“Mr Burrell”, “Fatis” and “Fatis Burrell” are primarily how Kareem Burrell refers to his late father, who died in 2011. Considered one of the most successful producers of Jamaica’s digital musical age, Phillip ‘Fatis’ Burrell left behind an overwhelming legacy – in the form of a son who continuously pays his respects and stacks of tapes holding a deluge of unreleased music by some of reggae and dancehall’s greatest.
Last April, Kareem released XTM.Nation presents Fatis Tapes In The Oven Vol. 1, a compilation featuring never before heard songs by Tanya Stephens, Chezidek, Turbulence, Leopold, Beres Hammond, Josey Wales, Louie Culture, Nadine Sutherland and Sizzla Kalonji.
Last Friday, XTM Nation released the second volume. which features Dean Fraser, Marcia Griffiths, Ras Shiloh, Charlie Chaplin, Lutan Fyah, Luciano and Dennis Brown. Giving a bit of history – and adding enormous dimension to the depths of Fatis’ innumerable recordings. Kareem revealed that the Dennis Brown inclusion, No Man Is An Island, was originally recorded in the 1970s. “He sang it over for my dad in 1996 at Music Works, 56 Slipe Road,” the young records keeper said.
Kareem renamed his father’s production company, once known as Xterminator Productions, as XTM Nation. Through this next-generation imprint, he hopes some ‘old-but-new’ releases will reach nostalgic fans, or even just those with an ear for the styles and sounds of throwback reggae. “I want to bring them back to that era. What I’m giving the consumer is a view, or ear, of what was submitted back then and didn’t make the cut. Mr Burrell just moved on,” Kareem told The Gleaner.
Xterminator Records produced songs for internationally revered acts like Ninja Man, Ini Kamoze, Cocoa Tea and Johnny Osbourne. Determined to have the legacy live on, Kareem drops his father’s names like rain. “It’s all about carrying my father’s legacy on. It’s a big deal, not just to me but to a lot of people, so I speak his name,” Kareem said.
BIG DEAL LEGACY
“The label is respected. It has some cult fans, but aside from that, there are many Xterminator songs still being played today. The legacy is a big deal. There are a lot of hit songs from the label. A lot of the names people are familiar with today were on the Xterminator label and have worked with Fatis. The fact that there are tracks from the label not heard before is a big deal in itself,” Kareem said.
Another reason for releasing his father’s tapes is born out of necessity. “Some are digital audio tapes, some are 24-track tapes – analogue artefacts that are getting older. For me, it’s also to archive, and have it available for the consumer,” he said.
At this point, the timeline on the ‘Fatis Tapes In The Oven’ series is indefinite. “There are a lot of tapes and I haven’t really scratched the surface. I already have another volume in mind,” Kareem confessed.