youths have of no hope, as the system fights them down and inequality rising at an incredibly alarming rate, crime has rocketed. It is highly likely that you or someone you know has been in some way affected by knife crime. As the figures continue to grow and those affected directly seem to get younger and younger. I think it is time that we have make a stand, come together and offer some sort of hope and guidance to the youth to steer them away positively from this problem that is tearing communities apart, it’s tragic on so many levels. I have to state, this section of this article is my opinion on what I have observed.
So lets get back to the song, Duane Stephenson Put Down The Knife. In no way is this song a solution to the issues we face, no, but it is a start. Raising awareness can bring around change and change for the better, as it is desperately needed. Usually I would highlight other songs from the riddim album but today I am not going to do that, the focus is one this one song. The performance on ‘Put Down The Knife’ is heartfelt and powerful, the lyrics are smooth, flowing and very hard hitting – listen to it and think about it. On top of that, add in some tight production and you have a hit song that is not only a hit song but is also sending out a strong message and not just to the UK, the song is universal, but I do feel the song needs to be heard more here in the UK than it is currently getting in rotation on radio.
So my call would be to all radio stations, across the UK and worldwide – play this song, share it with your listeners and let the hard-hitting lyrics be heard. This is what reggae music is about to me, sending messages to the masses in hope to bring motivation and change, a positive change for the better. Written by Gav Pauze 16th December 2019.