Sunday, July 27, 2014

Coming Soon: "Africa Redemption" by Pressure!

"Africa Redemption" [Yard Vybz Entertainment]
1. 'Africa Redemption Intro'
2. 'Africa Redemption' featuring Chronixx
3. 'Freedom Fighters'
4. 'Where I'm From'
5. 'Lead I Home'
6. 'Belly Full'
7. 'Mental Disturbance' featuring Damian MarleyTarrus Riley
8. 'Dear Mama'
9. 'Parents'
10. 'I'm Grateful'
11. 'My Herbs Interlude'
12. 'My Herbs' featuring Jah Mason
13. 'Just Like Dat'
14. 'Right Love'
15. 'Love Me So'
16. 'Many Moods'
17. 'Feeling Fine'

And just when you thought 2014 could not possibly be any nicer to you… it just got so much more enjoyable (which is hard to do) as VI superstar, Pressure Busspipe, continues to make a run at Artist of The Year with the release of a second forthcoming album, "Africa Redemption". Of course, it wasn't very long ago, earlier this year, when the chanter dropped what remains the finest album we've heard in 2014, "The Sound" for I Grade Records and the Zion I Kings and, one would think, that's just about anything he could do on top of that would chart up to a massive year but "Africa Redemption" is a bit more than "just about anything". The new album comes courtesy of Baby G and his Yard Vybz Entertainment and has a history dating back to a couple of years ago or so (which would have been fantastic), but now that it is loaded and ready to go, "Africa Redemption" is projecting mightily and figures to be, again, one of the better albums of the year.
'Africa Redemption' featuring Chronix single
The album's first single and title track features Pressure alongside the constantly flaming (and sitting Achis Reggae AOTY) Chronixx and drops on August 5 and also making appearances on the album are Jah Mason and bona fide Reggae superstars, Tarrus Riley and Damian Marley [BOOM!]. And just listening through some of the clips, there is some very impressive material to be found on this album, as you would expect (especially a tune by the name of 'My Herbs').

Still more than a month away, it gives you a whole heap of time to get excited for "Africa Redemption" from Pressure which is set to arrive in stores on September 16th

Friday, July 25, 2014

'ROARING!': A review of "Salam" by Ras Muhamad

Greetings. You're certain to never hear it regarded as such at any point in the near future or in any history that you and I are likely to live long enough to see but I think that right now we're experiencing something of a 'golden era' of Reggae music. Such designations are generally reserved for times from loooooooong ago and, of course, such things are a matter of opinion, but in one particular area, I don't think it is even up for debate! What we've seen in terms of the spreading of the music has been amazing! Music is something which does, and has always, 'traveled' extremely well but it has never been to the magnitude, at least not in Reggae music, that it is these days. Most outstanding is the fact that this spread has not only been limited to fans and we don’t only see various artists touring so many different portions of the world, but we also see, quite constantly, the actual makers of the music and its stars coming from a variety of different places and walks of life. At no other stage in its history could Reggae music make such a boast and it seems that things are still headed upwards. And this isn't just a matter of someone with a very local following with a very local level of talent - routinely we see new (and sometimes fully developed) artists and labels arriving on the international scene with international and world class level talents and the question of how they came to be who they are is one which is steadily losing steam because it is becoming so frequent. Places such as Reunion, Seychelles, Papua New Guinea and others have already produced considerable talents in Reggae and Dancehall music and, again, I don't know of a time prior to this one where we could have said something like that. Today we take a look at someone who comes from a place not known for producing Reggae artists but someone who has clearly been gaining steam and, to my opinion, been making some of the best music of anyone in Reggae music today and over the past couple of years, the indomitable Ras Muhamad. The Reggae Ambassador of Indonesia has been absolutely burning across the past two or three years and he has scorched to the degree of making his next release, whenever it came to fruition, one of my personally most anticipated albums in the genre. And it seems somewhat fitting that in a year which has dazzled and thrilled, Ras Muhamad finally sends greetings. 

