“Streetlevel Uprising always bring positive vibrations everywhere they go!”
— Mike Murphy, 90.1 FM KKFI Kansas City
Streetlevel Uprising's Underdog Music
Jay Canter is the creative force driving the 100% conscious reggae fusion band Streetlevel Uprising. Their latest single, “The Saints of Wrath,” is rich with the social commentary, uplifting affirmations, lively melodies, and fiery grooves that have always defined this band.
On record or stage, you notice the horns and vocal harmonies instantly. “Horns really lifted us to a new level,” Jay says, “and Bill, Zate, and I just have this rare vocal chemistry.” Jay’s presence – dreads dragging the ground, urgent vocals, and his vibrant and emotive lyrics – lend him a passionate charm. His message, whether sharply critical or warmly compassionate, is one of togetherness, inviting everyone into his songs through his non-dogmatic approach to social change. “We offer a humanitarian message and support for the underdogs out there. Human rights, social equality, protection of the environment, and so on. It’s not about this party or that party. We’re a conscious band. We’re not a political band.”
After winning back-to-back titles as best original band in the musical hotbed of Lawrence, Kansas, Jay relocated to Southwest Florida and set up UnderdogPound Studio. The first song recorded there, “The Saints of Wrath” – with all sales benefiting Ukrainian refugees – features Streetlevel’s trademark blend of modern and vintage reggae vibes.
Looking ahead, Jay sees the band at a crossroads as they make their first run at the national scene. “Our lineup is spread across the country and has become more of a rotating cast of characters,” he says with a laugh. “Family considerations come first, so some members won’t always be available for certain tours. But the odds have always been against this band, so we’ll just have to beat them.”
As they work on their fourth album, Jay understands the value of UnderdogPound. “It gives us a homebase to create, to make sure the work is always getting done,” he says. “But beyond that, we really live for the shows.” That enthusiasm is apparent, with “energy” being the word most often associated with their incendiary live performances. Jay dances and jumps around, massive web of locks flying. Bass player Bill roams his side of the stage, and The Bongo Bastard is a conga-pounding madman. Time and again, they prove that the message is only part of this band’s identity. “We do try to raise awareness of certain issues. But we love music, we love entertaining, and we love making people happy.”
Best of Lawrence 2020 & 2021: Best Original Band
Streetlevel Uprising has been featured on Rootfire's Reggae Release Radar
Streetlevel Uprising has shared stages with: Roots of Creation, Aaron Kamm and the One Drops, Roots of a Rebellion, The Bishops, Nowlege, Soul Rebel & the Beast, Zero 2 Panic, Lion Heights
"Streetlevel Uprising is raw, poetic, and damn good at crafting songs." -Joshua Smotherman, Middle Tenn. Music
"Awesome positive vibes!" -Eli Tancin, U92 WWVU