The legendary Toots and the Maytals return after a decade of silence to ring the alarm on our exponential climate crisis.
Its fearless leader Toots Hibbert navigates a globally warmed dystopia with polar bears, penguins, lions, and more set adrift in the video for “Warning Warning,” taken from his soulful, significant band’s new effort, Got To Be Tough. Always the superhero, Toots even manages to punch the lights out of the devil himself in director Nick Franco’s geometrically animated reel, which veers into a violence disruptive to the song’s otherwise chilled vibe.
“I want to ask everyone to keep their focus in this time of wonders,” Toots explained in a statement. “Make such focus be of good faith, love each other, take it as a warning and exercise brotherly and sisterly care for each other of all race, religion and creed.”
For those who don’t know, Toots and the Maytals‘ electrifying funk, soul, ska and reggae have captivated the world for decades. Immortal sociopolitical anthems like “Pressure Drop” and “54-46 Was My Number” have influenced listeners as (equally) legendary as Barack Obama, who shouts out Toots and the Maytals in his playlists. If you don’t have those tracks or “Funky Kingston” or “Monkey Man” or many, many more in yours, now is the time.
Check in below for more on Got To Be Tough — which also includes a cover of Bob Marley’s optimistic “Three Little Birds” with his son, Ziggy — and other cli-fi culture that matters.
Legendary Jamaican artist Frederick “Toots” Hibbert today unveils a poignant video for his new single ‘Warning Warning’, the second offering from his highly anticipated first studio album in a decade Got To Be Tough, set for global release via Trojan Jamaica/BMG Records on 28th August.
The animated video, Directed by Nick Franco, is a clear warning, prophesying mankind’s destruction unless we begin to take care of the environment and each other. 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 then Toots has gained insight into the corrupt systems that try to dominate our bravest endeavors, and it is in his new resistance music, that his anger at and sensitivity to injustice in 2020 is clearer than ever. ‘Warning Warning’ encapsulates this in a clear message for the world, with no apology – a warning.
“I want to ask everyone to keep their focus in this time of wonders. Make such focus be of good faith, love each other, take it as a warning and exercise brotherly and sisterly care for each other of all race, religion and creed,” says Toots.
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.
He hipped our heads in the 1970s with the dynamic pan-Africanism of ‘Funky Kingston’ and the early warning message of ‘Pressure Drop’; re-defining soul with the ‘Toots In Memphis’ LP in the 80s.
Toots has constantly evolved while staying uniquely the same.
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.