Saturday, June 25, 2016

MAAD SICK!

The Maad Sick Reggaeville Riddim [Oneness Records]
1. 'Modern Man' by Morgan Heritage
2. 'Siren' by Exco Levi
3. 'Maad Sick' by Gappy Ranks
4. 'Let Jah Be Praised' by Anthony B
5. 'Ites, Green & Gold' by Kelissa
6. 'Rudeboys' by Clay
7. 'Roots With Quality' by Richie Stephens
8. 'How Mi Sound' by RunkusRoyal Blu
9. 'Champion' by Marla Brown
10. 'Raggamuffin School' by Skarra Mucci & Yaniss Odua
11. 'Jamaica' by Macka B
12. 'Reggae Village' by Perfect Giddimani
13. 'Work' by Cali P
14. 'Always Remember' by Caleb Heart
15. 'Modern Man' by Morgan Heritage [Umberto Echo Dubmix]
16. Maad Sick Reggaeville Riddim [Instrumental]

Okay so, surely you remember a sweet little riddim from a few years back by the name of the ReggaeVille Riddim [biggup Da Ville]. That absolutely sprawling project featured stellar efforts from the likes of Etana, Tarrus Riley, Mark Wonder, Sizzla Kalonji and others (in retrospect, do we now consider the biggest hit on the Reggaeville Riddim to be... 'High & Windy'??? I think so) (biggup Teacha Dee) and was easily one of the best sets, of any kind, back in 2012 (truly ridiculous that thing is four years old already!). Well, fast-forward four years on and apparentlly we have something of a sequel at hand. 
The ReggaeVille Riddim [2012]
You're also likely to recall that the orchestrator of the Reggaeville Riddim was the all kinds of reliable Oneness Records from out of Germany. Even prior to that, Oneness had made a mighty claim to being one of the most dependable imprints in the entire genre through various releases (like the General Key Riddim, which I haven't heard in a minute. That thing was so SWEET!) and the case could well be made that the Reggaeville Riddim, at the time, was their most expansive venture  to date - so why not double up. In stores now is the latest creation from the wizards at Oneness Records, the Maad Sick Reggaeville Riddim. Like its predecessor, the Maad Sick is a clearly well-crafted set, brimming with top and diverse vocal talents and while my eyes tell me that one obvious name is missing (who may've been having too much fun with her friends), just looking through this tracklist leaves me with no complaints.
The early leader may just be UK firebreather Gappy Ranks ["Mi mad, mi sick, mi Reggae ville. Neva been a cub scout, I'm a general. Nah go rise no machine, but mi bredda will. Mek attorneys at law haffi send a will. Memba mi mad, mi sick, no penicill. Mi a real Buffalo like mi bredda Bill"] who checks in with the eponymous selection for the riddim, but The Carpenter is joined by the likes of recent Grammy winners, Morgan Heritage, Anthony B, the wonderfully inescapable Macka B (whose 'Jamaica' may just be my favourite Macka B tune in recent memory), Exco Levi, the always blazing Perfect Giddimani whose contribution, 'Reggae Village', is downright utopic and will probably have you wanting to move! And more flames come courtesy of Achis Reggae and earth favourite, Cali P ('Work' is MASSIVE), sweet singing Marla Brown, as well as a pair of combinations, one of which, 'Raggamuffin School' is a most interesting pairing of UK veteran Skarra Mucci and Yaniss Odua from out of Madinina. Want more??? [GREEDY!] Caleb Hart SCORCHES on 'Always Remember' and Oneness is wise to turn the track over to the well-capable hands of Umberto Echo and dubbifies the Maad Sick Reggaeville Riddim masterfully with the Morgans. 
And I probably just mentioned every song on the riddim in one way or another, but who cares what I say?! Make up your own damn mind when you exercise the TINIEST bit of common sense and pick up what is certainly one of the finest productions Reggae has to offer in 2016, the Maad Sick Reggaeville Riddim from Oneness Records, which is in digital stores right now.