And he does so via a most wonderful source. Over that same timeframe that I have become a major fan of Ras Muhamad's, one of my favourite labels and, without question, one of the finest imprints going today throughout the world, the German based Oneness Records, has also been flaming and they've been doing it together. Muhamad has appeared on so many of Oneness' tracks and it was almost entirely through their work together that I had become a fan. What I was wholly unaware of was Muhammad's history up to that point and it seems so damn interesting that an Indonesian links with a German label to make REGGAE music. I did not live through them, but I know that the 1970's were fantastic and were it not for the work done then, we would not be here, but circumstances like that are as purely modern as they are SENSATIONAL. Already in 2014, Oneness has had a fine year, most recently in releasing "The Kings Book" from Suga Roy & Conrad Crystal and before that was a nice compilation as well as two strong tracks, the African Children and Rise Up Riddims, respectively. Given the level both artist and producer have been on recently, and that they have been on it together, common sense dictated that Muhamad's next album (after having multiple releases) should come from Oneness Records. 
And though she almost never gets her way in matters of music, this time Common Sense won out and "Salam" is in stores today courtesy of Oneness Records. Ras Muhamad, for so many reasons, is interesting. Not the smallest of his compelling points is the fact that, as you might imagine, he sings in both English and his native tongue and he could have made an album like this purely in an Indonesian language and I would have listened to it and probably enjoyed to some degree, but fortunately he offers a mix as "Salam" is a mostly English project with spots of Indonesian (which apparently is called Bahasa Indonesia). But the album isn't just a display of Ras Muhamad's linguistic achievements (actually, that is exactly what it is, but you know what I mean), it's also an exhibition of the fiery talent which made a fan out of me which is vastly present as he reaches the largest stage of his career to date. In terms of his style, it is difficult to kind of draw comparisons between Ras Muhamad and some of his peers, which is expected given his origins and his unique perspective. However, in listening to his music I do hear bits and pieces of similarities to people like Jah Mason and perhaps a vintage level of Natural Black -- artists whose respective approaches involve a wide range of emotions with that being one of the most entertaining and unique aspects of listening to their music -- which is were Ras Muhamad also excels. Again, however, his perspective is such a distinctive one and, fortunately, it is something which he fully embraces and, not just in terms of language, throughout "Salam" you don't at all move very far from his Indonesian roots, as a listener. He makes them fully visible throughout which adds a matchless aspect to his music and makes for a very gripping listening experience throughout the album. By its end, "Salam" manages to become everything I hoped it would be and just a little bit more on its way to also proving to be one of the better albums of what has been such an impressive year. If you're not doing anything I'd love to tell you about… and even if you are, I'm going to keep going anyway. 

The album is built on a mixture of songs which're likely to be familiar to some fans and others which definitely are not. I do like this approach as it, even on paper, made for some very interesting moments and full-on made me smile just seeing some of the tunes brought together here. The first song and title track from Ras Muhamad's "Salam" album through Oneness Records isn't one which is completely familiar to my eyes but my ears definitely recognize the GORGEOUS backdrop over which it comes across. The tune is somewhat of a microcosm for the album named after it as it features singing in both English and Indonesian. The song is a greeting and involves pretty much everything you would expect it to, but Muhamad and Oneness clearly appreciated the moment and did their best to make sure that it did not pass them by. 'Salam', the song, is a JOY to listen to. It is a thorough and invasive massage for those things attached to the side of your head and one of the best songs here. 'Good Over Evil' is charged with maintaining the vibes following the giant opener and it does not come close to disappointing and it may even take a step ahead as Ras Muhamad tears a lyrical course directly through negativity and wickedness anywhere he can find it. 

"Come on and join the movement
Peace and love we endorse - unto the world
Come on and join the movement -
Kindness and a clean heart
Move on inna dis yah music
Like Moses trodding with him rod
Come and set di captives free
Like prophecy
See we ready fi come trample di beast
Rumour, rumour, rumour dem ah spread
Propaganda, propaganda, dat a dem ah flex
They invest in war for the sake of enterprise
Pure manipulation a what dem televise
Iniquity works a what dem exercise
Evilous promoter haffi step aside

"Babylon a bandit
Put I inna bondage
Then they take advantage
Like up I a conscience

BOOM! The second on the album is one of Muhamad's finest that I've ever heard and it goes back to drawing comparisons from his style to someone like a Jah Mason. When they really get passionate about something, what can occur can be chaotic and wholly brilliant. Want an example? Listen to 'Good Over Evil'. And if you love intense lyrical performances, check the next offering on "Salam", 'Re-Education'. The first of seven combinations on the album, this piece finds Muhamad linking with the mighty Kabaka Pyramid on a big tune. The two, coming from Indonesia on one side and Jamaica on the other, find a common lyrical ground in Africa and turn in a LESSON not to be missed. I can listen to Kabaka Pyramid rhyme… endlessly (and it comes off so effortlessly for him, like he never wrote a single word and just opened his mouth and started speaking!) and Muhamad is nearing that level as well with more songs like this. BOOM! 

