The musical lyrics of great artists, such as
Ras Shorty I's Endless Vibrations and Soul
of Calypso, helped to make soca music
international by 1974. He experimented with
Indian instruments such as the dhantal, tabla
and dholak to belt out the first stream of soca
In the beginning, like calypso, soca was used to provide social commentary and humour, but soon the more risqué business of wining and jamming took over the new sound. Many argue that the lyrics of soca are less appealing than its contemporary, calypso, but needless to say it took over the streets and is more widely played now than calypso, except in the calypso tents. In many ways, soca is to calypso what dancehall is to reggae, with the former being more about partying and the latter relating to society and its issues.
Like all other music, people have experimented with soca over the years to produce hybrids such as ragga soca, chutney soca, rapso and even soca parang. Some of the great soca artists are Machel Montano, Shadow and Super Blue, whose music is now internationally known and who have allowed Trinidadian artists to become recognised as international entertainers. Artists and bands from other islands, particularly Barbados, have also become huge stars, for instance Burning Flames from Antigua and Krosfyah and Alison Hinds from Barbados. More recently, Kevin Lyttle from St. Vincent had a crossover hit with Turn Me On, which was in the UK charts for some time, increasing the exposure of soca to the masses. Fireball's What I Want and Machel's One More Time are currently looking poised to follow in its footsteps.