Friday, September 30, 2011

'Nice To Know Ya': A Review of "Backyard Boogie" by J-Boog

Although we pride ourselves, somewhat, as being people who routinely go out of our way to focus on a very diverse and, perhaps, lesser known group of artists, it's definitely always nice to deal with someone who is drawing a very big interest from those outside of the Reggae community occasionally. It is one thing, of course, to look at someone like a Shaggy or someone on that level and see this almost astronomical amount of attention which they get (which almost puts them into an entirely different category), but it's another when we come across an artist who, for some wholly other reason than he/she makes a brand of music which is intensely marketable and is still grabbing the eyes and ears of fans who normally wouldn't even take a spin of Reggae music. This is just fantastic (!) and is made even more so when this person or group deals in a more 'traditional' form of the music. Currently - to think of someone who would fit under such a distinction - There's definitely German Reggae star Gentleman. I don't know how many fans he's brought to our music, or just to himself, but I'd imagine that years from now he'll probably be looked at as some type of pioneer of sorts for bringing European (and then worldwide) fans to the music who latched onto him for some reason or another. And because I refuse to downplay him or his immense talents when at his best (because at his best, even though he'll likely be underrated FOREVER, by the hardcore Dancehall heads), surely we can put Sean Paul in this box, to an extent, as well. Yes, he did step well outside of the realm of Dancehall eventually, but many of his initial international hits like 'Gimme Di Light', 'Get Busy' and 'Like Glue', were undiluted at the time and they probably sold a lot of records for Elephant Man, Wayne Wonder (who also could be included here . . . And just were I guess) and the likes and who knows what large number of fans are still sticking around (listening to this bullshit) who jumped on board during that era. Only time will tell if the individual with whom I am absolutely about to enjoy writing about today will someday be able to fit into a lofty role such as those, but if the early buzzes are any indication - the most unfortunate fans of the world who don't typically accept that Reggae is King, Queen and everything in between when it comes to music, are paying attention to J-Boog.


Sweet singer. I don't know how you can pick a name as original as "J-Boog" and then have a problem with . . . Originality. Boog apparently shares a name with a former member of Pop group, B2K, which is just strange, so perhaps (wrong) many of the people who seem have been taking an interest in his music have been under the impression that he is, in fact, the other J-Boog (and, upon further research, also using the moniker is an extremely angry Hip-Hopper). OR (right) they've been musically hypnotized and seduced by one of the most BLAZING Reggae artists currently on the scene, the California born and Hawaiian musically grown, J Boog. While I could offer you a few names who have been on similar rolls over the past year or so, I don't think that I could give you one who has attracted such a great deal of attention as Boog. Why is that? Maybe I'm just dumb (there's always that) or maybe it has something to do with the fact that J-Boog's music, when at its best, as it has been as of late, is so easily transferable to fans of R&B, Pop and other more mainstream-centric genres. On top of that is the actuality that Reggae music is just so strong and when you can place it into the proper channels or proper 'package' for the masses to enjoy - Surely it will never fail. J-Boog, much like Gentleman has been very interesting because, along with creating that more widespread level of awareness from fans, he’s also done it within the more typical Reggae communities, which is why I’m now writing about him and you're now reading about him. A good example of that is just how active he's been for more usual producers, outside of his own homebase, Washhouse Hawaii imprint. He's recorded for the likes of Special Delivery, The Bombist (aren't they kind of the same thing?), earlier this year he vibed for Dean Fraser on VP's "We Remember Gregory Isaacs" set and there's also the producer with whom he'll likely most be associated with for a very long time, the greatest all-around producer of Reggae music from this era and the one before it, Don Corleon (more on him in a second).

J-Boog digital releases

And his music hasn’t suffered in quality at all, obviously. Instead it's risen to the point where the demand for a new album has come to critical and Boog and Wash House hasn't disappointed with the delivery of his much anticipated brand new project, "Backyard Boogie". Boog's first album, "Hear Me Roar" also did quite well, reportedly (even though it featured a remake of Marlon Asher's destructive 'Ganja Farmer' - please . . . No one else try to remake that tune, it was positively perfect as it was - Let's just leave it alone now) and set him out on a course which finds him now bringing one of the most anticipated sets of a year four years on from its own. So, with anticipation at the proverbial 'fevered pitch', can Boog deliver? Absolutely. There're many more questions here, at least for me, but with the streak of magic that he's been on as of late, you could tell that this album was going to be a really big deal - in terms of quality - whenever it reached and it doesn't fail to impress. It's also really good to acknowledge the timing on the release of this set. Warrior King currently has a big album out, soon I Wayne will join him, but there isn't anything in the way of something which would 'compete' with this album, which would explain why it reportedly and IMMEDIATELY skyrocketed to the top a few different Reggae album charts. What would explain just how CRISP of a beautiful Lover’s Rock/Cultural album this proves to be? A few things - Let's dig in.


Largely based on his biggest hit to date (which we'll deal with shortly), J-Boog has generally been vocally compared to well esteemed Jamaican veteran musician, Glen Washington and while that remains the obvious connection to make (and the two almost HAVE to do a combination at some point), listening to the full album, I'm also inclined to say that Boog's style is a bit more of an orphan than many, initially, gave him credit for. I hear quite a few different artists in his delivery (including one who features on this set) and it's definitely one which he has made his own. He freshness is on full and vivid display throughout his sparkling new sophomore album release, "Backyard Boogie" for Wash House Music. To get us up and going, Boog gives us the eight-billionth tune called 'Give Thanks'. Title notwithstanding (or whatever), the song is BIG and is just a SMART way to begin the album, even though it isn't the type of song which dominates on the album. What it does is to introduce is to set things in a more typical Reggae direction and it also gives a pretty nice introduction to the vocalist and some of his own trials and tribulations and what, exactly, he's giving thanks for. It proves to be one of the album's finest and a nice move by Boog and company. Next in is the first of the album's six combinations, the wonderfully crawling 'Watch & Learn' which features Jacob Hemphill who is the lead singer of SOJA (yes, I did type 'SOCA' three times before I got that right). I'm not at all a fan of Hemphill's but maybe I need to do something about that because he makes an excellent appearance on this tune which amounts to a very straight-forward social commentary and just a strikingly well done track. There's not much in the way of frills and flash, but extremely precise and very effective as well (and I do want to make the point that I'm not trying to call this one BORING, because it certainly is not). Also not uninteresting is one of the genuine highlights during this boogie as Boog hails a Taxi (literally) on 'Hawaiian Pakalolo'. The tune features Jah Maoli (who I have heard of) and Spawnbreezie (who I have not) and I believe it, originally, was Maoli's track and is made much better with the new addition. Very cool and laid back herbalist tune which just works so nicely not only with the styles here, but also with the style of the album.