Friday, June 17, 2016

"True To My Roots" by Freddie McGregor

"True To My Roots" by Freddie McGregor [VP Records]
1. 'True To My Roots'
2. 'Your Love's Got a Hold On Me'
3. 'Calling'
4. 'I'm a Soldier'
5. 'Master Design'
6. 'Sen Come Call Me'
7. 'Song In My Head'
8. 'One of These Days'
9. 'I'm Falling In Love With You'
10. 'Rasta Ha'Fi Party' featuring ChinoStephen 'Di Genius' McGregor
11. 'What You Gonna Do'
12. 'I'll Be Back'
13. 'I Pledge My Love'
14. 'Indigenous People'
15. 'Do You Understand?'

All is (and I mean ALLLLLLLLLLLLLL) made right in the world when the great Freddie McGregor is making music and, today, we take a quick look at some musical corrections which is now at hand as the legendary Captain of the Big Ship reaches back and unfurls an album which I have a REALLY good feeling about, his latest set for VP Records, "True To My Roots".

Despite having a career in the music which stretches back billions and billions of years, McGregor has remained fairly active for an artist of his stature and when he pulls everything together for a project of this magnitude, it's always going to be a big deal and, just listening through some of this material, "True To My Roots" may just have something special about it, even in comparison to some of his more recent work (which has been very good in my opinion). Along with the title track and a very familiar tune from a few years back, 'What You Gonna Do', the album features several moments which I would well recommend you have a listen to.
The early favourite is probably the MASSIVE 'Indigenous People', but I'm also tuning into pieces such as 'Rasta Ha'Fi Party' which features McGregor's sons, Chino and Di Genius, the delightful 'Master Design', as well as the downright prophetic 'Song In My Head' (be careful there) and several others (like 'I'm A Soldier). It's just a really PLEASANT album, which I'm still playing with, but like I said, there's a very powerful vibes attached to this one.

Don't take my word for it though. See for yourself when you pick up the new album from Freddie McGregor for VP Records, "True To My Roots" which is available now in Japan and makes its way throughout the world beginning July 1st.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What I'm Listening To: GODZILLA! GODZILLA! GODZILLA!

"Heart Is Willing" by Freddie McGregor [Jet Star - 2003]

Surely it had something to do with his impending new album, "True To My Roots", but I honestly couldn't tell you, AT ALL, what it was that specifically led me back to this random, thirteen-year-old release from the legendary Freddie McGregor, "Heart Is Willing". All but forgotten these days (unfortunately, like so many of the releases that Jet Star Records - which is terrible, because they did so much fine work in their time and are well missed), "Heart Is Willing" was a very, VERY solid which still glows a bit these days, in retrospect. Its brightest moment, without a doubt, was the colossal title track, but it was album which boasted such nice songs as the lovely 'Smile For Me', 'You Don't Have To Worry', 'Old Gangster' and others. A very pleasant and RELIABLE release and, just to let you know, I have a VERY good feeling about McGregor's new album and am well looking forward to it. Until then, this blast from the past is holding sublimely.

CD + Digital

'If This Isn't Love' by Jalena [Jalena - 2016]

There will always be room on my players for Achis Reggae favourite, Jalena, who recently returned with a brand new single, the Reggae-fied, 'If This Isn't Love'. Hopefully this is at the head of a new full project coming soon from the all kinds of delightful Tortola native, but on its own, as is her norm, 'If This Isn't Love' is a captivating and infectious drop from someone who I constantly make sure to check for and she never disappoints.

Digital

"Kush Tafari" by Ras Abja [Iaahden Sounds - 2015]

Check this more than solid EP release via Iaahden Sounds from late last year, "Kush Tafari", by outstanding VI veteran, Ras Abja. The last time we heard from Abja, in full form, was back in 2013 with "Songs Fa Jah", and while we'd LOVE a full followup, this five-tracked EP release was definitely something which did more than hold your attention. Of course, when you tap names such as Ancient King, Ras Attitude and Akae Beka to help you, you're likely, AT WORST, to do something relatively special. It was the combinations (particularly 'Black Lion' with Ancient King) which took top honours here, in my opinion, but all of the songs were very well done and a big credit goes to Iaahden who has already done some very big things and we hope they continue.

