Saturday, April 23, 2011

Coming Soon Vol. 34

Stephen Marley - “Revelation Part 1: The Root Of Life” [Universal]

'No Cigarette Smoking' w/Melanie Fiona

First up this week is the forthcoming second album from uber-talented Reggae superstar, Stephen Marley, ”The Revelation Part 1: The Root Of Life”. Following a 2010 where his brother, Damian, grabbed up major headlines via his combination with star Hip-Hopper, Nas, “Distant Relatives”, Stephen is set to musically outdo his younger sibling by releasing TWO albums with “Part 2” set to release later in 2011 (although I’m pretty sure it’s going to get delayed because in Reggae, things just don’t work like they should when it comes to albums . . . Ever). Regardless of its sequel and when ever (or if ever) it arrives, the first edition of "Revelation” is hotly anticipated and with guesting names such as Buju Banton, Capleton, Melanie Fiona (who is sexy!), Spragga Benz and bros. Ziggy and Damian, it’s easy to see why. Two previously released singles, ‘No Cigarette Smoking’ (with Fiona) and ‘Jah Army’ (with Jr. Gong and Buju) are both very good as well and although I’m not the biggest fan of Stephen Marley (I actually like his production work more than his vocal work), I am looking forward to this one. The major question here, however, is after winning two Reggae Grammy awards for the same damn album, "Mind Control", can Stephen be the first to win two Grammy's in THE SAME FUCKING YEAR!

Potential Rating: 4.5/5
Releases on May 24
CD + Digital

Luciano - “Rub-A-Dub Market” [Irie Vibrations]

Following a stellar 2010 which including a double-shot of big album releases in ”United States of Africa” and ”Write My Name”, Reggae legend, Luciano, is back at work with a brand new album for respected European imprint, Irie Vibrations, from out of Austria. The same label well known for having done albums for the likes of Perfect, Konshens & Delus (formerly known as ‘Sojah’) and Mark Wonder (a re-release) now turns its attention to one of the greatest to ever do it on ”Rub-A-Dub Market“, so expectations, as you can imagine, are well high. Could we have ‘Album of The Year’ potential here? I think so. I have a very good feeling about this one and with less than a couple of months until its release, I cannot wait to see if I’m right.

Potential Rating: 5/5???
Releases in June (We’ve seen three different releases dates, but all were in June)
CD + Digital

Gappy Ranks - “Thanks & Praise” [Hot Coffee Music/VP Records]

'Thanks & Praise'

This one has been bubbling for quite some time and I believe that it was set to release just earlier this month (but you knew that wasn’t happening because at the end of March even there was no tracklist and I wasn’t even sure that this was the actual cover, but apparently it is), but now it’s finally loaded and ready to go - The sophomore album from blazing UK worldwide export, Gappy Ranks, ”Thanks & Praise”. This album was made far more mandatory when, last year, Gappy dropped his debut album, ”Put The Stereo On”, which came through the well reputed Peckings Productions (for Greensleeves), which is well known as being a label which focuses on old school sets and old school music. This was a problem was because Gappy, multifaceted as he is, kind of goes between old school Reggae and . . . Almost radically new school Dancehall, so making such an album automatically sliced off half of his vibes, including his biggest hit to date, ‘Stinkin’ Rich’. Well, that tune and thirteen others (surprisingly excluding ‘Ragga Ragga’, however) appear on ”Thanks & Praise” and I’m well looking forward to this project as well (particularly a song by the name of ‘Fresh Kicks’ which sounds very impressive.

Potential Rating: 4/5
Releases on May 17
Digital (no CD I believe)
{Note: Biggup Markus for sending us a new interview from Gappy who, most interestingly, reveals that he doesn’t actually WRITE DOWN lyrics}

Lion D - “Reap What You Sow” [Bizzarri Records]


The heavy hitters continue here as Achis Reggae favourite and breakout star of 2009, Lion D, who, of course, most memorably delivered the single best album of ‘09 in ”The Burning Melody” is . . . BASICALLY back with the followup for that wonderful album, ”Reap What You Sow” for the boys at Bizzarri Records. This album is billed as a ‘Street Album’ [mixtape], but it has fifteen tracks on it no one has ever heard before and they’re all over two minutes in length so - Yeah it’s kind of an album. Listening through it, it does sound kind of free (and the tunes may be mixed together which is why they call it a ‘street album’) and less planned out, which is right up the Lion’s proverbial alley. I can’t imagine that this one will live up to the standards of the first album, but it’s 2011 and DAMN I’m happy that Lion D is rhyming again, mixtape, ‘Street Album’, full album, call it what you want, it’s sure to be exciting.

