Legendary Jamaican artist Frederick “Toots” Hibberts today releases his first studio album in a decade, Got To Be Tough, out now via Trojan Jamaica / BMG. The album is the first Toots has produced himself and has garnered widespread praise from the likes of NME, Rolling Stone, BBC Radio 6 Music, MOJO and UNCUT.
The energizing provocation of Got To Be Tough renews the near six-decade career of the man who launched a new sound and genre with his 1968 release, ‘Do The Reggay.’ It’s a reminder that through Toots’ creative veins run all the roots and shoots of the Black Diaspora. Blues, soul, r’n’b, funk, jazz, reggae, African griots – Toots honors, embodies and owns them. Throwing down an authoritative guide: how to survive and thrive among our earth challenges.
During a time of global social and political unrest, Toots’ welcomed return and voice couldn’t be more needed or necessary than ever. Harking back to the start of Ska, during the civil rights movement era in America and Jamaican independence in the 1960s, he has sung iconic truths such as ‘Monkey Man’ and ‘54-46 Was My Number,’ a wry but not bitter response to his unjust incarceration for ganja.
Since his wrongful 1966 imprisonment – which spawned one of his biggest global hits ‘54-46 Was My Number’ — Toots has gained insight into the corrupt systems that try to dominate our bravest endeavours, and it is in his new resistance music, that his anger at and sensitivity to injustice in 2020 is clearer than ever. Returning with a message, with no apology – a warning, as he repeats for emphasis on his latest single.
The multiple GRAMMY® Award nominated and winning musician, vocalist, songwriter, producer and icon has made the wait worthwhile, crafting a stubborn groove, designed to inspire tenacity, while splendidly balancing joy and anger, pain and healing. Produced by Toots himself, who also plays many of the instruments on this album, alongside Zak Starkey on guitar, drums from one half of Sly and Robbie, Sly Dunbar, percussion from Cyril Neville, and a mighty horn section arranged by Toots himself.
Tough though the message is, your body has to respond to these songs, and your mind will follow. An impeccable performer himself, Toots knows that the dance itself is a primal exorcism; a greater guarantee than any that, helped by heeding this warning, we will live to Do The Reggay into the 21st century and beyond.
Got To Be Tough is available worldwide now