'Every Little Thing' w/Fiji

Perhaps as yet another statement as to just how far he's come, the names that join J-Boog on "Backyard Boogie" are just outstanding (much like??? Gentleman). Besides the previously mentioned lights (and I know SOJA is always more popular than I give them credit for being - biggup Zojak), also on board is Reggae star Tarrus Riley for the sterling 'She Give Me Lovin'. Riley was who I alluded to earlier as being someone whose vocal approach I hear a bit of in Boog's own style and the two on the same track make a wonderful duo. This tune, given just how BIG and VIBRANT that the sound is, is probably a future single for the album and you should well expect it to mine gold with such an accurate and positively destructive combination of talents. Also joining is Peetah Morgan from the Morgan family (on what is apparently a tune for Dadason, which is the Morgan's own label), who chimes in on the jovial 'Sunshine Girl'. The obvious draw here is the sound of the tune, but I think it actually gets even better as it goes a long a bit, so let it 'spread' before casting your final judgment. The multi-talented Swede, Million Stylez, links with Boog on the infectious 'Replay'. What I'll say about this one is that, besides being catchy (and it is), it's a very clever tune, as I'll go into further in briefly, Boog proves himself throughout the album to be more of a wordsmith than he's ever been given credit for being before and such a quality with Stylez is basically his specialty. And lastly (for real), oft-collaborator, Fiji, helps add to the spices on the album's final effort the previous single, 'Every Little Thing'. Fiji actually appeared on three different tracks on "Hear Me Roar" and he’d have to be back on this tune which he dominates in my opinion for the new album as well (and Fiji is exactly the type of artist one could expect to benefit from Boog's great successes). All in all, you see big names turn out for this album and curiously not included is 'Got To Be Strong', another combination with Richie Spice.

'Let's Do It Again'

The 'major' tune here finds J-Boog all on his own . . . With the help of the world's greatest as Don Corleon lends his brilliant Major Riddim to back one of the best pieces of Lover's Rock that you'll find from anyone from the turn of the century or so, the ridiculously popular (and deservedly so) 'Let's Do It Again'.

“Nice to nice to know ya
Let’s do it again -
How we did it on a one-night stand
Girl I wanna be more than a friend to ya

This isn’t my first rendezvous in a relationship
Well rounded - Graduated with love certificate
She wanna lover, a lover I be -
Stimulate her body and mentally
No fuss, mi straight up, mi nah lie
Use up mi shoulder if you waan cry
My love it’s not like them other guys
Fell sorry for who sign up cuz mi ah win first prize!”

It's probably one of the best love songs I've ever heard, a DOMINATE one from this generation and a clear future classic as well. Do I have to say it's the best song on this album? It is.

The tune isn't the only solo track on the album worth paying attention to. Besides the opener, Boog does big damage on his own. Of the remaining tracks, manages to supremely impress on a few different tracks. The first is another witty piece in previous single, 'Mystery', which finds the singer lamenting his relationship with a woman who can seemingly only return his affections when she's accompanied by a bit of Dutch courage.

“My baby, she’s a mystery
She only love me when she’s tipsy -
When we sipping on Tennessee Whiskey
That’s the only time that I feel like that she miss me
And when she sober again, she ah diss me!

Sober, acting like she don’t wanna come over
Pulling in me driveway in a Rover
Driving me so crazy like a chauffeur
Then she start fi drop her head back on mi shoulder”

The Shane Brown vibed 'Let Me Know' is one SMOOOOOOTH track and although it isn't as colourful as 'Let's Do It Again', it should resonate with much of the same crowd and should it be afforded the opportunity, I think that it could do well in R&B circles as well. Very strong tune and one which takes full advantage of Boog’s talents. Also check 'Angel' which may be destined to be lost in the shuffle to a degree, but is a tune which I instantly took an interest in. It's another tune which should grab that same crowd and although it’s a bit slower than both of the two previously mentioned tracks, it’s a very romantic and kind of 'slick' piece. I'd love to hear an instrumental of this one (if I haven't already) because that riddim is gorgeous and quietly, one of the better on the whole of the album and the same could be said of the tune which it supports. Building on that same vibe is 'Take It Slow' ("you got me ready to tap out like a fighter") (biggup BJ Penn), which is basically a Reggae-fied R&B tune and a damn good example of one.

Beginning the final stretch of tunes on the album is the only song here which didn’t reach me on some level, the acoustic piece, 'Crazy', which I'm still working with, but it makes room for what is one of my favourites, 'Wolves'. When I first heard this song, with its kind of frantic delivery, my ears just jumped because I was probably going to say as a critique of the album that it could use a bit more in the way of BITE were it not present and here it is a very Junior Kelly-esque HEAVY manner. Boog jumps in with a bit of urgency and anger in his voice to deliver a BIG social commentary and I just love the overall mood of the song. Adding to it is how the riddim continues well over a minute after the tune's final vocals and I think I just made this one my new second favourite song on the album. 'Waste of Time' is another nice piece for the album which just sounds EXCELLENT (definitely check that one out) and lastly is the somewhat out of place, but no less impact, 'Let It Blaze'. The song, which is one dealing with ganja and the persecution of it.

“Nah no vibes when the high grade nah bun
And it no nice when police lock down the sun
It’s like we’re living in Alcatraz everyday
With dem overload of stress pon di brain
Just let us stay, let us stay, let us stay blazin high grade everyday!
And let us stay, let us stay playing Roots Reggae music always!”

Really LOVE this song and it is, ostensibly, somewhat of a surprise coming from J-Boog, but by its end it more than situates itself very well in what you'll find on the majority of the album. The excellent album.