Potential Rating: 4/5
Releases on May 2

Sanchez - “Love You More” [VP Records]

So . . . I was under the impression that legendary crooner, Sanchez, had completed his infinitely long contract with industry leader, VP Records, and was on his way, like several artists these days, to releasing his own project, including a recently released EP, ”7 Wonders”. Well, either I was right and this is a random old album (and it may be, I’m not the biggest Sanchez fan in the world, but I am pretty handy with a Google search) or I was wrong and here’s a new album from Sanchez through VP, ”Love You More”. The album, as usual, is filled with copious amounts of cover tunes which people who LOVE Sanchez’ music will go crazy over. If it is new, the singer is apparently trying to make up for lost time as 2010’s pretty good ”Now & Forever” was his first in almost seven years, but I’d be pretty surprised if this one was that good.

Potential Rating: 3/5
Releases on August 9 (was delayed from May 24, but you can hear the entire thing on Juno right now)
CD + Digital

United Flavour - “Attitude” [SubPub Records]

'Attitude' w/Ward 21

Okay so, a while back, I had a reader send me an album from a group by the name of United Flavour, called ”Attitude”. The group, having members from just about everywhere, was based in the Czech Republic and, most memorably, had a delightful lead singer from Spain (whose name is apparently Carmen). The album, which is a pretty big deal, as released in Europe about a month ago and now heads for an international release in less than a month. I haven’t made it completely through this album just yet (for that, you can blame the likes of Danny I, Ziggi and all of the Socas), but as for right now, it’s definitely a very colourful set (with Carmen veering between Spanish and English continuously). ”Attitude” features a few familiar names alongside UF such as Ward 21, Konshens and even King Kalabash. I’m not saying this one is GREAT or GROUNDBREAKING or anything like that, but interesting? It has enough of that to spare, so check it out.

Potential Rating: 4/5
Releases on May 20 Internationally (Available now in Europe)

{Note: Best album cover of the year thus far???}

‘Rèspèkté-w’ by Daly (single) [Hitmaker Mizik]

And finally - coming soon this week (tomorrow actually) is a brand new single from Gwada Dancehall DJ, Daly, ‘Rèspèkté-w’. I’ve never really been the biggest fan of Daly’s, but he is clearly well talented and whenever he’s out doing new things I try to pay attention. While the tune here seems decent enough, the big news is that Daly is set to push his new album (his third, I think), ”Dalycious”, in October of this year which is a big big deal. Like I said, I’m not such a great fan of his, but one need not listen to much of Daly’s music to know that he is extremely talented.

Releases Tomorrow

In Stores Now
‘You & Me’ by Saïk (single) [Don’s Music]

Making of 'You & Me'

Speaking of brand new singles releasing digitally from supremely talented DJ’s from out of Guadeloupe with albums on the way, joining Daly on release shelves (beating him by 24 hours actually) is an artist who I DEFINITELY am a fan of as the . . . Utterly ridiculously talented Saïk makes his much much anticipated return with the brand new piping hot single, ‘You & Me’ for the equally flaming Don’s Music. There’s a lot going on here because we’re still (or at least I am) waiting for the video for the tune to drop (although I will recheck that before I post this) and, as I said, there is the matter of Saïk delivering his second album sometime later this year. If you’ve yet to REALLY tune into Saïk’s music, what I will tell you is that this song is good,. It’s very good actually. But it doesn’t even scratch into ONE TENTH of what this youth is capable of and hopefully he displays that on the forthcoming album - That he is EASILY one of the best lyricists the Dancehall has EVER seen.


‘Can’t Dis Rasta’ by Sizzla (single) [Pure Music Productions]

Another single from one of my favourites - For the second time in as many riddims, Delly Ranx & co. at Pure Music Productions have decided to release the Sizzla track on their new riddim, this time the Sweet Corn (previously the Saudi Arabia) separately from the rest of the bunch and, also for the second time in as many riddims, it seems to be a pretty good idea. Just like ‘Hotter Fire’ before it ‘Can’t Dis Rasta’ is a very good song to my most partial of ears and although something about not including it in with the rest of the tunes on this LOVELY riddim does seem somewhat strange at the very least (particularly when it is probably the best tune altogether on that riddim), good music is good music in any form and it seems Pure Music is getting the best out of Kalonji these days.

