Showing posts with label Messenjah Selah. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Messenjah Selah. Show all posts

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Best Reggae Compilation of 2012: "Jah Golden Throne"

In our final look back at the bests of the wonder that was 2012 (unless I think of something else) (and I might), today we take a look back at the single finest compilation release that I heard in the calendar year, "Jah Golden Throne". The fine Roots Reggae anchored set came via Zion High Productions as a production of the Zion I Kings collective (and you can see their respective logos lined across the back cover of this album, ZHP, I Grade RecordsLustre Kings Productions). Just as was in the case of the artist albums, there were so many fine compilations and riddim albums and projects in 2012, so when we tell you that "Jah Golden Throne" was the best of them all, that's definitely saying something, but as every label in the ZIK has previously shown, it really should come as a surprise to no one. Today we take a look and listen back to "Jah Golden Throne" from Zion High Productions - The Best Reggae Compilation of 2012.

#1. 'Empress Omega' by Chet Samuel

Though I know he's remained active as a performer and I may be wrong (again), but I think that, looking back, 'Empress Omega' may've been the only new tune I heard from Chet Samuel in the last year. That's really very bad because, as you can tell if you've heard this song and/or any of a great deal of his previous work, he's excellent. Hopefully someone was really paying attention and Samuel gets busy in the studio in 2013. As for the opener for "Jah Golden Throne", it didn't seem to get quite the response as a few of the songs on the record, but to my opinion it was at least as strong as most of them, as Samuel gave well due credit and love to the wonderful Women of the world. 

"Empress Omega -
Beauty and generosity she have ain't got no equal
Ain't got no sequel"

#2. 'Fall On Me' by Glen Washington

The reigning world's coolest man, Glen Washington wasn't at all hard to find in 2012. Besides appearing on "JGT", the venerable vocalist would also make an album on Zion High Productions, one of the finest anyone did in 2012, "Masterpiece". My single favourite tune from that album and one of my two favourites (but the first), was definitely this GEM of a song, 'Fall On Me'. I still feel all kinds of joy in listening to this song and it hasn't lost a bit of steam in my mind. It is a praising tune at its core, but it's sung like a love song and, I suppose, that was the point. 'Fall On Me' basically is a love song - it's celebrating the love of the blessings of His Majesty. The sound is… divine or something like that and, despite its softness, is as powerful and resolute as anything I hear on the album. 

#3. 'Make It Work' by Tippa IrieLloyd Brown

"Well everyday wi get up, wi ah try
Cause everyone outta road ah look a bligh
Mi si it clear, through mi eye 
Well tribulation no stop multiply
Well the economy is on the decline
And it's just a sign of the time
But with our hearts and our mind combine -
Wi just might si the sunshine
Because it really kinda hard out deh
You know
Tings ah run slow out deh
You know
Wid famine and drought out deh
You know
Well every artist ah fight fi stage show 
Cause a free download out deh
You know
No artist nah mek no doe
You know
It really kinda tough down yah
You know
Fi all di people dem in di ghetto

How we gonna make it work
If we don't try
To show some love and overstanding?
Yes we gotta make it work
Shoulder to the wheel
I know that my request is not demanding

Well The Father HIM bless mi wid a gift
That's why I write lyrics like this
And it's not just for my benefit
It's for all the people dem inna di district
Where I come from, I've gotta promote
I love my people dem without a doubt
Because we striving for the same goal
But wi not gonna sell our souls"

Longtime UK Reggae pillars Tippa Irie and Lloyd Brown link-up = big results. Not the first time. It wasn't be the final. Always excellent. 

#4. 'Race Of Life' by Lutan Fyah

There're maybe two or three that I've heard in the entirety of his giant catalog, but I think that 'Race Of Life' is a tune from Lutan Fyah that I have personally underrated to a degree and I really do like it already and have from the first spin. HOWEVER, every time I listen to this song, I get just a kind of a 'surface' feeling that I'm listening to something really special. Picking this album up and going through it again for the sake of this post has brought it back for me and I'm still working on it and you can be sure that I'll get it, whatever "it" is, someday (and probably soon, because I've been listening to this one more than almost any other tune on this album lately. 