And speaking of combinations, the second combination on the album, 'Satu Rasa' ('One Feeling'), which features Conrad Good Vibration (a FANTASTIC name), comes through following an interlude courtesy of Jah T, which is delightfully random and, really, makes the album a better one in my opinion. This track, which features another very familiar riddim (which, I believe, also backed the title track from Naptali's towering "Long Journey" album), is virtually entirely in Indonesian - so while I don't know what is being said, I can still appreciate a nice sound and this one is excellent. Similar is one of the later pieces, 'Leluhur' which features Kunokini and definitely took my ears on a long journey in sound (I was kind of afraid of what I was about to hear following the song's stringy nascence) but what does follow is the product of supremely talented musicianship and, again, though I can't follow along, I do like this song and I like the chants as well. There is also 'All Over The World' alongside Mighty Che. This is done in English and is a pleasant kind of old school vibed lover's song appreciating beautiful women across the globe ["Well if you inna Japan, dem ah wear di kimono. Fly straight to Spain, dem dance to flamingo"]. I can't say that I automatically associate love songs with Ras Muhamad, but he does a fine job here in an unexpected GEM from the album. 'Satu Rasa', 'Leluhur' and 'All Over The World' feature in CGV, Kunokini and Mighty Che Indonesian Reggae artists. Unless I am really overlooking something, "Salam" is probably going to be the most well known Reggae album from out of the country and I like that Ras Muhamad didn't just look at it as only a platform for himself and Oneness and, instead, he brought along some of his peers and the number of people in the world at least now loosely familiar with the names Conrad Good Vibration, Kunokini and the Mighty Che has likely just increased immeasurably. 

And Ras Muhamad, as you might expect, continues to spread the love. Along with Kabaka Pyramid, Mighty Che, Kunokini and CGV, "Salam" also receives a helping hand from three more varied and very impressive artists. 'Barriers & Borders' once again links Muhamad with German veteran Uwe Kaa. Previously, the pair united on at least one track, 'Aku Cinta' (which was apparently very popular), and come together again for another fine effort. This song mixes languages between Indonesian and German, but the chorus, which is infectious, is done in English and if it is any indication for the rest of the song then 'Barriers & Borders' is about music shrinking the world and bringing people together from an infinite amount of different walks of life. Naptali the great also joins Ras Muhamad on the album with their cut of the ReggaeVille Riddim, 'Farmerman'. This song was a favourite of mine from the ReggaeVille and it remains so on "Salam" as well. It was another piece which kind of took observation of the similarities of, seemingly, so different lives in different places and it was exceptional. LASTLY (not really), is a very interesting song by the name of 'Learn & Grow' which features Ras Muhamad alongside someone who you've certainly never heard us mention previously, THE GREAT SARA LUGO [WHAT!]. 

"If you wanna grow you've really got to show some effort in this thing today
And if you wanna live, you've really got to give your best, each and every day"

"Life can make some people so bitter
Who do you see when you look inna di mirror?
Do you choose another mask to wear?
Or accept the design from The Divine?
Learn and grow with your life and go forward
No masquerade, do some acts of change today"

"I know this road ain't easy
Loads of trials and tribulations
Fear and hate is overwhelming
To the ones that don't stand strong
Don't let the struggles get you down
For life is worth more than gold
You alone hold the key

I could listen to this woman and her crystal clear vocals sing absolutely anything all day long! But when she does have good material (and I've never heard her not), it is spectacular and, because they were likely the only ones who could have made such a link, definitely biggup Oneness Records.

And returning solo, Ras Muhamad keeps the levels high on "Salam" and does so with a few familiar efforts. Such a tune would surely be 'Nuh Badmind Friend' which was his song over the Raspect Riddim from a couple of years back. I haven't heard this one in awhile and it sounded so good to my ears with two years of nostalgia behind it. A very solid addition to the album, 'Nuh Badmind Friend' is a composition essentially saying to mind who you keep company with because not everyone is exactly as they seem to be. You may also remember 'Blow Them Away' over the Rub A Dub Man Riddim. This song is still one of Muhamad's finest ever in my opinion and I was really happy that they chose to include it on the album as it may give a few new sets of ears to hear this very intelligent record. And surely you haven't already forgotten 'Lion Roar' which was Muhamad's tune on Oneness' recent African Children Riddim from just earlier this year. This skillful praising piece has THE song from Muhamad that I've been listening most recently and for me it is a giant star on this album and should you think it is THE best song here, you won't get the slightest argument from me on that. That distinction, from me, however, goes to a song which I'd never heard prior to "Salam", the MASSIVE closer 'Through The Smoke'

