Jamaican music was on display in the science fiction film The Kitchen as Busy Signal’s Stay So and British Reggae and Lovers Rock singer Bitty McLean’s Walk Away were included in the soundtrack.
The 2023 film directed by Kibwe Tavares and Daniel Kaluuya was inspired by a screenplay from Kaluuya and Joe Murtagh. It stars rapper Kane ‘Kano’ Robinson, Jedaiah Bannerman, Hope Ikpoku Jr, Teija Kabs, Demmy Ladipo, Cristale, and BackRoad Gee. Though it made a world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2023, it began streaming on Netflix on January 12, 2024.
The film follows a dystopian future in London, where all social housing has been eliminated. Izi (played by Kane Robinson) and Benji (played by Jedaiah Bannerman) fight to navigate the world as residents of the Kitchen, a community that refuses to abandon their homes.
Stay So found its footing in scenes depicting the community’s determination to overcome challenges. Meanwhile, McLean’s Walk Away (Dub Mix) was played during a farewell scene.
For those who might have missed it, Busy Signal posted the scene where his song was included and tagged Netflix in the caption.
According to Dirty Disco, the film’s soundtrack “is a tapestry of musical genres, seamlessly blending tracks from various decades and regions.” Expounding on the multiplicity of genres in The Kitchen, Dirty Disco further noted that the directors drew inspiration from other films such as Do The Right Thing and City Of God to compile the soundtrack.
Busy’s Stay So was the opening track on Busy’s 17-track album Parts Of The Puzzle. The official music video for the track has recorded over 47 million views on YouTube.
In a 2019 interview with Billboard, the deejay admitted that the song resonated with so many because of its simple lyrics and relatability.
“People really relate to it, and the video propelled it to a whole ‘nother level. You saw babies singing it — and they probably don’t even know what they’re singing, but the melody is so catchy. And I didn’t pack up the song with a whole bunch of lyrics. [Sings] “One phone call it take fi make some boy wipe off of earth and drop down flat.” There’s a space after that so it’s not compact. The timing with that song was just so perfect with maintaining who Busy Signal is,” he said at the time.
Bitty McLean’s Walk Away From Love, released in 2004, remains a classic, with tens of millions of plays on YouTube and Spotify. It was a cover of American Soul singer David Ruffin’s 1975 song of the same name. The dub mix used in the film was released in 2018.