#5. 'Babylon Yuh Wrong' by Cornel CampbellU-Roy

If I recall correctly, the cavity-causing 'Babylon Yuh Wrong' which featured the legendary U-Roy alongside the equally mighty Cornel Campbell, was the very first tune I would have heard from "Jah Golden Throne". The tune was released back in 2010 as a single, which Zion High was obviously very proud of (and they had very good reason to be). The link here, alone, should be enough to suggest what type of quality you're dealing with, but really if you haven't heard this tune by now then you are just a really, really awful person. 

#6. 'Set A Way' by General JAH Mikey

'Set A Way' is a tune which I now regard as fully SPECTACULAR. It's an amazing song and easily registers as one of the finest moments on an album full of absolutely nothing but 'fine moments'. Its star, General Jah Mikey, was another person who we didn't hear from nearly enough in 2012 (but he's never been the most active of artists, unfortunately), but what he did bring, highlighted by this sublime tune, was hard to forget by year's end and it continues to get better and better. 

#7. 'World Needs Love' by Jahdan Blakkamoore

Light it up. The big, big 'World Needs Love' by ZIK veteran Jahdan Blakkamoore (who should really think about giving us a new Reggae album in 2013) definitely brings a different tone to the album - a bright one. This infectious tune also carries a very poignant message which is, perhaps, lost because of the 'glow' of the tune, but it's really a piece appreciable on a wide variety of levels: It sounds superb and it makes high level common-sense. Not to be missed. 

#8. 'Y Should Yee' by Arkaingelle

'Y Should Yee' by the Arkaingelle is yet another tune on "JGT" of which I've well grown to have a greater appreciation for these days and, in this case, I think that has a great deal to do with the fact that I've REALLY gotten into the lyrics of the tune. It's a song written with a grand biblical inspiration and one which Arkaingelle carries with such a fine amount of detail and 'high perspective' (which is a really nice way of saying "pride") that it is incredibly difficult to ignore and one of the SMARTEST songs on the album to my opinion.  
#9. 'Just So That You Know' by Lloyd Brown

"Jah neva want I to fail
In my devotion to HIM yeah
From you got love inside
I'm on your side
Just so that you know"

The beaming 'Just So That You Know' from a returning Lloyd Brown, like Glen Washington's 'Fall On Me' before it, is a song which very much walked in two different circles. This time around, this tune was also THE prevailing highlight from Brown's most recent album, the phantom-like "30" (best album cover of 2012) (biggup Bredz), and also like Washington's effort, it has only grown in stature from after appearing on both projects. This song was one with a fine message wrapped up in this SWEET package and, in typical classy Mr. Lloyd Brown fashion, really made itself standout on the compilation and probably for no other substantial reason than what Brown normally brings to a tune. 

#10. 'Culture Inna Yuh Face' by Pressure

Speaking of standing out, Pressure Busspipe (who I think is about to have a MASSIVE 2013), also made his presence known on "Jah Golden Throne" with one of its biggest moments, 'Culture Inna Yuh Face'. Today I'm under the line of thinking that this tune may just be one of Pressure's biggest tunes over the past two or three years (and if you've followed his career to any length, you know that's saying quite a bit in his case. The lyrics here were supreme, but when you combined them with this gorgeous kind of 'stepping' riddim, what you ultimately had here was a just as ruling tune altogether.

#11. 'Towerful' by Prezident Brown

Reggae/Dancehall veteran, Prezident Brown, had a strong year in 2012 with the releasing of some really nice tunes as well as a new EP and album. In there somewhere was this very clever  tune, 'Towerful' which I think went somewhat overlooked as far as being on this album, but it was no less mighty because of it. I hadn't heard it in a minute or two before diving back into it for this post and, maybe because of that or maybe because it's excellent (and it is), I found a new level of affection for the HEAVY track. Join me! Have a listen back. 

#12. 'Nowhere To Run' by Marcia Ball

This is well the type of an album which would get a critique out of me if there hadn't been anyone representing with a tune for females, but that's taken care of by underrated veteran Marcia Ball. She not only shows up for the festivities, she also manages to impress (and she always does when I'm listening) with her offering, the cool social commentary, 'Nowhere To Run', which deals unfalteringly with those who don't have their priorities in a proper order.