"Through the smoke and fire wi ah prosper
I put my trust in Jah Jah

No matter how di wicked man run come fight - 
Fight against I 
No matter how di wicked heart run come rise -
Rise against I
I ah come tougher than the sword of King David
Harder than the shield of di Arawak natives
Music free di people from dem modern day slave ship
Head haffi go roll when di fire start blazing
Caught up in di matrix, with no chance of escaping
Vibes flow naturally, like an ancient memory
I and I shall overcome dem

They set me up with tear gas
Want I to follow dem bribery
But Rasta ah stay clear a dat
You see corruption a no choice fi wi
You can't buy nor sell me some lie and tell me
Promise I will wealthy
Too much pride and envy
Shake off di dust!
From hatred and grudge!
It's time to rise from the ashes!"

This pillar of a song is about maintaining one's course through difficult times which may arise in life and, again, it puts on a full and vibrant display what I feel is Ras Muhamad's greatest skill as an artist - his ability to turn emotion into greatness, musically. There's a general passion here and an anger as well backing a tremendous song. You also hear that present on both the remaining selections on "Salam", 'Conquest' and 'So Tired'. It is particularly clear on the former where Professor Ras Muhamad gives us a history lesson which you need to hear - dealing with well known 'discoverers' and their madness. On that particular selection the intensity is turned up fully at times and Ras Muhamad dazzles with one of the strongest lyrical offerings to be found here (and I LOVE how they let the music play on after the vocals on the song). Finally (and I mean it this time), for its part 'So Tired' is a big and fairly social commentary which kind of unites ghettos and poverty throughout the world by examining how they're established and maintained and the universal things faced by the people. It is, obviously, a very broad song and in that broadness and openness, it's also very relatable. You'll find something here which resonates with you.
Ras Muhamad
And I can say the same about the entire album: If you like Reggae music, you're almost guaranteed to find something on "Salam" which you enjoy and that's saying it mildly [Like modern Reggae music??? You'll  really like this album]. We've been looking forward to an album from Ras Muhamad for a few years now and what it turned out to be was probably even more than I expected. "Salam" is an EXCITING Roots Reggae album and that is a word which isn't often associated with the subgenre. I'd recommend it to fans new and old alike because I think that it is well mature enough and challenging to hold the attentions of those more experienced listeners and dynamic enough to keep the ear of a more casual follower as well. Personally, "Salam" gets every seal of approval I have to offer. It is one of the best lyrical displays of 2014 and a giant credit goes to Oneness Records (who we throw [deserved] praises at constantly) because the music here is outstanding throughout! "Salam" brings forth the most interesting and modern global talent of Ras Muhamad which, once again, shows the undeniable unifying strength of Reggae music. One of the year's finest. 

Rated: 4.65/5
Oneness Records

Review #520

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rewind! - "Freedom Fighters" by Chezidek

"Freedom Fighters" by Chezidek [One Drop Records - 2013]
Though, in some respects, I have to admit to having a fondness for the type of… unusual ways of one One Drop Records, I do sometimes wish that they had gone about things differently. The label which, at least through their first three releases, showed very little in the way of deciding to promote their projects (which was very strange considering exactly who those albums featured). The result, as you might imagine, was a trio of albums which flew WELL beneath the proverbial radar and kind of continue to these days as well. That's unfortunate, particularly when you consider that their first two albums, which came from Lutan Fyah and Ras Attitude (and Lutan Fyah's "Truly" was virtually a masterpiece in my opinion), probably didn't need much of a push to make a bigger impact that they did, but I wouldn't at all be surprised if both vocalists had at least semi-passionate fans who are still unaware that those albums exist. The same could be possibly be said from an album from One Drop Records just last year from the flaming Chezidek. Of course the general year 2013 that Chezidek put together didn't help things - as he released "The Order of Melchezedik" (another masterpiece and a borderline classic already), which was well on top of the radar and was ultimately one of the most respected projects of its time. It would not have been difficult for any other album that year to go unnoticed from the singer and one did. 'Unfortunately' (not really), that album, also, was damn good! Today, as we've been meaning to do for almost a year now, we FINALLY go  back and REWIND what became a very little known GEM of a record, "Freedom Fighters" by Chezidek. 

