"African Glory African Story" by Mikey General [Qabalah First Music]
A really big deal - So Bredz (biggup Bredz) let me know that he had something coming which I was going to be really interested in and… as usual, he was correct. "African Glory African Story" is to what he was referring and it is the brand new album from Achis Reggae favourite, the most esteemed Mikey General. The album comes via the General's own Qabalah First imprint and, from early listens, finds the outstanding vocalist in a fine form and I cannot wait to hear the full set. "African Glory African Story" also features combinations with the likes of Toussaint and even Lutan Fyah. Looking around at the moment I can't see an album forthcoming in the next three weeks or so that I am more interested in hearing, so you can well expect a review of this one sometime next week. Pick it up for yourself as well - I have a very good feeling about this one.
CD + Digital
"Continental Universal" by Jah Mason [Gussie P]
Also on tap this week was a project that I was sure was an old album that just never got around to materializing (and it may still be, because I do remember a couple of these songs) - it's another big deal as Jah Mason pushes with a brand new album via veteran producer/engineer Gussie P, "Continental Universal". You might recall the WICKED title track as well as a next piece in 'As The Wind Blows', from a few years back or so (I'm also almost sure that I remember a song called 'Gwan Choose Joy') and now they're both packed together with so much other material on an album which also features quite a few dubbed versions of the song. I don't know yet what I'm thinking here, but I am also looking forward to hearing the full thing here and, again, you can expect a full review when I get my hands on it.
The Downtown Riddim [TransAmazoniennes]
Next we have a sweet, SWEET Roots piece via TransAmazoniennes (which is a label, if I recall correctly, that is full on global - stretching from Guyane to Canada to France), the Downtown Riddim. The same label has quietly been experiencing a nice growth in the past couple of years or so and, along with a an album or two (most notably from Little Guerrier), I would definitely say that the Downtown is probably their biggest set to date. Also on board is Riddim Wise, from out of Canada who, I believe, actually built the Downtown. Big credit goes to both here because this riddim is NICE, with just a hint of both old school and new school textures combined to make one fine composition and definitely one of the better of its kind in this part of the year. Of course, a big riddim doesn't go very far on its own, it needs big tunes and the Downtown is afforded some of the most capable of names in the vocal department as it features selections from the likes of Sizzla Kalonji, Lutan Fyah, Turbulence & I Shenko, Perfect Giddimani, TransAmazoniennes artist Prince Koloni, the aforementioned Mikey General and others (like King Shadrock). Big riddim and album here.
The Angel Eyes Riddim [Train Line Records]
You might remember, from earlier this year, a very interesting and ultimately intoxicating Soca-fied piece called the Bing Riddim (with its just as interesting cover). The creators of that track, Train Line Records, now deliver their latest offering, the Angel Eyes Riddim. This is a more Roots oriented and geared piece and it too has very strong old school inclinations and it sounds just as fit in the hands of people such as Pressure Busspipe, Hopeton Lindo, Teflon and others.
The No Joke Riddim [Royal Warriors Muzik]
Next in is the latest from Royal Warriors Muzik from out of Nina, still basking in the glow of their solid album release, "In My World" (I think that they used our review as part of the press release for that album, which is fantastic, biggup Royal Warriors) from Jah Van I just a few months back is back with another new riddim, the almost completely old school-ish and Dubbish, No Joke Riddim. It's interesting because between the album and this release, RWM also did a track called the Nah Joke Female Riddim and, although I am terrible at these type of things, the two seem fairly similar to my ears (which likely means that they aren't at all and probably aren't even in the same actual genre). Unsurprisingly, you won't find any members of the female gender on board this one, but you will find, along with JVI, Djama Keita, Kulu Ganja and, of course, Bhy2R.
The Ruff Time Riddim [Brick House Records]
Brick House Records is up next and taking a bit of a detour, at least from what I know them for, in putting up their very nice Roots track, the Ruff Time Riddim. The label, to my knowledge, has almost exclusively dealt with Dancehall to date, but things are different this time around. In only five tracks the Ruff Time manages to impress not only musically, but by the names it attracts as well. Lutan Fyah, I-Octane, a flaming Norris Man (had a big year), Erup and Nature all take turns on the piece and all produce winners of varying degrees to my opinion.
The Melodical Fyah Riddim [Union World Music]
Union World Music, from out of Austria [I THINK], has been receiving a nice amount of deserved attention on the strength of their own new production, the mighty Melodical Fyah Riddim. I wasn't very familiar with that label outside of an album that has… a nearly unforgettable cover (which I don't think I ever actually listened to, which should indicate just how recallable the cover actually was), but the Melodical Fyah ensures that I won't soon forget them. This, as its title would portend, is a riddim which is very cool, but can create a bit of an edge when necessary. Entrusted with the responsibility of making it sound good is a big roster of artists pinnacling with Sizzla Kalonji (alongside Neiman), Perfect Giddimani, Ginjah & Danny English, the scalding Kabaka Pyramid and even Ilements. Really nice work on this one and it's already proving to be quite popular, so check it out for yourself.
Di Genius Productions
Following the recent release of the… NASTY Face Off Riddim (and I mean that in a good way), Stephen McGregor and co. are back at work, releasing digital tunes again (not that they ever stopped) and lately they've put out a noteworthy pair of tracks via Dancehall stars Agent Sasco and Mavado. The former delivers the very colourful and typically creative 'Material Girl', which takes more than a while to do so, but does actually grow on you (or it doesn't, your choice), while the latter just does something else. The typically quiet, unassuming and reserved Mavado (who I just didn't listen to very much in 2012) chimes in with the official release of a song from a month or two ago, the quiet and unassuming and reserved 'This Morning'. I did like this song, but I don't know if it was because… I did like this song or because that riddim is just so much madness. BOOM! Of course, McGregor also has other tunes constantly running (including another from Mavado, 'Special Kinda Gyal') and you know what you're dealing with, so you can generally expect the quality which almost always shows up.
"Skillmatic" by Skillinjah [Ganjah Records]
I still don't know a lot about Skillinjah, but I thought that I'd mention the fact that he does have a new album running (which may actually be his third) because, most notably, the album, "Skillmatic", actually contains a song which you should remember from the ReggaeVille Riddim, 'Call Of Duty'. That actual track does not appear on the album -- it is an acoustic version of the song -- but if you liked it, and you may've check out the his new album.
"Free Indeed" by Midnite [Higher Bound Productions]
And lastly we look ahead to an album I know very little about, but was actually expecting. Surely you didn't think that Vaughn Benjamin & Midnite would just allow you to make it to the year 2013 without giving you something and they're doing it now twice. Besides the dubbed out version of "Children Of Jah", which we are still waiting for, there's also another forthcoming album, "Free Indeed" via Higher Bound Productions. This album becomes the third Midnite album for the imprint following 2007's "Bless Go Roun" and "Ark A Law" three years on. Those aren't two of the most well-regarded Midnite albums, but they were at least solid and, presumably, "Free Indeed" would follow along those same lines, although it'll be hefty task, more importantly - following up on the work from earlier this year in the form of two exceedingly good albums from 2012 - the aforementioned "Children Of Jah" and the disturbingly underrated "In Awe".
CD + Digital [I THINK]
CD + Digital [I THINK]