Digital

The Jah Army Riddim [Frankie Music - 2016]

And if you haven't already (shame, shame on you!), be nice to yourself and pick up the Jah Army Riddim from Frankie Music today.There was a single GIANT song on this riddim which put me on this track and, save for the last two things you'll see here (if we do this right), it has well been THE most prominent thing I've been listening to recently. That song, 'Just Another Spliff' came via the great Lutan Fyah and... TEARS! The man speaks on using the herb as a method of escape the hardships of life and as a mental upliftment for the masses and does it in a VINTAGE fashion over what is, to their credit, a cavity causing backfrop from Frankie Music. Joining the Fyah on the vocals weren't the biggest of names in Feluke, Torch, Raging Fyah, Chevaughn and Mackeehan, but they all turned in fine efforts and I struggle to pick a favourite amongst them (though if you REALLY pressed me, I'd probably say Feluke with 'Soul Alive' [TEARS!]).

Digital

"Everlasting" by Raging Fyah [VP Records - 2016]

Biggup Bredz for not only insisting that I take a listen to "Everlasting", the latest release from the Raging Fyah band, but then (clearly in order to make sure that I had done so), CONSTANTLY wanting to talk about it. It finally worked, he wore me down and as usual... he was right (please don't tell him I said that). I'm still working on this one, but the early returns have a... very interesting aura or smell about them (I'm trying not to say 'album of the year', but I'm struggling with that). "Everlasting" is BEAUTIFUL! Thirteen tracks span just over fifty minutes of music and not a single second is wasted and, instead, is made great usage of, especially at moments such as 'Get Up', 'Wondering', 'Live Your Life', the MAMMOTH 'Ready For Love' and several others (pretty much the entire album). J Boog, Jesse Royal and Busy Signal (twice) lend a hand on an album I'm sure that Steel Pulse would approve of and so would all of their fans. NOT TO BE MISSED!

CD [in a minute] + Digital

"Way Up Project" [Bass Ink Productions/Fox Fuse - 2016]
I mention the entire project because... I dont know why, exactly, I just do. And definitely biggup the likes of Lil Rick, Shanta Prince, Joaquin Brewster and even Skinny Fabulous whose tune on the riddim, 'Pompous', isn't present on this release (more on him in a minute, anyway) for some reason or another - they all do fine work (Brewster's tune, 'Home' - PROBLEMS!). HOWEVER, with that being said, the Way Up Project from Bass Ink Productions and spread out by the indomitable Fox Fuse, carries a song which I've tried unsuccessfully to get out of my head for a month or so now, 'ID [Stamp Yuh Name]' by the fire breathing Ricardo Drue. Drue has been on a tear for the last two or three years or so, making music as good as anyone in Soca in my opinion and, with respect to 'Vagabond' (and its truly ridiculous remix), this is probably my new favourite Ricardo Drue song. 

"SO RIGHT NOW, LET'S DO SOMETHING THEY'LL REMEMBER! [THEY'LL REMEMBER!]

Digiital [in a minute]

'Godzilla' by Skinny Fabulous [Stadic Studio Productions & Wetty Beatz - 2016]
Lastly, each and every year when it comes to Soca music, one of the things I look forward to the most is what St. Vincent dragon, Skinny Fabulous, will pop up with, particularly when it comes to the powerful and ANGRY brand of the music. His latest release, 'Godzilla' took a little while, but it has TURNED UP in my mind and I cannot shut it down! If you have some frustration and some steam to let go, 2016 probably hasn't done more for you than it does with Skinny's truly MADDENING latest drop (which should, once again, absolutely lay Victoria Park to ruins in a few weeks). RIDICULOUS!