Overall, there're so many different directions I can go in here but speaking about the music what I can say about "Backyard Boogie" is that it WELL has a great deal of 'star quality' to it. I don’t know J-Boog, but he doesn't seem like the most outgoing of individuals, but on the album, he's personable, he has a certain fire about him. Definitely that has something to do with the sound of the album. I think that I can go ahead and say that this album is probably amongst the most SONICALLY pleasing that I've heard in Reggae music this year. It sounds great! As far as what it can do - Boog is a rarity for many different reasons. One being that he is of Samoan descent and he's also greatly associated with Hawaiian Reggae music (I didn't call him Hawaiian!) (apparently people get angry about that) (even when I don't actually do it) (I digress), which makes him a potential hotbed of inspiration. Hawaii, of course, isn't short on Reggae musicians, but one of this magnitude and potential magnitude can definitely inspire a great deal of talented up and comers and the same of Samoans. So, maybe years from now, we’ll be looking at a whole heap of names who grew up vibing J-Boog. I'm all grown (and crazy) and I'm still inspired to drop three thousand words one of the most interesting, popular and probably best albums of 2011. Excellent.

Rated: 4.5/5
Wash House Music/Ingrooves
CD + Digital

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Completely Random Lyrics: 'Persistence' by Norris Man

Have to biggup one of my favourite readers, LeClaire, for just randomly (and announcing it so, as randomly) launching into a flowing stream of thought on a message in regards to one of the greatest songs of all time, 'Persistence', by Norris Man. His point (or one of them, at least) was that the tune was one of the greatest lyrical creations that he'd ever heard, so I thought that it'd be good for a look and you know what? Of course he has an excellent point. As I always say: Even if you know the lyrics to a tune like you know your Mother's name (Hey Mama!) (Hi Mama!) - It's best if you can actually see them written in front of you - That way you can appreciate the detail (why did it just take my like four tries to spell 'detail' correctly???) and this a mighty fine example of why that is, in my opinion. POWERFUL tune and you already know that from . . . a decade ago, but lyrically I think this one is STILL a bit underrated, like almost everything amazing thing Norris Man has done at his best. So have a look at and listen to 'Persistence' and definitely expect Norris Man to be the subject of a Lyrics! feature . . . Whenever I get to it (probably later today or yesterday - Whenever this gets posted). LeClaire biggup yourself.

"Well I & I seh di gideon rough ya know
I & I nah get di fight still
Perseverance -

Persistence is to try
Throughout this precious time -
You can't give up the fight
Jah is the way to life!
All when - Yuh down and in distress
Never mek babylon know yah weakness
All when - Yuh burden is di heaviest
Never mek dem know

Mi seh persistence is to try
Throughout this precious time -
You can't give up the fight
Jah is the way to life!
All when - Yuh down and in distress
Never mek babylon know yah weakness
All when - Yuh burden is di heaviest
Never mek dem know

Mi seh dem system a fraud
Di struggle it no easy
Dung a dutty ya, it harrd
Wi nah go sell out wi soul fi get no round of applause
Positive movements - not a negative thought, tell dem clean inna dem heart
Things what they do, is not what we do
Things what they say, is not what we say
Things what they preach, is not what we preach
Mi seal Jah trinity, some tek di mark of di beast

Persistence is to try
Throughout this precious time -
You can't give up the fight
Jah is the way to life!
All when - Yuh down and in distress
Never mek babylon know yah weakness
All when - Yuh burden is di heaviest
Never let dem know

It tek persistence fi put through yah work
Firm up yuhself, seek salvation first
If Jah seh a blessing, how heathen fi seh curse?
Renegade waan field marshall di earth
Caan skylark pon street and lurk
Man fi militant and no stop from search
Know before you defile yourself with ya works
Purge out yah system first

Persistence is to try
Throughout this precious time -
You can't give up the fight
Jah is the way to life!
All when - Yuh down and in distress
Never mek babylon know yah weakness
All when - Yuh burden is di heaviest
Never mek dem know

Persistence is to try
Throughout this precious time -
You can't give up the fight
Jah is the way to life!
All when - Yuh down and in distress
Never mek babylon know yah weakness
All when - Yuh burden is di heaviest
Never mek dem know

Mi sing, morning and noon -
Evening and dawning -
Giving Jah praises
Seh when nuttin nah gwan an mi belly start yawning -
Still give Jah praises
With all di burden on yuh shouldah!
Rasta yah deh yah so fi conqah!
Lord lord

Persistence is to try
Throughout this precious time -
You can't give up the fight
Jah is the way to life!
All when - Yuh down and in distress
Never mek babylon know yah weakness
All when - Yuh burden is di heaviest
Never mek dem know

Persistence is to try
Throughout this precious time -
You can't give up the fight
Jah is the way to life!
All when - Yuh down and in distress
Never mek babylon know yah weakness
All when - Yuh burden is di heaviest
Never mek dem know

Persistence is to try
Throughout this precious time -
You can't give up the fight
Jah is the way to life!
All when - Yuh down and in distress
Never mek babylon know yah weakness
All when - Yuh burden is di heaviest
Never mek lem know . . . "

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"360 Turn": A Review of "Tell Me How Me Sound" by Warrior King

Years from now, people like you and I - by then intolerably bitter old men and women - Will sit around and talk about our old favourite artists. We'll overrate each and every one of them and we'll likely say a lot of stupid things, but it will be fun. At such time, as opposed to now, obviously we'll have the gift of time having passed, so it will be much easier to form opinions on artists as a whole, but that certainly doesn't mean that we can’t do that now because there’re are some VERY interesting stories playing out in Reggae music presently which figure to get only more and more interesting over time. We can deal with the ostensibly interesting, such as The Marleys, Shaggy and Sean Paul, or we can look at the more 'familiar' and those not reaching bounds where the music typically does not go (and that statement, by itself, will have changed by this future point). We could look at Sizzla and talk about how he (not really) released four thousand albums in about two weeks and all of them were classics. There's Vaughn Benjamin - How it was subsequently proven that there were, in fact, five Vaughn Benjamin's - the only semi-fitting explanation for recording schedule and style. And then there's someone like Warrior King. I know that you're probably thinking that is a strange leap I just made (but I have to get this review started somehow, don't I?), but really it’s a fitting one. By the time he's an old man, Warrior King's career will have probably seen him experiencing just about everything Reggae music, as an occupation, has to offer.