{Note: Apparently the official artist name for this tune is “Kolonji” when you search for it}

‘Jah Is Living’ featuring Lutan Fyah by Khalilah Rose (single) [Khalilah Rose]

And to wrap up the singles portion of this post - We check in with another favourite of mine who brings forth a new tune in a very interesting way. Khalilah Rose is a name which I THINK I may’ve heard before, but I couldn’t tell you very much about her aside from doing research. Anyway, she’s linked up the mightly Lutan Fyah on a GREAT new tune ‘Jah Is Living’. This is a praising tune which is just SUBLIME to my ears and right now I’m DEFINITELY thinking YOU (you reading this, right now) would love it too so pick that one up and hopefully Khalilah Rose can put out an album for us (and hopefully Lutan Fyah can do the same, it’s about time for a next one).

{Note: If you really like this (and you do) you can also find other works from Khalilah Rose online with her listed as ‘Khalilah’}

“Kaleidoscope Vol. 1” [Diwali Records]

'Red Eye' by Vybz Kartel

What a nice name and cover for this one! Wasting absolutely no time in building a catalog for his brand new label, Diwali Records, Stephen ‘Lenky’ Marsden IMMEDIATELY follows up the recently released 11th Dimension Riddim with this VERY NICE compilation set, ”Kaleidoscope Vol. 1”. In something which seems terribly overdue, this set makes usage of the WONDERFUL music that Lenky and company have been doing across the past decade or so including OF COURSE, the Diwali Riddim, the Dream Weaver, the Time Travel and others backing stars such as Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder, [General] Degree, Beenie Man, Busy Signal, Buju and Vybz Kartel who appears three times on the project (with the brilliant ‘Sen On’, ‘Visa’ and the VICIOUS ‘Red Eye’ which I had just forgotten about). Lenky’s style was ALWAYS very fun and colourful and this type of compilation which, as I said, is probably a few years overdue, is still going to be very nice which appeals to a very larger group of fans, so buy it up and send it on to your friends, they’ll love something on this one, guaranteed.

{Note: Unfortunately it seems as if “Kaleidoscope” is edited! Words like “weed“ have been dug out}

The Steady Flow Riddim [GT Muzik/Zojak Worldwide]

'Bring Back The Love' by Lutan Fyah

Next we have the very recent and very delightful riddim from GT Taylor, the wonderful Steady Flow Riddim which recently just caught my ears and is on its way to doing quite well. To my opinion, this one exists somewhere between a lover’s piece and a roots set and the somewhat varied roster of vocalists recording over it indicates that’s exactly what was in mind. Lutan Fyah heads a group with his excellent ‘Bring Back The Love’ which includes Sizzla Kalonji, Delly Ranx, Kali Blaxx, Khago, Teflon, Zamunda, Nesbeth and others (even Warrior King is on the riddim) (what happened to that man! It shouldn’t have been this way for him). Just an all around nice piece here with one or two REALLY big tunes.

{Note: I believe there’re two versions of this one around. If you have a choice, definitely pickup the one you see here, from the wonderful people @ Zojak Worldwide}

The Reality Time Riddim [World A Musik]

VETERAN of veterans Barry O’Hare delivers this new (I think it’s new, even though it does sound quite familiar) BIG SOUNDING Roots riddim, the Reality Time Riddim. This thing, as you might expect coming from O’Hare, is just CRISP! It’s just a really well done composition and the producer places it into the hands of a nice group of up and comers and lesser knowns - But on the highest end we have names such as the big voiced Raymond Wright (who was just an EXCELLENT choice for this one), Natural Black, Anthony Cruz and Achis Reggae favourite, Smiley (and also check the tune ‘Rebel Children’ by Soul4Soul).


The Story Time Riddim [Rat Trap Music]

'Story Time' by Assassin

The Story Time Riddim reached last year and it want terribly good in my opinion. If you listen to the riddim, itself, it actually sounds more than a little off-beat (if you’ve ever had a really warped out piece of vinyl record, that’s kind of how this thing sounds, but obviously intentionally so). Tunes from Bugle, Raine Seville, Voicemail and Kibaki are also largely unexceptional. So why do I mention it? Of course its because the SCATHING title track from Agent Sasco which is just not to be missed.