Digital [eventually... I guess]

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Black Dillinger: Live In Munich!

"Black Dillinger: Live In Munich" [Jah Muzik Productionz]

1. Intro
2. 'Do Good'
3. 'Burn Dem Up'
4. 'From A Place'
5. 'Hail The Man' featuring Uwe Banton
6. 'Africa'
7. 'Cyaan Run Away'
8. 'America'
9. 'It's Alright'
10. 'Bless My Soul'
11. 'Volcano Erupt'
12. 'Better Tomorrow'
13. 'Everyone'

Check! A really, REALLY nice and most surprising release recently popped up on our radars courtesy of Jah Musik Productionz as longtime Achis Reggae favourite and South African standout, Black Dillinger reaches back with his fourth album to date and his first since... his last one, the downright SHOCKING "Live In Munich"! As I've said in the past, Reggae shelves, both new and digital and old physical, aren't exactly overflowing with Live albums [biggup Soca] [or don't] and it's always nice when a real talent can draw some attention to the most overlooked album subgenre and, along with Jah Muzik, clearly Dillinger is doing his part.

The album is comprised of a show which took place during the Theatron OpenAir Festival in Munich, Germany (DUH!) and came as a total surprise to us, but we always biggup good ideas and here is a GREAT one! WHY NOT!

Musical speaking (which is our language here), the playlist is locked with some big tunes and heavy favourites from Dillinger, including what is probably my single favourite song of his, 'America', his cut of the MAMMOTH Gangstalaw Riddim from a few years back via the vanished IMMusic (looking it up, that track is almost a decade old which is RIDICULOUS!) (I am soooooooooo old) and other tracks which lit my eyes such as 'From A Place' ["Think you have it all, but one day you shall fall. Babylon ah crumble like wall!"] [BOOM!], 'Bless My Soul', 'It's Alright' and 'Cyaan Run Away' as well as 'Do Good' [TEARS!] from Black Dillinger's debut set, "Live & Learn". Also featured on "Black Dillinger: Live In Munich" are more songs, still, with which fans are familiar such as 'Hail The Man' alongside Uwe Banton (biggup Uwe Banton) 'Burn Dem Up' and 'Volcano Erupt' - the latter of which is probably the best performance on this album [BOOM!]. Lastly, also present is a tune new to my ears (according to the press-release, it's new to everyone's), 'Everyone', which is excellent and, is hopefully, a preview of what is to come from Black Dillinger once he reaches back in the studio for a new album.
Until then, however, there is ABSOLUTELY no reason at all not to pick up his latest project, "Black Dillinger: Live In Munich" from Jah Muzik Productionz, which can be found in your favourite digital store today.

{Note: Biggup an Otis from Jah Muzik, we no idea}

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Marketplace Riddim

The Marketplace Riddim [Zion High Productions]

Just released and in digital stores now is the latest and fifth installment of the wonderful Riddim Series from the equally delightful  Zion I Kings, the Marketplace Riddim. This sublimely laid back track comes, specifically, from the lovely people at Zion High Productions and, as you would expect, it features an excellent ensemble of artists handling the vocals as well. All of the releases in the series, to date, have been top notch projects and today we take a brief look (I mean it this time, it is four tracks to deal with) at the latest addition which quickly proves itself to be no exception to form - the Marketplace Riddim from Zion High Productions.

{Note: Check out an interview from I'm Making It Happen of Tippy from I Grade Records. I've heard his story told so many times and it's so much better coming from his own mouth}
{Note 2: LIFE EXPERIENCES! Almost (not quite) makes me feel bad that I've spent most of my time mastering the ancient art of... just kind of laying around}


1. 'Marketplace' by Pressure

Unsurprisingly giving the riddim its title track is bona fide VI superstar, Pressure Busspipe who, as he ALWAYS does on ZIK projects, absolutely shines all over the Marketplace Riddim as he takes the listener to market with him on this sterling effort, which is as much of a musical celebration (or a vibes celebration... as I resist the urge to throw brain juice all over this big, BIG tune and overthink it) as anything. Even if you pay awful attention you probably know just how Pressure has been performing in recent times and it WELL continues here.