"Virtuous Woman" [2002] & "Hold The Faith" [2005]

From the bottom to the top. I won't dare bother recapping the deep details of the 'Virtuous Woman' years or Warrior King's initial rise to prominence, but let's just say that they existed (and they were very, very fun and productive). It's after those days where his story gets very interesting, because up and coming Reggae artists making a name for themselves isn't exactly rare. WK's second album, "Hold The Faith", arrived in 2005 and that fulfilled/ended (in one way or another) his contractual obligations with VP Records and that was that. That was also, for the most part, the end of not only his run as one of the most successful young lights on the Roots scene, but also his seemingly once a formality journey near the top of Roots Reggae altogether. And stuff just seemed to slow down altogether for him. His spot wasn’t exactly rare, but he hadn't been the most active anyway and while he definitely maintained a touring schedule, I’m having a really difficult time thinking of substantial material Warrior King may've scored between the years of 2006 and 2008 (admittedly, I'm not a very smart person, however, so he may have released several dozen #1's in the period). And a great deal of this happened just . . . Because. The current line of thought is that the arrival of such powerful names as Tarrus Riley, Etana and others, kind of made things limited for others may apply in the case of Warrior King, but I don't think that was it. Also, his not being in the spotlight was just bad for Reggae, in my opinion, because through several HUGE tunes including his aforementioned early hit and 'Power To Chant', 'Breath of Fresh Air' and others, it was clear that he was extremely talented and potentially an even bigger star for the music.

Warrior King quietly returned with an album, his third, in 2009 - the digital-only and somewhat strange, "Love is In The Air" for Roots Warrior Records. That album, although pretty good (more on that later), was just kind of thrown together and it's kind of become 'lost' to an extent (although you can still buy it) (biggup Zojak) and it didn't even have a proper cover (although I did like the cover! Hey Susan!). The fact, however, that the album, and obviously the work that went into it, did exist was a good thing - Warrior King was back, albeit within a much much lower profile than previously established. Fast forward a couple of years (almost to the day, two years ago today I wrote that review) and he's apparently managed to get things back in order and as they should be for an artist of his talents because in the past few months and weeks, his brand new album, "Tell Me How Me Sound", has been one of the most discussed and publicized around. The album comes from Tad's Records who, to give credit where its due, does do a good job in promoting their projects and with the reputation of that company (which is somewhat changing - They have release quite a bit of Vybz Kartel’s recent output) of being one dealing with mainly Roots and Lover's Rock pieces, it's a very good fit to my opinion. An even better fit is the link with the album's producer, seriously esteemed veteran, Colin 'Bulby' York. The King made his named, predominately on Calibud produced sets and with Bulby on the boards, you're getting another intensely experienced and talented maestro and, even knowing that fact, it makes me more excited to dive into this one on a musical level. I should also touch again on the talk surrounding this album because it’s been plenty. There're interviews and performances and a video and big articles surrounding the album and just a lot of hype and, scanning over Reggae right now, there really isn't an album out there with a similar buzz at this exact moment (although I Wayne figures to take a share of that attention in a couple of weeks). So Warrior King is back in full! NOW! What would be most excellent is if he could manage to deliver an album which fulfills on not only the hype at the moment, but the IMMENSE potential he’s shown in his career. Does he? Yeah - no problem.

"Love Is In The Air" [2009]

Even before I got a full look at the completed tracklist for this album I'd noticed one thing which didn’t surprise me very much and while I'm not going to call it a GOOD thing, I will say that it was probably a pretty good idea on the nineteen track album. As I said, Warrior King's previous album, "Love Is In The Air" has become somewhat of a lost album and maybe that’s because his new album, "Tell Me How Me Sound", ate it - or half of it. Five (by my count) of its predecessor's ten tracks appear on the album. There’s 'Love Is In the Air', 'Wanna Give You Love', 'Wanting You', 'I’m Cold' and 'Girl'. To my opinion the final two of that list are the lasting tunes from that album and are amongst the very best here, although haven't COMPLETELY lost taste for any of them just yet ('Wanting You' may be on its last legs with me, however). I think that the album would have been just fine at fourteen tracks, but the fact that they drew on these songs isn't completely surprising (and reportedly, this album has been in the works for years, so including them may have been part of the original plan) and, as I said, probably a pretty good idea.

'Wanna Give You Love'

The new album surrounding those tunes definitely don’t make them seem out of place. Things are primarily Lover's Rock and Roots Reggae, which is what we’ve come to expect from WK over the years. Such a fine accompanying selection is the album's actual opener, 'Empress'. SWEET tune! The artist and even the word 'empress' together bring memories of a classic tune, 'Empress So Divine', and while this track may not be on those nearly unapproachable levels, it well sets the project out on a fine course and remains one of the real highlights here by album's end. 'I'm In Love With You' is a decent tune with the lovely old school vibes, but it definitely wasn't one of my favourites on the album on the first listen. It is growing on me just a bit these days, however. The next new tune, 'Jah Is The Only One' in is the one which has been receiving the big push and it's easy to see why, that song is HUGE!

"Jah Jah is the only one for I!
Jah Jah is the only one so high!"

That is lasting sentiment that I take from the entire album. It is a MIGHTY track and the fact that it's gotten so much attention is a very good thing as it now resides amongst the absolute very best material WK has ever done. The tune immediately following that big song is another one of the album's greatest, 'Mom & Dad'. When I first heard this song I instantly thought that it would have been the type of vibes that I would've imagined Warrior King to be singing at some point. It's not a deviation at all from his prior work and it is exceptionally strong while maintaining the kind of familial approach for his best days.

"My parents never leave I alone
Good and bad times - they were always around

My Mama felt the pain, but she never took abortion all the same
My Papa felt the strain, but he never boarded a runaway train"

'Melody [Tell Me How Me Sound]' is one of the main attractions (for obvious reasons) and it also probably gives a better timeframe for the album. Built over Bulby's cut of the Midnight Hour Riddim, the tune reached three or four years back and would have likely been WK's biggest release from the aforementioned 2006-'08 time period. For it to be the title track of this album, probably gives an indication of just how long this one has been in the works. Nevertheless, regardless of its age or intentions, it is a sterling track and one really giving praises to the music itself, as well as its social and cultural impact - Just how NECESSARY music has become in the world for the masses - and he's clearly right! The album's obligatory herbalist track, 'Oh What A Feeling', is another familiar drop, this one coming over the Ashanti Warrior Riddim from Maximum Sound (gorgeous riddim). This one is pretty straight forward, but a big tune still and one on a riddim which definitely wasn't lacking in big efforts. Next we find WK utilizing the General Penitentiary Riddim for the praising tune, 'Oh Yeah!'. I don't think that I even remember this song at all so this spin may very well have been my first taste of it and I'm impressed. It is a bit HEAVIER (as is everything on that riddim) than WK's usual big pieces, but I would say that this song, in particular, may just be one of the strongest lyrical efforts on the whole of "Tell Me How Me Sound" and it's also a very LARGE sounding tune (again, just like most of the things on that riddim).

