Of course (if I remember it), the biggest album of the bunch gets to go first and this week the biggest album just happens to be one of the biggest of the entire year as NiyoRah brings his third studio album, “Feel Your Presence” to the masses. I gave this piece only my third 5 star rating of the year thus far and I did it based on the fact that NiyoRah has established a certain style as an artist and ”Feel Your Presence“ marks an improvement strictly in the scope of his lyrical ability. It is very strong! And even if you aren’t as impressed as I am, I think that with the absolutely beautiful production (courtesy of Jamaican veteran Andrew ‘Bassie’ Campbell) and, again, just an incredibly talented artist, the album is more than just SOLID enough to grab even the most discerning of ears to a degree. I, however, am calling it GREAT. So check it.
I actually look forward to albums like this because it gives me an opportunity to act like a bit of a nerd over someone you probably haven’t heard very much about and that’s exactly what I’m about to do. 20ten is a VERY big deal in my opinion. Bryan Art is an artist (from out of St. Ann!) who I’ve been vibing for awhile and I had kind of ‘lost touch’ and hadn’t been listening much as of late, so when I saw that this album had already dropped, for me it was a pretty big ass deal. And having just gone through and skimmed it to this point (not having had the thing but a few hours really), it is BEAUTIFUL! It seems to be like an album pulled together from various singles (big tune ‘Sweeter Love’ [aka ‘Undecided’ from the High Horse Riddim] and that’s fine because the music is just really really well done and I’d recommend taking this one and maybe giving it a listen for people who maybe aren’t that much into Reggae because it definitely has a few R&B leanings. Again, with what little I’ve heard, I’m impressed and you can expect a fell review, Achis style, after Skinny burns a big ass hole in monarch. And nice name Mr. Art.
Big respect goes to Zalemmm from Bass Culture for rebringing this one to my attention as it quietly released and I . . . just kind of stopped paying attention to it and forgot to pick it up. The Country Life Riddim comes from Franz Job and company at the Country Boyz Foundation and is now released to you and I via the very . . . Via Faluma’s sub-label, Bacchanalism (who also released Job’s increasingly potent album ”Babylon Is Dead” (review coming someday) just last year). This riddim is very nice, but very very strong and it features a wonderful array of under known artists, largely from out of TnT (like the Tobago born and grown Job, himself). There is a big name as Khari Kill chimes in with the very large ‘All Over Again’ and you may also be familiar with the likes of Jah Bami, Bud Ramsay, Bumpa Green . . . Dainjamental and Malene Younglao and all of that ass (the front isn’t too bad either). Job also checks in with ‘Everyday’ and effort from his album. Definitely take a spin on this one and it’s digital so have fun picking and choosing, I’ll be getting the thing full on though!
I wasn’t even going to mention this one because when I first heard the tune (about two or three weeks ago now) I just wasn’t very impressed, but I went back and gave it another listen and suddenly my ears have WONDERFULLY opened up to it quite a bit. ’Never Give Up’ still isn’t earth shatteringly gorgeous music, but anytime you can have someone as talented as Tiwony linking up with someone as talented and popular as Konshens, it’s a pretty big deal and slowly but surely I’m seeing that the tune might be big as well (and LOVE to see Blackwarell not slowing down at all with the digital releases).
Call this one a bit unexpected, but also call it SOLID AS STONE. Of course you should already know of Al.Ta.Fa.An as one of the most reputable labels and one of my own personal favourites and it’s very random reasons like this that I look at the digital market and am just so damn thankful because you know there’s no way in hell you’d go in shop and be able to pick this one up on a CD. Thankfully you won’t have to and even though I don’t know where the hell this thing comes from (I say it like that so someone in particular will correct me), but I’m happy it exists. The Trinity & Tranquility features two riddims (duh) with a very nice group of artists over its just eleven tracks. The first six feature the Trinity riddim used for artists like Hopeton James, Elijah [Prophet], Spectacular, Prince Malachi and others; while the Tranquility, Two Sevens Clash style, feature a BIG lineup of five artists - Jah Mason, Utan Green, Kulcha Knox, Spectacular and Yasus Afari. This one is by no means MANDATORY listening, but if you just want something NICE to listen to, you’ll have this one in your sights today.
First things first: I don’t know a damn thing about Raina AT ALL, so if I make myself sound like an ass, I don’t care. I feel compelled to mention this one, initially, simply because it comes from a label in Bizzarri which is quickly becoming one of my favourites and more importantly is the label who orchestrated the best Reggae album of 2009, Lion D’s ”Burnin’ Melody”. So, if they made that album as WICKED as it most certainly was then it stands to reason, at least, that they may be able to do the same with Raina, whoever he is. This one certainly is different in that it appears to be very much done in Italian, so that probably eliminates me to any degree. HOWEVER, buried on the album at track #9 is a tune, ‘High Grade’, which just so happens to feature??? Yep. Lion D. I’ll at least be taking that tune for a spin myself and who knows maybe I’ll be enthralled by the Italian and do the same with the rest of the album, but if you do actually speak it, then I imagine that this is a pretty big deal for you (oh and Rodigan is also here and the title apparently translates to "Hit Me").
