So who's next? If you've read any number of my reviews, you know I'm very fond of . . . Women! Women are wonderful and any place where they aren't, I don't think anyone should be (biggup Mars) (at least I think so . . . )! So we can't get too far in our new series without thumbing through the catalog of someone who, in my opinion, is the single most gifted female making Roots Reggae music today and one of the most talented anyones, regardless of gender, as well - Queen Omega. The Trini Roots Empress has gone from a once completely promising and potential heavy prospect, to a full fledged all-star and watching and listening along the way has been nothing short of an honour. Today she figures to be in the process of building a career which, if its accurate, history will see as both pioneering on several fronts and just wholly impressive. Although she doesn't have the fullest of vaults and hasn't officially added to it in four years or so (and today she's even better than she was then), today we look back at the work of one of my own personal favourites. Discography: Queen Omega.
|The music of Queen Omega|
"Queen Omega" [Green House Family - 2001]
The uprising. Easily one of the hardest debut albums to find of any artist of some significance to my knowledge, Queen Omega's self-titled debut set has very much become a kind of a 'mysterious' album, but, for everyone who has had the honour of hearing it, you know it was well worth the journey of tracking it down. These days I find myself on an ever inclining slope of appreciation for this album and not just become of its circumstances - It's also really, really good. By contrast to her later work, the artist had yet to develop much of the GRIME she now possesses, it's kind of a 'happy' album and someway laidback. But in that more docile style we get complete GEMS such as 'Uprising', 'The Power' ["every minute, every house. Di sweetness getting sour, di wicked waan devour"], 'Living In Zion' and 'Babylon Pressure'. Vylmark and Archie Wonder made appearances, as did bonafide reggae superstars, Sizzla Kalonji & Capleton (on the same tune) and Anthony B.
"Pure Love" [Jet Star - 2003]
Purely. The "Pure Love" album is another, in retrospect, that I don't think really got its fair credit. Here is an album which, at least in my opinion, really begin to lay the foundation for the version of Queen Omega that you hear today. Of course, it was on a different tone for the most part because, as its title would suggest, it was a much softer type of project (even more so than her debut), but in that was this dazzlingly powerful and confident Roots artist, who was in the process of a becoming a giant of a talent. It was also quite dynamic. There is just a great SOUND running throughout this album, which is another something that has gone overlooked (although it is a quality was very much observed during the fourth album on this list). Its highpoints were numerous, but today I'm focused on songs like 'Hustle Up', 'We Don't Want' and a MASSIVE pair of signature moments in 'Rastafari Be There' and 'I Believe In Love'.
"Away From Babylon" [Charm/Jet Star - 2004]
How sweet the sound. Queen Omega's third studio album, "Away From Babylon", also registered as the sixth edition of our Modern Classics series because . . . It was absolutely spectacular in every conceivable way. In any way in which you would examine and then rate the quality of music - this album excelled and eight years after its release, it's yet to slow down. So many different angles you can look at this album and what you 'see' is seamless, it was a perfectly compacted set. There're fifteen songs on this album, which means fifteen highlights. I could go through some like the title track, 'Friends For Life' ["oh what a friend I've found in Jah"] . . . but it's pointless. A FLAWLESS fucking album and maybe the strongest Roots Reggae album from a female artist EVER.
"Destiny" [Special Delivery - 2005]
A joyful moment. In terms of profile, it gets no higher for Queen Omega than on her 2005 release, "Destiny" for the MIGHTY Special Delivery (the same label would later deliver arguably her most high profile single record to date, 'Revolution', alongside German star, Gentleman). This album is still a borderline 'modern classic' on its own (and if I keep going a considerable time after digging it up, someday it just may get a write-up) (after not hearing it for some time, it's AMAZING to my ears) and what remains most memorable about it is its large sound. When Special Delivery was at its best, they made some of the best Reggae in the world and, on a full project, I don't know that they ever got it more correct than they did on "Destiny". That was to the direct benefit of and is fully displayed on 'Selassie I Know', 'Judgment' (which is apparently a very difficult word to spell), 'Ganja Party' ["Mi love to smell di ganja light. Burn straight through to di night. Sweetness through mi nostrils, brighten mi eyesight. Offa di ganja goodies, mi must tek a bite. What a lovely delight"] and a few others. Buju Banton made an appearance on 'Perfect Combination', as did Calibud, who produced a pair of strong ones including Ganja Party (and the title track. Queen Omega's second best album, definitely.
"Servant Of Jah Army" [Ariwa - 2008]
Marching. The Mad Professor produced most recent release of the Queen, "Servant Of Jah Army", has essentially been forgotten in many respects. If I recall correctly, it was actually released much later than had originally been anticipated and planned and, with very few exceptions, albums like that, to my noticing, kind of seem to have the problem of not really having a resounding response when they do finally appear (it's almost like their times have passed). That's really too bad here because this album was a deep record and really may've been one of her most thought provoking. Listening to it now, I'm virtually stuck on 'Never Run From Jah', that's a powerhouse of subtle piece of music. The roster of standouts also included 'Jah Army', 'Works to Do' and definitely 'Me No Frighten'.
Here, we have another instance where I can absolutely say that there is no bad stops along this journey. Every album Queen Omega has done to date has something for any fan of modern Roots Reggae and probably many fans of the music in its older form. So check out all of the work of the greatest gift Trinidad ever gave to Reggae music - the divine Queen Omega.