By, Shamese Mascall
The sounds of Dancehall Reggae have long since made their way around the world, influencing young ears, and minds; today new sounds are being created by fresh new artists like Souarey Store. Coming from Mali, West Africa, young Souarey Store stands tall and dark skinned with locs, bringing positive messages of love, ambition, education, good overcoming evil, and never forgetting where you come from.
Growing up in the late 1990s Souarey was at first a big Hip Hop fan, which has a major influence in Mali. He enjoyed the revolutionary rhymes of KRS-One and Tupac. Eventually Dancehall Reggae caught his ear, and Souarey found himself caught up in the rhythms of Raggamuffin styled Dancehall. He kept artists such as Bounty Killa, Buju Banton, Sizzla, Peter Metro, and his all time favorite Capleton in heavy rotation. He found elements of reggae and Rastafarianism so fascinating that he eventually learned on his own to speak patois and apply certain principles of the cultures to his own life. The day finally came when Souarey developed his own style and message, and he began writing and performing his own lyrics.
Coming from a strict Muslim household, Souarey did not have the full support of his family, but he was never shunned. His family, mostly his mother did not take his interests in reggae seriously. This is what makes Souarey unique. No matter how much he has been influenced by reggae and Rastafarianism, he never loses himself or the values instilled in him, and that resonates in his music.
To him it is important to never lose one’s culture or soul. In the mid 2000s, Souarey ventured to New York City, and began to work hard at his craft. He gets his rhythms tailor made by I.mpaq of Raw Impaq Productions, and De Whizzo, a producer out of Africa, and crafts his own original rhymes to them. He frequents two New York City studios to record. In the time that he has been in New York, Souarey has written over 30 songs. When a video was produced for one of them, Step Up featuring Stephan Karim, it immediately gained international recognition, and this is what finally made his family believe that he was serious about his music. Now when he calls his mother she asks, “How is your album and everything coming along?” Souarey’s response is, “Big t’ings coming. Big man do big t’ings.” His passion for making music and spreading his messages drives him to continue to work hard, and make his family proud. He wants the world to listen and learn through his own experiences and knowledge.
Souarey enjoys his creative freedom, although he very rarely works with other artists, he is eternally grateful to others in the industry that have helped him and given him opportunities. Since he has met his idol and biggest inspiration Capleton, perhaps we can look forward to collaboration from the two. So far Souarey has only performed in Mali, and New York City, but with the hard work he is putting into his upcoming album, his sound is sure to touch every continent. “I just want people to know that the goodness they do, is not for the satisfaction of others, but for God,” says Souarey, “Somebody is always gonna hate you; people that you spend your time laughing with could be jealous of you. So don’t waste time trying to please them. Just do what you do.”