“TrenchTown Original is roots. The real true roots, the back bone of reggae music.” 
written and photographed by Valentina MV

akeem garrison


“Born and grow inna TrenchTown”  

During my ride to TrenchTown, it is impossible not to notice how Cross Roads symbolises the virtual boundary between two ‘worlds’, the rich uptown and the overcrowded inner-city areas of Kingston. I drive all the way down to 8th Street to meet with Akeem Garrison - who is standing in front of Building 10 - otherwise known as ‘Concrete Jungle’- awaiting my arrival.

The neighbourhood is lively, kids are playing around, women are getting ready, young men are sipping rum while vibing on the always-present reggae music.

Akeem is a humble man, with an energy that surrounds you immediately.




“I tell the story of the life I live” - Akeem says while we are walking through streets adorned with colourful walls and inspiring messages. Always with the unmissable sound of roots reggae music playing from the residents’ yards. 
After a few turns in what feels like an inner-city labyrinth, the view opens up, we have now reached Angola Park. A TrenchTown scheme were Rasta flags are predominant, reminding you of the strong legacy of this neighbourhood, the ground of Jamaican reggae culture. A majestic mural of King Haile Selassie and Empress Menen is right in front of us - “This is where I shot Life Set Away video” - Akeem tells me - “It’s my first official music video, I wanted to show what it means to me, to us, to live here, in the ghetto, yuh know" and continues, "The only way to do it was through the eyes of the TrenchTown people, I give thanks to everyone that joined me in creating these visuals."
We sit down on a Rasta-colours-painted bench. Akeem explains to me, “I am a ghetto youth. Garrison a mi real name yuh zeet - I do music to inspire the people around me - I represent my people. My upcoming album is all about TrenchTown." We are cut off, as one of the elders approaches us and says "A real good yuth dis, he affi rise". Akeem adds "We don't have to feel ashamed, we as the youths have to carry on the legacy of this neighbourhood and rise, again, together.” 
Akeem just finished recording his upcoming TrenchTown Original album. A deep roots reggae music project composed and produced by veteran reggae drummer and percussionist Freddy "steady" Poncin, from Mutima Productions. Based in Amsterdam, he and Akeem created an original rootsful sound accompanied by Akeem's voice, which carries you through every emotion expressed in his lyrics. 

Early this year Akeem released the first two singles out of the TrenchTown Original project: “Life Set Away” and “Run From”. “It has been a blessing. I am grateful that through music I have had the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam to create and record my album. I am looking forward to the new upcoming single releases.”



by Akeem Garrison

up full collaborations 

“The musical art form that is now a world music, is another gift to the world from a people whose collective will to survive [has] transcend[ed] the oppressor and his oppression.” Barry Chevannes

In May 2019 Real People Music releases the BUFF BAFF RIDDIM selection - a stellar ’80s dancehall style juggling project inspired by Gregory Isaacs. The riddim, created by Alex “Drummie” Domhoever, is reminiscent of the well known and much loved sound of the Roots Radics and the Taxi Gang that dominated the early 1980s. Akeem's “Rasta Party” brings an up full vibe and a fresh approach to the riddim.
2019 also sees Akeem featured in “DAY WILL COME”, a collaboration with Swiss born singer Jo-Elle. A sound that brings out all of Akeem’s melodic voice.

 For booking and press inquiries, please contact akeemgarrisonmusic@gmail.com