Known for her 1992 Kisskidee Karavan hit, Sista Ron Ah Come, local rapper Rhonda “SistaRon” Knights is back again with two new songs that she hopes will connect with her Trini people.
SistaRon released Waiting for You on October 2019, and Look Ting Now on December 2019, and neither of them can strictly be placed in any one genre.
Waiting for You, produced by Daryl Braxton, has an R&B and reggae vibe with elements of rap and groovy soca. It is a love song about longing and having faith that love would come.
“It’s so many people’s true story. You believe in love but at the same time you’re wondering, ‘Where is this person? What will they look like? When will they show up?’”
Meanwhile, Look Ting Now, which was produced by Keron Harris and Mark Wright, is SistaRon rapping over a soca riddim.
“I am a Carnival jumbie. When that time comes I’m ready for the road. I like to party, I want to be in ting. That’s the Trini in me. Look Ting Now is about me and what I see on the road. It’s the experience of soca and Carnival.”
But these were not the first songs she recorded after Sista Ron ah Come. In 2010 she released Always Remember Jah, a collaboration with other local artistes Gailann and Jahbami on a compilation EP.
She told Sunday Newsday she has been living in Miami since 1993 and people have always encouraged her to make more music. She has done a few projects but did not release much for various reasons. For example, she may not have been pleased with some of the results, it was not how she wanted to be represented, deals fell through, among other issues.
She said she “had the songs in her” but she was looking for the right people to work with, people who understood her aesthetic.
SistaRon admits it is a challenge to find her way because she wants her TT people to accept her while staying true to herself. She always had a love for soca but rapping is “her thing.” When she heard a soca riddim she liked, she wanted to lay a track over it, which is how Look Ting Now came about.
“It’s not like I’m straying from the rapping. I can’t help but stay true to myself as an artiste. I don’t see anything wrong with doing it over the soca riddim. I hope nobody ain’t vex. I’m doing music. There is really no box for what I do.”
She believes this can be the route for other local hip hop, reggae, and dancehall artistes. She believes there is a “time and place” for the pure form of those genres, even at Carnival events, as long as DJs and promoters do not “overdo it” and as long as people move to it. However, she said if those artistes make fusions with soca or even pure soca, it can help them slot into the Carnival season.
“Trinidadians are very talented people, they could do music for all seasons. As an artiste, if you could do both, then do both so you always have a place to fit in. Also, we know how we Trinis are. As soon as Ash Wednesday hits, what plays? So it’s not like the artistes don’t have a space for what they do.”
However, she said, whatever artistes do, the main point is about reaching the people, making people “feel” and appreciate the music.
After recording Waiting for You, SistaRon said her producers and the Miami public loved it so much that her team decided to make a video, and things started growing from there.
“After I did the first song, the second one came because I was like, ‘Oh God boy. Carnival coming!’ and I start feeling the tempo. And as an artiste I can’t feel it and have it in me without putting it out.”
She said she is now “juiced up” and ready to make more music. She plans to release another song during the summer, and is in talks with her producers about an album. She is not just focussing on TT Carnival, but will like Look Ting Now to make the rounds through the Caribbean and to Miami Carnival.
SistaRon said producing an album is along the lines of what she is seeing now in the local soca industry. She said artistes are coming out with albums rather than a few singles. So much so that DJs are challenged to play all the music available for the season.
“The grind is tougher. People are working harder. I feel like it challenges artistes’ creativity level and their consistency. Soca is no genre to take as a joke at all. I love the energy of it but it’s pace. I think we’re running neck-and-neck with the American music industry as far as the way artistes present themselves and the work they put in.”
She said the music continues to be her passion even though her everyday life in Miami is forefront. She wants to get back in the studio to record more music and misses performing at shows because she believes she belongs on stage.