This year marks the 25th anniversary of Sizzla’s Black Woman & Child and the 20th anniversary of Da Real Thing, both produced by Robert “Bobby Digital” Dixon, who died in 2020. 2022 also marks the 25th anniversary of Sizzla’s Praise Ye Jah, which features Philip “Fatis” Burrell behind the boards.
These three releases are widely considered to be among Sizzla’s greatest albums.
They each boast career-defining songs such as Guide Over Us and Give Them The Ride on Black Woman & Child; Solid As a Rock and Just One Of Those Days (Dry Cry) on Da Real Thing; and Dem A Wonder and the title track on Praise Ye Jah.
VP Records has re-released a career-spanning documentary on Bobby Digital to commemorate the milestones.
The Bobby Digital Story features interviews with eminent figures in Jamaican music including Sly Dunbar, Cleveland “Clevie” Browne, Sizzla, Cocoa Tea, and Bobby Digital himself. It traces Bobby Digital’s career from his early work at King Jammy’s studio to creating global hits with Shabba Ranks and Buju Banton to developing the talent of then-fledgling acts like Garnett Silk, Morgan Heritage, and Sizzla.
At one point in the film, Bobby Digital recalled some of his initial impressions of Sizzla.
“[Sizzla] come do a ting name, ‘Babylon give dem a ride fi dem money, mek dem funny,’ and mi a seh, ‘Yow! Weh dis yute yah get dem argument from? Dis yute yah deep, man. Him deep, him deep,’” he said.
Bobby Digital’s mentorship proved invaluable to Sizzla who, up to that point, had built a following largely through his recordings with Fatis Burrell on the Xterminator label.
Sizzla in the documentary said, “Bobby Digital is a next gold in the music. We love and respect Bobby Digital. Wi father that. The way you respect your school… studios are like university, so you respect the teachers and those who lay the foundation for you.”
Elsewhere, Bobby Digital said, “Me and Sizzla have a chemistry. In anything you’re doing you have to have guidance. When the music go out, when people criticise, it’s going to fall back on me. We have to make sure anything we’re doing, it have to be right.”
Firehouse Crew bassist Donald “Danny Bassie” Dennis, who was also interviewed, said, “When Praise Ye Jah came out, that was the beginning of Sizzla. When Black Woman & Child came out, that put him in a different air, a notch up. What really dun me, the whole thing now, Da Real Thing cover it off [and] show the whole world he is the greatest.”
Sizzla’s catalogue now includes nearly 1,000 recorded songs, with many of them spread across over 60 of his albums. Between 1997 and 2002 alone, he released 16 of these albums, including Black Woman & Child and Bobo Ashanti on Greensleeves Records; Freedom Cry and Da Real Thing through VP Records; and Praise Ye Jah and Kalonji through Xterminator.
During Reggae Month 2022, Sizzla’s Rise To the Occasion concert featured the Reggae singjay performing a collection of hits, all backed by a 35-piece orchestra. Watch below.