You wanna get my attention? I mean REALLY get my attention? All you need to do is, on your project (whatever it may be), get a song from Steve Machete and I’ll be interested. The song doesn’t even have to be that good and you can get . . . Oh I don’t know Lex AND Red Rat on the same riddim and I’ll ignore the fact that it isn’t 2002 and still be excited about it, simply because Steve Machete is on board! Well, that’s exactly what the fine people at Emerald Records have done with their Money Money Riddim and thankfully, the tune in question, ‘Teach The Youths’ is pretty good. Oh and it also doesn’t hurt that the riddims sounds very familiar (it actually sounds like on of LKP’s older riddims) and good and also going on the piece are the likes of Chezidek, Turbulence, Bobby Crystal & Jah Mason, Anthony B and Kulcha Knox which makes this one more than a bed for a next tune from the Machete and more of a potential buy for listeners.
May the Rasta Riddim be forever known as THE riddim which helped launch the very promising career of Cush Hunta via his big dietary hit, ‘Greens’ back in the day, but the very vibrant and uptempo riddim also had a few other nice efforts on it as well. I’ve actually had this one, as a whole, for quite some time and I’ve been enjoying some of the tunes that didn’t quite make it out too well so songs from the likes of Perfect, Teflon, Anthony B, Junior X and Macka Tree Family members Fanton Mojah and Zareb (as solo artists) also stand out for me and should do the same for you over this somewhat forgotten, but still damaging riddim.
Call this one a big sleeper in terms of compilations for the year because it is absolutely EXCELLENT to my ears! The name Firehouse has definitely become one which should (and does to hardcore heads) almost equate QUALITY when you see it attached to a project and after earlier this year doing big things with Junior Kelly’s latest creation, ”Red Pond”, their keeping things going with this solid compilation. If you just look at the cover (which is very nice) it can be somewhat deceiving because normally you come to see “______ Riddim” as a riddim album and that isn’t necessarily what this release is. Instead, ”Tranquil Riddim” is more literal, and it’s just an album full of very nice vibes (I’m almost sure that one of these things is called the Tranquil Riddim). Along for the ride Firehouse Crew has brought some of their favourite vocalists such as Lutan Fyah, Bushman (big tune called ‘Life is For Living’), Turbulence (with a love song that‘s actually pretty good), Tarrus Riley, Warrior King and of course the man himself, Sizzla Kalonji who chimes in on two combinations, including once with ‘Lack Of Love’, the big tune alongside Gentleman from the ”Another Intensity” album.
I feel like I’ve already written extensively about this thing, but I thought that I’d remention it yet again because it’s actually out and about now and you can pick it up at this very moment. Solid Frenchie label, Greenyard Records, delivers this very HEAVY piece, the ”Design Riddim Selection”, which features five vocal tracks and the clean riddim version. The composition itself is very strong (and it would’ve been a damn CRIME had they not included a version) and as for the vocals, even though it took me a minute, I’ve now warmed up to every tune here in some fashion or another. Anthony B, Mark Wonder, Burro Banton & Tony Curtis and Konshens all have a major effect on the piece . . .
Oh and did I forget to mention SARA FUCKING LUGO??? Silly me! The tune is ‘Part of My Life’, it’s excellent, if you only buy one thing off of this one (then you’re an idiot, because you should also get Mark Wonder’s tune ‘Fighting Soldiers’), it should be this lovely song. Big artist for the future and the present, Sara Lugo, and remember who told you first (and I’m going to keep reminding you!).
And lastly this week is what has to be one of the most interesting returns of 2010 (album wise), as big man LOUIE CULTURE comes back with two very interesting simultaneous releases. The first is the digital version of an album, ”The Uprising“, which is long overdue. Originally released back in 2003 for the now apparently vanished and vanquished Reggae Central imprint, the album is very hard to find these days and the fact that you can now get it (I mean RIGHT NOW) digitally is a big thing. It was very strong and featured a version of the chanter who was, in retrospect, so much so on point lyrically and the compositions he was given over which to display his skills were very fitting so you have really a hidden GEM of a release right here.
Still, however, in terms of pure interest, it’s going to be hard to outdo a . . . completely random LOUIE CULTURE LIVE ALBUM! That is exactly what we have here in ”Louie Culture: Live In London”. Again, I’m pretty ridiculous, but this is SERIOUS! A Louie Culture live album? Wh . . . I mean why? It’s almost like too much, but of course I’m not complaining. This is one definitely for the collectors as Culture pulls through hits like ‘Rudie Don’t Fear’, ‘Grab Yu Lass’, ‘Bogus Badge’ and surely ‘Ganga Lee’ and in the process just so happens to mash up London. Big big release!