Jamaica’s legendary eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt retired from track and field competition in 2017 but has gone on to have a successful career as a music producer. He has now received his first Billboard plaque, which commemorates his album, “Country Yutes,” debuting at Number 6 on the Billboard Reggae Album chart in September 2021.
The “Country Yutes” album takes its inspiration from the athlete’s childhood growing up in the rural Sherwood Content in Trelawny Parish in Jamaica. A life-long music lover, he remembers going to community concerts with his father and listening to the music of Bob Marley, Bounty Killer, and Beenie Man. He said he started listening to Marley when he was six years old and attended “Round-Robin” events with his parents. While he initially felt out of place when the family moved to the city of Kingston during his youth, his album represents coming full circle and celebrates his rural upbringing. It was recorded in the Kingston Big Yard recording studio in Eastwood Park. The entire album was recorded in Jamaica.
His involvement with the music industry dates to a self-released mixtape in 2019, and he has collaborated with several dancehall stars including Dexta Daps and Baby Cham. Bolt, 35, is comfortable being an executive producer and deejay in the spirit of DJ Khaled. With “Country Yutes,” he has worked together with his best friend, Nugent “NJ” Walker, as his lead man. The duo put the album together in the two-room studio and the songs just happened naturally. It was released on September 3, 2021, on A-Team Lifestyle and United Masters.
The first single for the album was “Living the Dream,” which was a response to people who told them they shouldn’t go into music because they were track athletes. The title also refers to his feelings as a youth, who was “just living the dream and working hard,” not knowing he could become the fastest man in the world. The last song recorded for the album was “Rip My G,” which Bolt said is a tribute to his friend, Germaine Mason who was a high jumper from Jamaica who competed for Great Britain and died in a motorcycle accident in 2016.
Bolt thanked his fans via Instagram & Facebook with a photograph of himself holding the plaque and posting, “Thanks to all my fans who have supported me in everything I do. Just know I don’t take these moments for granted.” His post received tens of thousands of “likes” and many congratulatory messages from fans.