The Alive Riddim [Dynasty Records]

Alive Riddim Mix

Credit will go to the boys at Dynasty Records for assembling a most interesting group of artists to voice its brand new piece, the Alive Riddim, which now reaches digital compilation. First of all, when you begin to, casually, throw around names like Messenjah Selah and Winstrong on the same riddim, you’ve got my attention. When you follow them up with the likes of Lutan Fyah, Gentleman (alongside Jah Sun), Delly Ranx (who’s been on a very strong roll as of late) and Chukki Starr, you’ve got something potentially very special on your hands. It also helps if you’ve got a strong riddim as well and the Alive isn’t lacking in that department. Here, we have an excellent set and although it may not attract as much attention as some others, it may end up being one of the best riddim albums of 2011 (you should also check ‘Jah Nah Sleep’ from Izula, which is another big effort on this riddim).


Benjai - “Ah Iz Ah Trini” [JW Records]

'Trini' @ Soca Monarch 2011

Although I’m not a very big fan, I do feel inclined to mention that one of the stars of Trinidad Carnival, Benjai, has released what is, essentially, an EP set, "Ah Iz Ah Trini”. The release contains eight tracks (some of which stretch back to nearly ten years old) and is, of course, highlighted by his HUGE 2011hit, ‘Trini’, which netted him both second place in Road March (which is ridiculous) and a second place at Groovy Soca Monarch. Again, I’m not the biggest of fans, but I would think that they would be able to put together a full album for the singer, potentially now, when his popularity would seem to be the greatest. That, and the lack of a proper cover (I.e. a photoshoot) kind of gives this one a hurried together look, which (it definitely is) was meant to capitalize on his popularity and not do much of anything else.


Machel Montano - “The Return” [Ruf Rex Records]

And FINALLY (although this wasn’t as taxing as it usually is) (probably because I did it over two days) - I think I mentioned this when we did the review for the album, but it’s finally materialized and done so, gloriously! “The Return”, the latest (and 35th) album from Soca superstar, Machel Montano, has gone digital! The reports were that this was going to happen and it’s now done so in fairly short order. What does that mean? For the first time since 2008 you can get the Trinidad Road March winning tune, ’Advantage’, across the globe on places such as iTunes and Amazon. Montano caps off (at least he does right now), a very impressive group which includes Destra with ”Welcome Back”, Nadia Batson’s ”Miss B” and ”Wotless” by Kes D Band - Soca albums from big time artists (and we also saw one of Destra’s older albums as well) which are digitally available. Yes, ladies and gentlemen - Hell has officially frozen over and even before Soca Gold drops . . .

CD + Digital

“Soca Gold 2011” [VP Records]

Well barely before it does. ”Soca Gold 2011” is loaded and ready to go! And where the 2010 edition was roundly criticized for not having enough big names on board, 2011’s version shouldn’t have the same problems.


1. ‘Come To Meh’ by Iwer George
2. ‘Guh Down’ by Lil Rick

3. ‘Party Cyan Done’ by Bunji Garlin & Problem Child
4. ‘Coming Again’ by Machel Montano
5. ‘White Oak & Water’ by Rikki Jai
6. ‘Touch Road’ by Busy Signal

7. ‘Tight Spot’ by Luta

8. ‘Neighbour’ featuring Patrice Roberts by Edwin Yearwood

9. ‘Feel Like Wukkin’ by Destra

10. ‘Nuttin Undah’ by Lyrikal

11. ‘Drop It’ by Mr. Dale

12. ‘All Of Yuh Body’ by Skinny Fabulous

13. ‘Baddest Whine’ featuring Ziggy Ranks by Alison Hinds

14. ‘Mashing Up’ by Iwer George

15. ‘Nah Let Go [Soca Refix]’ by Gyptian

16. ‘Buss Ah Lime’ by KV Charles
17. ‘Soak It’ by Buffy
18. ‘Leave De Cyat’ by Sean Carruth

So we have, between Iwer George, Bunji Garlin and now Machel - Eight Soca Monarch titles. Who knows how many that is after you add Edwin Yearwood and Skinny Fabulous. I don’t how many Road March titles . . . And on top of that, Destra, Alison Hinds AND Patrice Roberts. Sure, it’s still missing THE biggest tune and THE biggest compilation should have THE biggest song, but despite lacking that (would’ve been nice to see Fay-Ann also), it’s still a pretty big lineup in my opinion and, of course, the question every year is what is going on with the ”SG” cover girl and everything looks nice for 2k11. Definitely more on this.

Releases on June 14
CD + Digital

{Note: Tracklist subject to change before release date}
{Note 2: So is the release date actually}

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