Hurry Up and Come

Memorial Fest will be the best reggae concert in years

"Oh, it's been longer than that. I won't say for them guys to check pon the age. But I've been in the business for a long time, and I've been standing up strong. It doesn't even matter if I have a hit; my name is known worldwide," she purrs.

Saw's star hasn't faded, because she keeps it real with her fans and has worked with an enviable list of musical innovators, including Missy Elliott and Pharrell Williams. Saw won a Grammy for her verse on No Doubt's "Underneath It All." When asked who her dream collaboration would be, she gives a surprising yet unsurprising answer: "I'd love to work with R. Kelly! I know he loves dancehall music because he has this new one called 'Wine for Me.' I'd love to wine for that man on some riddim, yo," she laughs throatily. "We could do a wicked remix of that one."

Saw still lives up to her reputation as dancehall's baddest chick, and she still invites lucky studs up onstage to perform suggestive acts that barely pass the muster of public decency. But maybe not at this particular show. "When my man is around, I tend to hold back. Let's hope he's not there, but I think he will be. Sometimes I go overboard because I love this music and I love my fans," she says.

Cocoa Tea wants to perform a duet with Shabba Ranks
Courtesy of VP Records
Cocoa Tea wants to perform a duet with Shabba Ranks
Lady Saw is too politically savvy to comment on the homophobic lyrics of other reggae stars
Courtesy of VP Records
Lady Saw is too politically savvy to comment on the homophobic lyrics of other reggae stars

Details

Memorial Fest, featuring Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man, Damian Marley, Bounty Killer, Buju Banton, Cocoa Tea, Lady Saw, Rick Ross, Paul Wall, Cecile, and many others, begins at noon Sunday, May 28, at Bicentennial Park, 1075 Biscayne Blvd, Miami. Tickets cost $40 in advance, $50 at the door, and $100 for VIP admission. Call 305-259-0206 or visit www.memorialfest.co m.

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Lady Saw's antics have earned her protests of her own, so she can relate to the plight of her fellow headliners. But she is too careful to stumble into any discussion of potentially thorny issues. "I don't even know anything about politics," she quips dismissively. "I think we should all have our freedom of speech. I don't study people who fight against my music. They're not paying me, so I couldn't care less."

Saw knows the audience will clamor for one particular hit.

"I have to perform 'I Got Your Man.' Yeah, that's the new bad-ass female anthem! Look for a very energized performance. I am a crazy gal onstage," she warns.

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