As history would have it, Agent Sasco has always been a lyrical genius. But a melody maker? Not so much.
The deejay recently revealed he struggled in the early years of his career to be musically melodious, and was often told by esteemed producer Donovan Germain that he was off-key.
“Mi have myself as the wickedest thing if not the wickedest thing as a 16-year-old at the time… and every time mi go fi deejay, Germain seh, ‘lawd God, off-key man! Him lyrics dem tough but him off-key’,” Sasco recalls.
“When di man forward wid di Diwali riddim, it did immediately sound different from everything that was happening at the time.”Agent Sasco
The ‘Same Thing Again’ entertainer has been sharing aspects of his musical journey in a new series dubbed ‘Sasco versus Assassin’ where he revisits productions he has been featured on. But, before he earned the opportunity to record, Sasco was told to complete high school.
“Di first time I ever set foot in a recording studio was the summer of 1999,” Sasco told Instagram viewers. “I went to Penthouse Records one Sunday evening to meet Spragga Benz for the first time… he was at Penthouse wid Donovan German… and him was like, ‘Germaine see a youth here, him waan deejay for you’. This time I was still in high school, lower six at the time…and Donovan was like, ‘yeah man, you can check mi Monday youth’.”
Though he showed promise in his audition, it would take until the following year before Sasco joined forces with Benz to form the Red Square Crew, and network with more producers.
Under his former moniker, Assassin, he grew an underground following with tracks like ‘Dedicated to The World’ in 2001. Despite steady traction, Sasco said he was often given janitorial duties at the end of each studio day and had to make food runs for artistes and producers.
His underground status would change almost overnight when ‘Ruffest & Toughest’ was released in 2002 on Steven ‘Lenky’ Marsden’s ‘Diwali’ rhythm.
“When di man forward wid di Diwali riddim, it did immediately sound different from everything that was happening at the time,” Sasco said. “Because mi career so young, every rhythm weh yuh get, every opportunity weh you get, yuh waan knock dem out the park. Yuh really waan give yuhself a good chance so when mi get the rhythm I remember feeling like, ‘weh mi a go seh pon this…’.”
With Marsden’s help, Sasco worked on his melodies and learned how to sing on beat. He was the first artiste to record on the rhythm, and said he got his inspiration after attending a sports day and hearing catchy cheers.
Since that initial release, Sasco has recorded a plethora of hits including ‘Girls Gone Wild’, ‘Idiot Ting Dat’ and ‘Hand to Mouth’. The hits have continued even after changing his name from Assassin, with ‘Banks of the Hope’ and ‘Winning Right Now’.