1. 'Freedom Fighters'

TEARS! 'Officially' the crying doesn't begin until the second song on "Freedom Fighters", but the first is more than enough to serve that purpose on a personal level for me. What a beautiful song! Aside from being downright therapeutic (biggup Ziggi Recado) to the ears, 'Freedom Fighters', the song, was full of substance of Chezidek called for a next group of leaders to step up and fix what previous generations have broken. These days, I'm well stuck on just appreciating the sonics of the tune and that is A LOT to appreciate. Still, again, the singer also gives us enough listening points of discussion, making for a fully operational MAGICAL song and my new favourite piece on the album named after it. 

"It was the inaction of those who could have acted
The silence of the voice of justice
Well it mostly mattered
That has made it so possible for evil to triumph
Glorious pages of human history has been written only in those moments -
When men were able to act in concert to prevent impending tragedies


2. 'Eye Watas and Prayers [Live By The Gun]'

Feel free to begin crying on the second song on the album, 'Eye Watas and Prayers', because if the opener didn't get you (you're a robot) this one surely will. Though the song was largely straight-forward as an anti-violence social commentary, it packed on the beauty as well and is just a pleasing composition to listen to, particularly in its latter stages. I also have a newfound LOVE of the riddim from this tune with so many different and diverse, but complimenting sounds (there's a horn in there somewhere which is sublime) making for a perfect backdrop which Chezidek does not waste at all. 

"Live by the gun
Die by the bullet
No place to run
You too quick fi pull it

3. 'Chemical Free'

'Chemical Free' was a giant from the very first time that I heard it and now, having not heard it in a minute, it hasn't lost a thing and it has even gotten stronger in my opinion. This piece was one about utilizing the world and its fruits in a way in which was most beneficial and HEALTHY to mankind and eschewing the millions of things which are not. In retrospect, I think I overlooked just how meticulously put-together the songs comes off. It may not be the case at all (they may've created it in about fifteen minutes), but 'Chemical Free' so much seems like the type of song which was planned and arranged for a very long time before what we eventually hear emerged. In either case, it was a fantastic song and one of the most lasting moments from "Freedom Fighters" unquestionably. 

4. 'Dem A Dweet'

Though the title track and opener has overtaken it in terms of being the best song I hear on the album, 'Dem A Dweet' is still an absolutely golden selection and it perhaps speaks even more to my appreciation of the first song to say that I probably hold 'Dem A Dweet' in an even higher esteem now than I did originally. While the major attraction here was definitely a lyrical one -- as Chezidek goes on a tirade on some of his not so proper living peers ["seh dem love, dem only love sometime"] -- it is also a song which can be appreciated on a more simple level: It sounds REALLY good! The combination of both of those things make for not only one of the best songs on this album, but definitely one of the best ones of Chezidek's entire career as well. 

5. 'Never Give Up'

I well wanted to take a deeper listen to 'Never Give Up' because, on its name alone, I couldn't really remember the song until I got into it (especially the chorus). This record was one which you'd listen to and actually expect to kind of be overlooked and underestimated in the face of some of the more spectacular moments on the album, but it is the type of song which GLOWS when you put it beneath a 'brighter light' and take a closer look (… or even if you only take in that damn infectious chorus).  

"I no wanna be the victim
Still I can't just be living for myself
Even if its from a distance
Got to share Jah love with someone else
Oh I really work so hard
I seek of no reward -
But the blessings of life and my children's children
Wiseness and overstanding and the right knowledge
Long life and health and strength"

6. 'Shine Your Light'

Speaking of bright lights - Yes, I still hear the riddim from 'Shine Your Light' and immediately begin to sing a Lutan Fyah song in my head, but Chezidek's cut of the track is no less luminous. This selection was a subtly clever praising tune which FULLY makes a space and an acknowledgment for the various faiths and walks of life to be found on the planet, but Chezidek makes no puzzle of it, at all, where his allegiances rest:

"Be what you wanna be
See what you wanna see
Pree all you wanna pree
I and I and I a just Rasta"

7. 'Burn Out'

From the first time I heard 'Burn Out' I always thought it to be a compelling and curious composition because of its core meaning and I haven't really deviated much as far as my thoughts of its intent. I think it is a song about maturing and, within that process, continuing to let go of negative things around you. What has changed, however, is my LOVE of this piece from the lyrical side. 'Burn Out', in spite of its title, is not the grotesque and disgusting clichéd song condemning the same things you've heard on thousands of other songs. What it is about, as Chezidek says so wonderfully, is replacing those things with upful and positive and inspiring things ["Humble yourself, like a little child. Learn to live in a peaceful manner. Show a little respect. Show a little honour. NOTHING CAN HIDE, JAH JAH HAVE YOU ON A SCANNER"]. At its peak, Chezidek absolutely dazzles linguistically on a song which is RIPE to be heard again… for the first time. 

