Saturday, May 16, 2009

Coming Soon: Montego Bay by Queen Ifrica

01. T.T.P.N.C.
02. Montego Bay
03. Coconut Shell
04. Lioness On the Rise
05. Yad To the East
06. Far Away
07. Don't Sign
08. Daddy
09. Keep It To Yourself
10. Calling Africa
11. In My Dreams
12. Streets Are Bloody

Up until now, the title for Reggae Album of the Year for 2009 has been rather briefly 'debated' between the likes of Rasta Got Soul from Buju, Universal Cure from Jah Cure, Ghetto Youth-Ology from Sizzla, Ghetto Skyline from Daweh Congo and a few others. To be honest, however, a CLEAR favourite for the title has yet to emerge (although some have already passed the crown to Buju, I haven't just quite). I have, however, noticed an interesting trend developing in the past two years with regard to Reggae Album of the Year. Last year, my choice for the designation was Etana's The Strong One (which was pretty widely the choice of most I've found out) and back in 2007, an even wider champion was Sizzla's brilliant I-Space album. Both The Strong One (VP Records) and I-Space (Greensleeves) were released in the month of June (coincidence???) (yeah probably). And if you're looking for the trend to continue in 2009, the potential champion has arrived in the sophomore release from the ULTRA talented Queen Ifrica, Montego Bay via VP Records, her debut for the label. Queen Ifrica has been one of the fastest rising young artists in the Roots Reggae arena over the last decade. Growing under the unbelievably RICH wings of Tony Rebel and his Flames Productions outfit, the Queen has secured hits in just about every avenue where she has tried. This, coupled with being one of the most active in terms of both touring and recording artists in the game overall, led her to VP's doorstep as she and Flames had already been preparing to release her album last year, just as they had with her debut, the well received Fyah Muma back in 2006-2007 (review coming soon).

VP had been so eager to get the album out to the masses that they took a step which I have a HARD time recalling them doing in recent memory and released an EP for the album, Road To Mobay, containing three tracks, all of which make the final cut and amount to essentially a quarter of the albumm back in March, two and half months before the album's official release date. Besides the three tracks on the EP, I've heard another three or four (including the WICKED Yad To The East on the Springblade riddim from Truckback) and all are impressive. Of course we would have loved to see Dance Floor included on the album as well but all in all I'll give credit to VP for track selection. Since it was announced Montego Bay has been one of the most anticipated Reggae albums forthcoming and it figures to cement those expectations, especially having the promotion machine that is VP behind it. Expect a whole heap of fun things surrounding the release. Potentially the best Reggae album of 2009.

Queen Omega's Montego Bay (which may officially get the title Welcome To Montego Bay) arrives in stores and online on June 15th and 16th all over the world.

Rated Potential: 5/5 stars
VP Records
Releases on June 16, 2009

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