"Mi come a market, mi come fi bargain
And mi waan link di little Rastaman weh have him carving
Di money mi have, mi seh it can't pass di margin
Him seh, 'no worry mi chargie' "

2. 'Described Peculiar' by Akae Beka

Next is 'Described Peculiar' from someone who, MOST FITTINGLY, has been described as peculiar by many over the years at times, Akae Beka. From strictly the sonic appeal of this selection, this is by far one of the most easily listenable tracks from Akae Beka/Midnite that I've heard in recent years. The addictive simplicity of the Marketplace Riddim makes for a nearly perfect backdrop for Benjamin who,though not known for his melodic prowess, presents an infectious and BOUNCING [HUH?!] vocal here. However, as is the case on 100% of his output, what stands out most here is the direction of the song. What I ultimately take away from 'Described Peculiar' is that it is a piece about being HEALTHY. Health, in this instance, is an all-conquering one as Vaughn Benjamin deals with things from the physical to the mental and definitely the spiritual.

"Seen as evident as man ah chant Rasta
This is a people biblical described peculiar"
"Seeing as how the body is the temple of the law -
Man fi do their best to keep it optimum fah"

He (at least in my opinion) suggests  that the healthier and more prepared we can be not only can we succeed in the short term, but we're also far less likely to avoid making mistakes that we made previously and those who wish us to have those lapses in judgment (and are willing to 'help' us do so) will be just as far less likely to get what they want as well. 'Described Peculiar' is all kinds of interesting at its end and, if you can't tell, it's also my favourite cut of the Marketplace Riddim... ["Lion inna di present, lion inna di past"]

3. 'Too Much Religion' by Glen Washington

A name that I was REALLY happy to see visiting market was ZHP favourite, Glen Washington (MAMMOTH combination on Pressure's debut album, "The Pressure Is On", 'When Dem Come') [BOOM!] ["When dem come, wi gonna show dem a brand new way. When dem come, Jah Love will show dem a brighter day!"] [BIGGER BOOM!] [DAMN!], who makes his presence fully known on the poignant 'Too Much Religion'. The opening lines of this tune made me know that my excitement would go rewarded IMMEDIATELY:

"Love is the answer to all that I seek
WITHOUT IT, I'M TOTALLY WEAK"

Subsequently, Mr. Washington goes on to deliver a piece which, correctly in my opinion, essentially identifies religion as one of a seemingly infinitely long line of things which people use to separate ourselves from one another ["How can you say that your way is the right way when your brothers and sisters you slay? Works of the wicked will have to go down, IF YOU'RE WICKED, YOU'LL HAVE  TO PAY"].

4. 'Binghi Man A Call' by Lutan Fyah

And wrapping us up (it took me two days to write this, before I lost my entire mind, this would have been a half hour's worth of work at most) is another familiar face to the ZIK family, Lutan Fyah, who goes to market with 'Binghi Man A Call'. Apparently the Fyah is just a bit tired of waiting and your procrastination and if you needed a little motivation to get moving, here it is.

"STOP YUH COMING AND COME!"

After a TRIUMPHANT first verse (that thing is GOLDEN!), Lutan Fyah actually  goes on to well demonstrate the versatility of the Marketplace Riddim as, were you looking for a little BITE to this riddim, look no further than this tune which breathes some necessary fire to the release.

"We are no victims, we shall do more than survive!
Challenge yourself to do better everytime"
So. There you go. I don't really feel like writing a closer and you probably don't feel like reading it either. So - instead go pick up the brand new Marketplace Riddim from Zion High Productions which is in digital stores RIGHT NOW. I'm going to take a nap.