Hype Man

Leon Coldero carries the soca flame from Florida to Trinidad

Since soca is so effective at getting the booty to shake, collaborating with hip-hop would appear to be a natural progression like it is for dancehall, that other high-energy sound of the Caribbean. But since dancehall and rap have a slower, bass-heavy sound, soca may be too hyperactive for its own good. "Soca music would play at 152, 162 beats per minute [BPMs], while reggae music and even dancehall music would play at maybe 93 BPMs," says Coldero. "It's much slower. Our music is very hyped."

It's a conundrum. The genre's American appeal is still too modest for a label like VP Records, which launches dancehall artists into the mainstream on a regular basis, to spend the big promotional bucks necessary for achieving critical mass with its soca roster, including Edwin Yearwood and Tony Prescott. Meanwhile other, smaller labels such as JW Records don't have the cachet or the budget to compete in the U.S. market.

But as soca's crowd-pleasing and upbeat party vibe grows in influential countries such as Jamaica and Brazil, and songs such as Kevin Little's "Turn Me On" slowly gain crossover traction, the music may gradually seep into the mainstream like dancehall was able to do over its twenty-plus years of existence. Meanwhile, as long as Coldero keeps his hips swiveling and his wining ways rousing audiences wherever he appears, the best for soca is yet to come.

Unbeknownst to the mainstream, soca singer Leon 
Coldero is a huge star
Courtesy of Big Ship
Unbeknownst to the mainstream, soca singer Leon Coldero is a huge star


Leon Coldero and Code-868, Freddie McGregor, Derrick Morgan and Patsy, Stranjah Cole, the Abyssinians, Tamlins, U-Roy, Sugar Minott, Lorna Bennett, Johnny Clarke, and many others perform Sunday, June 20, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets range from $30 to $35. Call 305-358-7550.
Bayfront Park, 301 N Biscayne Blvd., Miami

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