"Many are called but the chosen are only few
And you can know them by the works and the things they do
What kinda message a dem ah send?
Nuff a dem a wolf and ah pretend dem ah pretend

I no trust none a dem Emperor Selassie ahgo bun di whole a dem!"

Warrior King moves from 'strength to strength' as, on the very next tune, he once again taps a classic riddim. This time he may very well grab THE definition of "classic" as backing another praising track, 'Blessing' is the Natural Mystic Riddim. The same cut supports Sizzla CLASSIC 'Really & Truly' and this is another fine piece for the riddim (which I don't think that I remember hearing). In the Steely & Clevie produced 'Nah Tell Nuh Lie', WK and co. may very well have a hit on their hands. This is my second favourite tune on the album which I hadn’t previously heard (currently I’m LOVING 'Girl') and I’m thinking that I won't be alone in my appreciation of it AT ALL!

"They're spreading rumours, spreading rumours, spreading rumours, spreading rumours -
Seh 'Jah dead and gone'

But I saw HIM in my vision last night

So I know everything is alright
HE told me that we all should unite
For Jah Jah is still around

Jah conquer death, so don't forget -

Rastafari is bigger than the world wide internet
HE has the world at his feet All have to bow, the devil and the beast"

As "Tell Me How Me Sound" winds down, it saves a few of its headliners for its final stretch. Surely the one which will receive the most attention of them all is 'I Can See It' [aka 'Love The Way'] which features Warrior King alongside Reggae legend, Barrington Levy. The song is well catchy and it will probably, at some point, get its opportunity to shine and I suspect it will do very well with the masses. 'Sweet Empress' is another cool piece of Lover's Rock and a previous single which I do recall. Unlike the tune which precedes it, this one won’t get a great deal of attention, I believe, but that's too bad because, quietly, it may be one of the better songs here of its type. And the remaining three tracks are very interesting because they're all social commentaries and excellent, for the most part. The first of the trio, 'System Is Crazy' is my personal favourite by the slimmest of margins, but that certainly isn’t to say that either 'What A Gwaan' or the album’s actual closer, 'Where Colour is An Issue' are bad tunes because they're all actually similar in terms of quality. Obviously the last of the three, with its title, is probably going to get more attention and what you’ll find there is WK examining the remaining issues of racism and the extensions (direct and indirect) of that problem. What I really like about that tune, especially, is how broad it is. From the title you expect a one thing and you get that, but he also goes on to show how racism relates to poverty and crime and corruption as well, which is a very adroit and sagacious lyrical leap on which to end an album.

Warrior King

Overall, I should say that I now, having dug into the album for the sake of this review, have a slightly greater appreciation for "Tell Me How Me Sound" than I did after spinning through it from before. I wouldn't place it on the level of his first album (which was really just an album full of hits and is a great candidate to be the next 'modern classic' feature we do), but it's fairly comparable to "Hold The Faith" in my opinion. It should be said that a great deal of it comes from the years of 2007 and 2008, so if you didn't know, THIS is what he was up to apparently! Most of these songs didn't receive an opportunity to do well, but they come in a time not too far removed from his best time so, you would expect (and accurately so) them to be of a similar quality and that's what turns out to be the case. Hopefully the album does well and we can See Warrior King return to one of the higher levels of prominence in the music because the talent is still well present, it never left him, and again, having someone so utterly talented is just good for the music. So, while it's taken entirely and disturbingly too long - The King is back where he belongs. Well done.

Rated: 4.15/5
Tad's Records
CD + Digital

Warrior King

Warrior King @ Facebook

Review #331

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fittest of The Fittest: Ranking The Modern Classics

One of our main goals with this blog was really to publicize and attract attention towards MODERN Reggae music. The genre is one which, at least on the more ‘mainstream’ scale is largely looked at in reverse, with the majority of the eyes focused on a period which is no longer here. That is just unacceptable when, at least in my opinion, in terms of quantity we now have more talented people participating in the music than ever before and from places in the world which, historically, have not been hotbeds for our wonderful music. One of the largest ways we’ve tried to do this was through a series called “Modern Classics”. What this running feature does is to attempt to shed even more light and bring focus onto some of the greatest albums of the modern era [see note]. Some of these albums are well known and well regarded while others are not. Others still, are the work of a vast amount of personal opinion; however, what they all, at least ostensibly, share in common is that they show Reggae in the modern era in a very good way. So, having now reached a bit of a landmark, with the series having recently reached #30, I thought that it would be very interesting to try to rank some of the greatest albums that I’ve ever heard amongst themselves. Thus, I submit for your approval - Fittest of The Fittest: Ranking The Modern Classics.

{Note: The “modern era” is defined as the period beginning after the end of 2000 and extending to the beginning of the previous year (in this case, 2010). Obviously, there are two exceptions to the latter stipulation on this list}
{Note 2: 30 entries. How long did this take? Still the maddest!}
{Note 3: Links to original articles are attached to each album's titles}
{Note 4: As usual, biggup Bredz}

#30. "Join Us" by Turbulence [No Doubt Records - 2003]

Mine! The only concession that I will make in the case of this album, even all of these years later, is that it isn't as good as any other that you'll find on this list. HOWEVER, to my ears, it was a great album. Why exactly? The lasting impression that I have from Turbulence's second best album ever, "Join Us", these days is that - If he never writes an autobiography (and he won't), this album would have served that purpose. You can follow along here on tunes like the title track, 'Turbulence', 'Based on A True Story' and others (with a few turns as well) and you just get such a powerful feel of what lead Turbulence to that stage of his career and his life. Surely my own feelings have changed about his music from that time and, who knows, they may change dramatically once again, but no matter how I may feel Turbulence has taken his career in the time since, I'll likely never stop defending this wonderfully PERSONAL album.

#29. "Flame On" by Machel Montano [Ruf Rex Productions - 2008]

The Escape. To date, "Flame On" by Trinidad Soca superstar, Machel Montano, is the only Soca album that we've covered in this series and I could probably continue to write it for several more years before I'd ever find another album from the colourful genre from which I could make a case for calling a 'classic' (actually, I think the next likely candidate would be another Montano album, "Book of Angels"). What was so special here was just that the album was the musical embodiment of the GORGEOUS MADNESS, the CHAOS, the INTENSITY which, at least for me, makes this music the intoxicating mental release that it was. 'Unconditional', 'Blazin D Trail', of course 'Rollin' w/Patrice Roberts . . . I could really name you the entire album. As a whole, I don't know that I've yet to encounter a Soca album which just elevates the listener like this one. When you want to lose your mind, simply press Play.

