Jamaican vocalist Richie Spice carved out a career in socially conscious roots reggae while delving into dancehall and lovers rock on albums such as 1996's Out of the Blue, 2008's Gideon Boot, and 2020's Together We Stand.
Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Spice (aka Richell Bonner) grew up in a reggae family, with his brothers — Pliers (best known for his production work with Chaka Demus), Spanner Banner, and DJ Snatcher Dogg — all having successful careers in the music industry. After a handful of singles, including his debut 1994's Killing a Sound, Spice teamed up with Clive Hunt (Jah Cure, Maxi Priest) to record his debut album, 1996's Out of the Blue. The mix of roots reggae and dancehall proved a hit, with the track "Grooving My Girl" finding an audience. Over the next few years, Spice toured with the likes of Chaka Demus & Pliers and Rita Marley, as well as playing major Jamaican festivals, including Reggae Sunsplash. 1999 saw Spice release his sophomore album, Living Ain't Easy — which was reissued worldwide that same year as Universal — before issuing a slew of singles over the next few years. It wouldn't be until 2004 that he delivered his third album, the 5th Element-released Spice in Your Life. Featuring the radio hit "Earth Run a Red," the release propelled him back into the spotlight with tracks such as "Marijuana" and "Ghetto Girl" becoming dancehall staples. In 2007 — now signed to VP Records — Spice issued In the Streets of Africa, which featured the Bobby Konders-produced single "Youth Dem Cold," and saw the more socially conscious release peak at number six on the U.S. reggae charts. The following year he dropped his second album for VP, the chart-topping Gideon Boot, with his third, Book of Job, appearing in 2011.
After the release of 2012's acoustic album Soothing Sounds, a selection of singles appeared over the next few years, and it wouldn’t be until 2020 that Spice would deliver his ninth studio album. Working once again with the likes of Clive Hunt, Spice dropped the VP release Together We Stand midway through the year. The title track was picked as the theme for the Jamaican telethon that raised money for the country's fight against COVID-19. ~ Rich Wilson