All this year, Cuban rum masters BACARDI have been working closely with leading creatives in the overlapping worlds of art and music to take what they call The Sound Of Rum to a global audience. In the broadest sense, The Sound of Rum is the convergence of Caribbean music and everything that takes influence from it. Dancehall, bashment, soca, grime, hip-hop, reggae, R&B and electronic music are all integral to that sound and who better to fly the flag for this convergence than Major Lazer.

"We are most inspired by people that are doing fun and interesting things in music, arts and culture, and Bacardi shares those similar attributes," explained Jillionaire. "The Sound Of Rum is more than music—it's a cultural movement and a way of life that is true to us all."

As part of their Sound of Rum series, BACARDI has profiled 6 of the most successful women in UK and Caribbean music: Stefflon Don, Nadia Rose, Spice, Mystic Davis and Alison Hinds. The UK’s musical connection to the Caribbean goes back as far as the post-war period when immigration from the Commonwealth became much easier. The new migrants brought with them Jamaican R&B, then ska, then reggae, dancehall, bashment and so on. With each new wave of innovation coming from the Caribbean, the UK would add its own touches, whether it be slang, style or attitude. 

Our own Stefflon Don is often compared to dancehall queen Spice, despite Steff's strong influence of hip-hop. Still, the comparison is valid. Both artists—like every woman featured—are marked by their strident personalities, room-filling voices and dance-ready flows. The influence of dancehall is also impossible to ignore, and this year has seen Steff take her cocktail of UK rap, dancehall and grime stateside to huge success. "Hurtin' Me", a collaboration with French Montana, won her attention on both sides of the Atlantic. Each of the women profiled by BACARDI are accomplished leaders of the scenes in their respective home countries.

If there's one thing that unites the music of these women it's their passion and apologetic drive to make club bangers—noisy and boisterous enough—to match anything the men can do. They are, obviously, still wildly different in style and sound. In fact, each of the women in this list are profoundly versatile and eclectic in their output. Even Mystic Davis, whose career is somewhat younger than the likes of Spice and Hinds, has already demonstrated a natural talent for riding just about any island riddim, regardless of tempo.

Unsurprisingly, it hasn't always been easy for women to find that sort of success. All the women featured in the film have had to work many times harder than their male contemporaries. What that's done, however, is ignited a sense of togetherness between them. Jamaican dancehall legend Spice says she believes that togetherness is the key to all of their success: "When I came over to England, everyone was like 'Stefflon Don's doing this female ting as well.' I was like: 'Yes! We can team up. We gyal now! Let’s take over di ting.'"

Still, with The Sound Of Rum campaign behind them, this is a prime opportunity to push themselves and their respective scenes forward. The message of togetherness and of celebrating their differences as strengths is clear, but even with strong support networks, success won't come without some blood, sweat and tears. As Barbados-based soca queen Alison Hinds explained, "If, through my music, I can reach a couple of those girls and make them think whatever your passion is, you can achieve it… But you've got to put in the work," she adds. "It's not going to happen by accident."

Check out the rest of the series here.

Posted on November 30, 2017