#28. "Real Rebels Can't Die" by Nereus Joseph [Sirius Records - 2009]

The Blueprint Vol. 1. Along with one other album that you’ll find on this list (thus the "Vol. 1"), I can point to "Real Rebels Can't Die" by Lucian born/UK based singer, Nereus Joseph as a straight forward winner of a HUGE Roots Reggae album. If you want to make good Reggae music in 2011, this is the type of album that I’m going to recommend you listen to prior to preceding. And I don't want to make it seem as if the album wasn't spectacular and compelling, because it certainly was in both instances. It should also be said that with a song with a title like 'Fundamental Principles of Life', "Real Rebels Can't Die" also stands as one of the most INTELLIGENT albums I've ever heard.

#27. "The Burnin Melody" by Lion D [Bizzarri Records - 2009]

Surge. Who is Lion D??? What business had he in giving Reggae a MIGHTY boost in 2009 via delivering my choice as the year's finest album altogether, "The Burnin Melody"? While I'm almost sure that this album had no bigger cheerleader than yours truly, in retrospect, and I'm still convinced. While you won't see this one soaring high on this list, that's just a matter of time going by in my opinion because I can say that very rarely in the modern era of Reggae music have we seen anyone with the NATURAL talent for the music than the wonderfully 'rough around the edges' and almost completely unpolished Lion D.

#26. "Back To Africa" by Harry Mo [Yellow Hill Music - 2008]

The Blueprint Vol. 2. Just as is the case with #28 on this list, "Back To Africa" by BIG Dominican born singer, Harry Mo, is another sterling example of just how powerful straight forward Modern Roots Reggae music can be when done at its highest level. Along with Lion D and one other name no this list, Harry Mo's is probably the most surprising entrant; however, you definitely shouldn't let his lack of star power keep you from checking out this master class of an album. The remaining sentiment here, at least for me, is just a mental KICK of sorts. If you need a very quick and strong mental upliftment - Travel "Back To Africa" courtesy of the magnificent Harry Mo.

#25. "Jah Guidance" by Batch [Carrion Brookes Production - 2005]

Rising. Having just dealt with this one a few days back - I won't get into it too much (again), but what I will say is that if it isn't obvious just how much my taste for "Jah Guidance" (literally and figuratively) from Ras Batch is growing, you can notice just how many fine projects I placed it ahead of and around. 2009's Album of The Year, two of the most SOLID entries that you’ll find on this list, one of my personal favourites and arguably the best Soca album I've ever heard. Yeah - It's that good.

#24. "Never Give Up" by Jah Mason [On The Corner - 2003]

Gideon start. Here was another album which I became one of the biggest supporters of in the face of, ostensibly, much more powerful material. To this day, I can look at higher regarded albums by the masses from Jah Mason such as "Most Royal", "Wheat & Tears" and others and to me, while those were clearly big projects, they just didn't have that kind of DOMINANT scope which was to be found on this MASSIVE album, "Never Give Up". This release featured a wide range of emotions of sentiments and messages, but what really set it apart for me was this ever present commitment to the moment. What I mean is that - I'm WELL under the impression that Mason fully realized that he had something special on this one, himself, and when he finished it must’ve been clear to everyone involved. Of course, that’s just my opinion though . . .

#23. "Long Journey" by Naptali [Oneness Records - 2010]

Dazzle me. Once again I'll find myself making, perhaps, the largest case to be made for a particular album in this case. I heard simply no more complete and well done album all of last year than the debut album from Naptali The Great - "Long Journey". Much like the first entry on this list, I now look at this piece as being very personal and autobiographical, but for me its reach extends well beyond being a comprehensive introduction to Naptali (and Sara Lugo). What it proves to be, while not being as 'sure' as some of the other titles here, is such a fulfilling and PLEASING set and Naptali shows the confidence and conviction of an artist well beyond his years.

#22. "Coming Home" by Ras Shiloh [VP Records - 2007]

The volume. I've yet to finish with Ras Shiloh - He still has two amazing albums which should be added to this series at some point, but I chose to begin with what is probably my favourite of the trio, "Coming Home" because . . . Well like I just said, it's my favourite of them all. This album is just musical NOURISHMENT! The greatest highlight of the Bobby Digital produced piece comes in the form of one of the single best tunes Shiloh has done in his most underrated career, the MAMMOTH 'Volume of The Book' ("under a cool meditation while the whole Earth shook"), but the album’s sing a mighty 'backup' on one of the finest albums from the turn of the century.

#21. "Rising" by Turbulence [VP Records - 2001]

Remember. It's pretty damn depressing with an artist who is as CLEARLY talented as Turbulence (and is still active and only thirty-one years old) to say that there is no way he will EVER equal the work done on an album which is only a few weeks away from being a decade old, but that is just as clearly the case. The Xterminator helmed "Rising" is an album which gets better and better on every listen these days and it almost seems, even, like a 'greatest hits' piece from the talented vocalist. 'Give Her Weh She Want', 'Make Sure She Clean', 'Friends Like These', 'Mamma Is Here', 'Facts of Life', 'Love Can Make A Difference' and a whole heap of others are STILL some of the very best work on singles that he's ever done and things figure to remain that way for a very long time (EVER).

#20. "My Hope" by Anthony B [Minor 5, Flat 7 - 2005]

My delight. The greatest thing Minor 5, Flat 7 ever did for the world (and the label did a lot in its prime - giving credit where its due) also happens to be my choice as Anthony B's best album in . . . a REALLY REALLY long time (when did "Universal Struggle" come out?), "My Hope". I go up and down in my appreciation for this one, but the last time I picked it up, I had absolutely no complaints at all. The album wasn’t necessarily a 'feel good' experience, but it kind of was because somewhere in the middle of it you literally reach a point where Anthony B can do no wrong and it all flows together completely SEAMLESSLY.

#19. "King of Kings" by Elijah Prophet [Pow Pow Productions - 2006]

Royally speaking. There were other albums on this list which I liken to "King of Kings" which, so unfortunately, remains the only studio album from Elijah Prophet because, like it, they're very straight forward and heavy Roots Reggae music. What places this album so highly, however, is that it was so coyly COMPLEX. Elijah Prophet's style is a very natural one. It doesn’t seem like he plans out a great deal. Within that organic approach, however, is a just as natural ability to add SUBSTANCE to his music which is absolute FOOD for the keenest of listeners and that was evident throughout this album.