8. 'Good Girl'

Though not the most lasting effort from "Freedom Fighters", for what it was, 'Good Girl', was very strong. Love songs, for whatever reason, have never really been a strength of Chezidek's and, as 'love songs' go, his pieces tend to more on the mild side (which is a good thing in his instance) and this was no exception. Most enjoyable here, without a doubt, is just how easy this one was to take in. It breaks no new ground and does not come close, but is just very nice to listen to.

9. 'Mr. President'

'Mr. President', like both the opener and 'Dem A Dweet' before it, was a song which really brought some edge and some spice to the album. You don't too often hear Chezidek angry and overly impassioned, and you don't get that here, but several times here you get the feeling that he's not entirely far from losing it a little! The results, to my ears are fantastic and make for one of my favourite songs here.

10. 'Jah Jah Tabernacle'

The downright CRAWLING 'Jah Jah Tabernacle' is another tune here which well requires more than a few spins through to fully take in. It literally sounds like a different song developing each time you hear it. And these days what I most like here is that development. On the smaller scale, it happens during the song: In its middle portions Chezidek turns the intensity up SLIGHTLY and it doesn't even continue throughout the rest of the song, but at that one moment, this praising song goes up several notches in quality.

"Go and tell it to di nation
Tell it to all generation
Tell dem bout The King of Iration
HE is our salvation!
All gonna hail that same one
All gonna sing that same song
Chanting for our redemption
Chanting for our liberation!

We can do it, we can make it happen
Inna Jah Jah Tabernacle 
Good over evil, we shall win the battle
Inna Jah Jah Tabernacle"

11. 'Fire Must Haffi Burn'

"Fire must haffi burn
Fire must haffi burn
How long Jah Jah call and dem never return
Fire must haffi burn
Fire must haffi burn
How long Jah Jah call and dem never return

Seh we never will forget it
Even though we do forgive
How they brought us down in slavery, trampled down our dignity
No equal rights nor justice, we were trapped in poverty
Seh they fight against our culture and their true identity
With their brainwash education: Babylon philosophy
Yet we never give up the struggle, seh we fighting to be free

Fire must haffi burn
Fire must haffi burn
How long Jah Jah call and dem never return
Fire must haffi burn
Fire must haffi burn
How long Jah Jah call and dem never return

I wanna tell the story
We wanna tell the story
How much of I and I dem throw overboard on the transatlantic journey
Dem waan change the story
Dem no like tell the story 
Dem caan wipe away our history
Ancient prophets and priests, Queens and Kings
Teachers and philosophers of the origin
Masters of science, technology and medicine

Fire must haffi burn
Fire must haffi burn
How long Jah Jah call and dem never return
Fire must haffi burn
Fire must haffi burn
How long Jah Jah call and dem never return

Cut and clear and sanctify
Purge and cleanse and purify
Come together and beautify
And it no matter how hard you try
They will never be satisfied
Babylon dem ah crucify

12. 'Light Up Your Spliff'

Chezidek declares "brainfood", presumably, in reference to the subject of the song, but if he only meant this actual song, 'Light Up Your Spliff', he'd get in an agreement from me there as well.  This song was a slight tribute to the great Everton Blender and I always thought that was such a nice touch here which not only helps to make it a good song, but a memorable one as well. 'Light Up Your Spliff' was THAT song on "Freedom Fighters" and it always be one of the several (but maybe even most in this case outside of the title track) which I hear and IMMEDIATELY smile. 

13. 'Mama'

Surely we couldn't come to the end of an album like this one without at least one piece of love devoted to Mama and that's what Chezidek does on… a song called 'Mama'. There was nothing new here (I don't think you can do anything new on a Mama song in Reggae music) (I think it is impossible today), but as was the case with 'Good Girl', this is just such a pleasing song to listen to. Specifically, a big credit goes to whoever plays guitar on this song. Subtle as it may be (and it is), they do an amazing job on one of the best riddims on this album.