#18. "Love So Nice" by Junior Kelly [VP Records - 2011]

So nice indeed. "Love So Nice" was a pretty important album in the career of someone who has become a staple on the scene of modern Roots Reggae, Junior Kelly, and it did not disappoint. Being named after and featuring what remains the largest hit of his very impressive career, the album was THE project which helped to bring him to an even higher echelon in the music, which was saying a lot. It was LOADED! Besides the title track there was 'Clean Heart', 'Boom Draw', 'Juvenile', 'Hungry Days', 'Jah Nuh Dead', 'Jewel of The Night' and 'Go Down Satan'. Kelly has had nothing but winners since, but to my opinion, this remains his 'nicest' album to date.

#17. "Time & Place" by Lutan Fyah [Lustre Kings Productions - 2005]

For everything. "Time & Place" has been a favourite of mine from ever since it released and it was actually lined up so perfectly that Lutan Fyah would eventually grow to become a favourite of mine and I, originally, began to pay a serious amount of attention to him on Lustre Kings Productions sets - So I was well looking forward to writing up this album. This was foundation level Lutan Fyah! He, like always, was lyrically just AMAZING, but he didn't have very much command of melody, so what we got was a straight forward dissertation on topic after topic. The album is a classic and it’s also full of personally classic tunes for me. So while it isn't the juggernaut of an album which you’ll find from him near the head of this list (or at the head, I haven’t figure it out yet), "Time & Place" was huge.

#16. "Serious Times" by Luciano [VP Records - 2004]

Seriously. Of course there’s always room for The Messenjah. Luciano's work is interesting because he never seems to be too far away, but when he does arrive with something, there is this actual focus to make a room for him which may not have been there previously. Such was the case on this very rugged release from 2004, "Serious Times". You won’t get thirty seconds into any track without seeing exactly why. This was nearly MEASURABLE spiritual food. Flat! It wasn't a great deviation from the majority of his other work in terms of subjectry, but here he sang with just an ease about him, while still trying to convey the urgency the title would indicate, and he sang him way straight to (yet another) masterpiece.

#15. "Ten Strings" by Tuff Lion [I Grade Records - 2008]

Ten thousand strings. If the key component for a place on this list (or any other, for that matter) were just how much thought a particular album provoked then the first title on the top half of this list would likely be in the top half of the top half! "Ten Strings" from master Virgin Islands musician/producer/arranger/everythingelseyoumightneedmusicallyspeaking, Tuff Lion, was SPECTACULAR! It's probably the greatest instrumental album I've EVER heard (not that I'm an expert on the subject, but it is still the best that I've come across) and it surely didn't hurt that it featured the wizard guitarist 'singing' with his guitar on a set of STERLING riddims from I Grade Records. The results were timeless and get better with each and every spin.

#14. "Journey To Jah" by Gentleman [Four Music Productions - 2002]

Not gone. As one of only two names who you'll find with two albums on the top half of this list (guess who the other one is - go ahead - Guess!), Gentleman's arrival in Reggae music definitely shook things up and, all these years later, his is likely still the most familiar face on the European scene. But, just as diligent and successful as Gentleman and his management have been in getting his name out there, he's also been careful to not let his abilities slack. Exhibit A was the nearly unnecessarily GOOD "Journey To Jah". For some odd (and dumb) reason, I always find myself coming back to this album and surprised at what I hear. It's always just SO good and it seems to be better than the last time I left it. The only negative here was the ridiculous fact that he managed to outdo it - How dare he!

#13. "Rebelution" by Tanya Stephens [VP Records - 2006]

Was televised. To the extent that I could call Tanya Stephens music 'Dancehall', I suppose I can say that her "Rebelution" is one of the greatest albums that the genre has ever produced. The thing here was/is that you really get to a point where someone reaches a level of lyrical PERFECTION - there's literally nothing they could do to make themselves more efficient and Stephens was there before this album. By the time she got here, it was only a matter of time to make certain things work and what they did behind this one was to, essentially, turn it into a movie on a CD - A soundtrack to perfection.

#12. "The Strong One" by Etana [VP Records - 2008]

Mighty. The single best album of 2008, "The Strong One" was the introduction of the world to an artist who we're now likely to have the fortune of listening to for the better part of the next half century or so. It was fresh Roots in a very modern presentation (look at that album cover!) and really just a level that we should expect to see for quite some time to come. Musically speaking - It was inspirational, it was uplifting, it was powerful and definitely everything befitting the future Queen of Roots Reggae music, Etana.

#11. "Lava Ground" by I Wayne [VP Records - 2005]

Fire walker. Unfortunately, like Turbulence, it may be the case that I Wayne is never able to match the levels he reached on his early album, but in we’ll always have the very strange, but LOVELY display he gave us on "Lava Ground". The title track headed a set which also included 'Nah Draw Nil', 'Bleacher', 'Rastafari Liveth', 'Living In Love', 'More Life' . . . and, of course, his mountainous first big hit, 'Can’t Satisfy Her'. That’s just too much right there and there was more to be found on the album which was EASILY one of the finest debut albums in all of Reggae history.
#10. "Joyful Noise" [I Grade Records - 2010]

Unto HIM. Earlier, with albums such as "Real Rebels Can’t Die" and "Back To Africa", I lifted those up as examples of albums you should listen to if you wanted to make a good/GREAT modern Roots Reggae music album. Now! Let’s say you wanted to make a compilation instead. In that case, I'd suggest you pick up a copy of "Joyful Noise" as an instructional manual.

Get a very good mixed group of some of the most talented artists you can find. Place them on riddims constructed by some of the genre's most talented maestros. Get everyone to do their absolute bests or near it and that’s it! It'll probably cost more money than you have, but thankfully I Grade Records did it for you just last year on one of the best compilations Reggae has seen in a very loooooooooong time.

#9. "Higher Ground" by Bushman [Greensleeves Records - 2001]

100% What a wonderfully appropriate for this album. "Higher Ground" was 'simply' everything you saw when you glanced at the album's cover and title: An album low on flare, but incredibly high on substance and one with a genuine approach. Every song here had a powerful purpose which it achieved in its own, respective, way and when you tied it all together you not only had the very best album Bushman ever gave us, but one of the best that ANYONE has. Also it should be said that between tunes like 'Yaad Away Home', 'Nah Go Far' and 'Make A Change', this album also featured one of the finest vocal performances we’ve ever heard.