14. 'Head Get Swell'

'Head Get Swell' kind of serves as a fine accompanying piece to 'Dem A Dweet' as, at least in my opinion, it is aimed at the same group of people, essentially. 

"Don't let your head get swell from the little food you eat
don't get out of your self
Stand up firm on your feet
Don't forget your journey and what you preach
Don't forget where you coming from and where you reach"

I thought it a very unique song initially and I still do because of how it is put together. Humility is trampled subject when it comes to Reggae music, but most times you hear it explored, it is done so broadly. In this situation, Chezidek directly (or at least seems to) goes after people who have come into new success (maybe musicians, for example!) and have lost their way in life and now think themselves better than others.

15. 'Thanks and Praises'

And lastly (I haven't written anything lengthy in a while (now checking in at 2400 words) and this was easy) was another highlight from "Freedom Fighters" as the sublime 'Thanks and Praises' set the album away on a high note. After having done ALL of that work, it is important to give praise (for TALENT if nothing else) and that's how Chezidek and ODR wraps things up. You may see titles like this and immediately assume (correctly) that you've heard so many songs like this and you're right, but this one was nearly special to my ears. Along with that GRUMBLING riddim (it sounds like it is trying to talk to you), Chezidek delivers a fantastic performance in honour of His Imperial Majesty. 

"Oh I know it's not easy
It nuh pretty out a street
My mind is made up, my heart is fixed
I and I won't take no defeat
Sometimes I couldn't find a place to rest my weary feet
But a forward ever, backward never
I and I never retreat
Hear I when I call!
Jah Jah give us health and strength
I hope - I and I trust Jah Jah -
I and I confidence
One day we shall overcome
And I know we shall win
In Jah is the victory -
Selassie I The King of Kings" 

So! I think that there may be a fairly high chance that you missed out what turned out to be one of the least appreciated GREAT albums of 2013 but we've just received word that… you can still get it! They didn't remove it and erase it from history. Check out the lovely "Freedom Fighters" from Chezidek via One Drop Records today. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Good Emanation Frequency

'Same Boat We'

Taken from "Beauty For Ashes" by Midnite & I Grade Records

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Coming Soon: "Differentology" by Bunji Garlin!

"Differentology" by Bunji Garlin [VP Records]
1. 'Red Light District'
2. 'Carnival Tabanca'
3. 'Savage'
4. 'Differentology [Ready For The Road]'
5. 'Truck On D Road' Remix featuring Asap Ferg
6. 'West Indian Jungle'
7. 'Touchless'
8. 'Differentology [Ready For The Road]' Major Lazer Remix
9. 'Carnival Tabanca' Viking Remix
10. 'All O Dem'
11. 'Stages'
12. 'Over The Hills'
13. 'Gi Dem Dey'

And we were just thinking that VP Records and RCA and… whoever else was ultimately involved (biggup Tarrus Riley and the eight million labels that worked on his last album) ["Love Situation", in stores now] might not want to continue to delay the forthcoming big time debut set from Trini Soca ace, Bunji Garlin, much longer as its main attraction was -- as explosive as it most certainly is -- was 'progressing extensively' (big work speak for "getting old"), apparently they were thinking the same thing as Garlin's findings on the study of "Differentology" are set to be formally presented in less than a month (two days before the worst day of the year. [that was a REALLY long sentence!] Looking through the tracklist, there's nothing here which was terribly surprising (although I did have to learn who Asap Ferg was) with the album being built upon known tunes and their remixes. Personally, however, I was rather happy that they did include one of my favourite from Garlin over the last few years, 'Touchless'. Other happy spots (because I'm happy) for me include the fully joyous 'All O' Dem', 'Stages'… basically, I'm pretty happy with the final four songs on the album and, of course, that isn't all. So while it figured to have some semblance of a big messy crossover album that predominately Reggae fans have seen throughout the years, "Differentology" doesn't seem to have been handled in that way (which boosts a point that we've made for the years - that it's surprising that Soca hasn't already taking a 'mainstream' leap forward because it is a style which requires, essentially, NOTHING in the way of conversion. It's already packaged well for wider reaching audiences), which is a good thing.

HOW GOOD?! You can reach your own conclusions when Bunji Garlin's long awaited tenth album, "Differentology" arrives in stores on August 12th.