#8. "Confidence" by Gentleman [Sony Music - 2004]

Intoxication. "Confidence" is another perfect title for an album which should have instilled a great deal of confidence in both the artist, Gentleman, and his massive group of fans (yours truly included). This album was consistently SPECTACULAR! It came equipped with big tunes at every turn and that's extremely rare to find on an album with any amount of tracks, much less TWENTY! Through different styles and moods and subjects, the German Reggae star managed to keep things not only interesting, but STRONG throughout one of the best damn albums I've ever heard. Also, unless I’m REALLY forgetting someone, it's probably my choice as THE best modern Reggae album to come out of Europe.

#7. "Ghetto Life" by Jah Cure [VP Records - 2003]

The satellite. The official second album from Jah Cure, "Ghetto Life" has served a very important musical 'function' for me over the years. It literally hovers around everything else on my players. It kind of has a constant place and for very good reason. I find it so remarkable that someone four years into an ultimately eight year long prison sentence can just . . . Kind of have thrown together for him an album which can reach this high on a list and that’s exactly what happened for the Cure here, courtesy of the incomparable Beres Hammond. That album is just one of the most PURE that you'll ever hear and I know that sounds absolutely awful, but what I mean is that you can shuffle this one, you can drop down anywhere you like at any moment on any song and hear BEAUTY! It purifies the senses, takes care of the nerves and just really puts its listener at ease, while still making a very powerful message.

#6. "I-Space" by Sizzla Kalonji [Greensleeves Records - 2007]

Remember me? Reggae’s best album of 2007, "I-Space", was 'merely' a reminder that he who was the best at this whole 'Reggae thing' was still the best. It wasn't his best album (it's not even his best on this list) and it probably could have been even better than it was. BUT it was still SO MUCH better than just about anything anyone else was up to and for everyone calling him 'passed his prime' at the moment - It showed that not only was that not true, but that Sizzla had become someone who was able to do great things without 'warning'. The album came from In The Streetz and featured, basically, the same bag of riddims also given to very talented artists such as Lutan Fyah, Natural Black, Norris Man and others and while they (or most of them) did very well. I don't think it takes someone too educated on the subject to see just how much stronger "I-Space" was at the time. Also, the album has 'aged' quite well and is still as frankly brilliant today as it was four years ago.

#5. "Away From Babylon" by Queen Omega [JetStar Records - 2004]

Queen. We'll look far closer at the Etanas and Queen Ifricas of the world and that's what it is. Those two (and potentially others coming) have done certain things in the way of marketing themselves to the world and - Oh yeah, they do make amazing music (as a matter of fact, if 2011 ended today, young Etana would have scored the best album in two different years in my opinion) also and what I'm going to say is certainly nothing to disparage them in any way.

Roots Reggae music, at no time in no era, has seen a more vocally and artistically talented Woman than Queen Omega. Trinidad Reggae has never given the world a greater gift and the GREATEST gift that she has given us was definitely "Away From Babylon". This album was so complete and yet so EXCITING (it took 'risks') and struck me on such a personal level, in retrospect, that I've kept it near my players virtually from ever since I got it and there it shall remain. Omega likely won't ever reach the higher levels of some of her more well known peers in terms of popularity, but with material like this, it's probably IMPOSSIBLE for her to get her just due. One of the greatest albums of all time.

Zion is home! By the time Pressure had arrived, the world had been well primed for a more 'traditional' Virgin Islands Reggae sound. It was the very old school Reggae vibe with chanting about as pure as you'd find anywhere in the world outside of a temple somehwere in southern Asia. "The Pressure Is On" was nothing like that. No - You'd been "primed" for this one by listening to years and years of people like Sizzla, the next entry on this list, Jah Mason, Natural Black and others. Pressure took a predominately Jamaican style and the St. Thomas born chanter added a PERFECT blend of VI vibes (courtesy of Dean Pond) and the result was likely the greatest debut album of the modern era.

#3. "Still Blazin" by Capleton [VP Records - 2002]

Fire breather. Capleton's first album following what was EASILY one of the greatest albums of all time, "More Fire" definitely had lofty standards to live up to, to say the least and as we look back at things, the fact that he turned out two CONSECUTIVE all time great albums, a couple of years apart (so it wasn't as if he was just riding a great wave of success at the moment) is all the more remarkable. "Still Blazin" was exactly what the title indicated and it was exactly what we'd come to expect from one of the most talented stars the genre has ever seen. To my opinion, what remains the glaring strength here was just how lyrically AMAZING this album was an, in that respect, it rivaled its predecessor. However you place them and in whichever order you hold them, this album was CLOSE to that perfection and it is one of the greatest albums ever - From anyone.

#2. "Phantom War" by Lutan Fyah [Greensleeves Records - 2006]

Bits & pieces. Intelligence goes a long way in . . . Well, in just about everything in life. Lutan Fyah's genius comes through in his words and speaking of words (don't we always, technically, speak of words???), "Phantom War" is no lower than the fourth best album, lyrically, that I've EVER heard. It doesn't have the ostensible attraction as several (most) of the album on this list and certainly not many at the top, but when you make an album which can FEED my incredibly overactive brain with new material for half a decade, EACH AND EVERY TIME I LISTEN TO IT (if body needs were not an issue, I could probably write about this album for a few days non-stop without repeating an idea and it was the album which launched the entire series) - You've convinced me. The album, musically, had an incredible vibe as well, which is very underrated (perhaps even by me), but the main attraction here was that it came STUFFED with nineteen tracks (and a video) of superior relevant social and cultural KNOWLEDGE.

#1. "Da Real Thing" by Sizzla [VP Records - 2002]

Thank U. Surely this will be to the surprise of no one that I'm calling "Da Real Thing" by Sizzla Kalonji THE Modern Classic and I'm doing it for more than just a musical reason. It has come to be THE album which largely defined a generation of Reggae music and, really, I can't think of any other which has been released which has gathered together such a LARGE amount of hardcore fans and new fans as well than it did. It was really a project which was ODD, retrospectively, in the successes that it had because what you had were fans who were Reggae heads - Who would be 'there' anyway listening. You also had new fans to the genre who, essentially, came to see what the fuss was about. And then you had new fans who weren't going to stay around, but were Hip-Hop heads and deep followers of other genres. ALL of them came for "Da Real Thing" and what they got weren't just theatrics. It was a largely MOTIVATED version of the most GIFTED artist of all time, in my opinion. A BONAFIDE MODERN REGGAE CLASSIC!


ALL great Reggae music did not die in May 1981.