"There's no hiding place from Jah
HE will find you no matter where you are
So find yourself

#13. 'Life To Live' by Messenjah Selah

Still breaking the curse, Messenjah Selah (any day now Selah) infuses a bit more energy into things with the inspirational set, 'Life To Live'. This song may just be one of the better Selah has done from the release of his last album (also check the wicked 'Be My Messenjah') as he tells all to make the most of life, IN THE MOMENT, and stop fearing certain things which're beyond your control. I really like the direction of this tune and not because it is so rare or unique, but I just so much love when the MOOD of a song matches the lyrics. When you sing certain things with urgency, the same way you would say them when speaking, that really adds a new dimension to a tune and adds to its overall PRESENTATION and, at least in that aspect, not too many people on this album, if anyone, gets it better than Messenjah Selah. 

"Life is to life
Don't be afraid to die
Don't be afraid to live" 
#14. 'Showers Of Blessings' by Mr. Mention

BOOM! Mr. Mention seems to build directly on the same notion previously explored on Glen Washington's 'Fall On Me', when he goes on to speak of the 'Showers Of Blessings'. I don't think that anyone will ever confuse Mr. Mention's music with more seemingly finely tuned vocalists such as Washington or Beres Hammond, but for what he does --this really rough and kind of wonderfully unrefined and inherently coarse style-- it can be as IMMACULATE as anything any of his peers is capable of, when at his best. For example??? Check out what has become my most favourite tune from Mention ever, OF ALL TIME, 'Showers Of Blessings'.

#15. 'Crown I Got' by Toussaint

TEARS! Unsurprisingly Toussaint's MAMMOTH 'Crown I Got' has been amongst the most popular selections coming from "Jah Golden Throne". The song, which is, basically, a title track of sorts for the album, represents one of the very few times that I can say that I have actually been overwhelmed by a song. And I've probably heard millions of songs in my life at this point and maybe 10-15 of them have really just overpowered my senses. This was one of them. Of course Toussaint has been no stranger to ZIK, as his wonderful solo debut album, "Black Gold" arrived in 2010 under the same set of maestros (and hopefully they do that again someday), so the 'blueprint' of musical chemistry had long been laid, but I didn't think they'd do something like this which is only separated from being a 'classic' by time at this point. Unforgettable.

#16. 'Highway To Zion' by JAH Bless

Lastly and fittingly, "Jah Golden Throne" would come to its conclusion in the more than capable hands of saxophone player, Jah Bless with 'Highway To Zion'. I was thinking, from since hearing this tune, how fantastic it would be if the ZIK would do some sort of instrumental/Dub release someday (preferably with a great deal of Tuff Lion music on it) and this tune, as it is here, would be a great addition to such a project if it should happen. 

To my knowledge, "Jah Golden Throne" was only the second compilation worked on by the Zion I Kings. It followed a release from 2009 which was… probably the greatest release of its kind in the entire modern era, "Joyful Noise" and it, too was excellent. The real lasting attraction here, besides being sixteen song which were, at least, exceptional, is just how well done it was carried out. With these two sets and albums from the aforementioned Glen Washington and Toussaint as well as others from Ras Batch, the Nazarenes and probably someone else who I'm forgetting now, I think that's become a significant statement of the Zion I Kings. Yes, they make incredible music, but they also find a way to present it to the listener which, generally for more seasoned fans, is hard to not pay attention to. If you were looking in 2012 you got something really special from Zion High Productions and the Zion I Kings in "Jah Golden Throne"

Saturday, November 5, 2011

New From Messenjah Selah!

Okay so, today we were supposed to be doing a post of a pretty interesting (in my opinion) list, but I . . . just didn't do it (and will likely be starting it after this). Anyway, you'll get that tomorrow or whatever the next day is, but today I want to mention a favourite of ours who is, seemingly, in the midst of absolutely FLAMING because quietly, Messenjah Selah has been on a musical roll.

The last time we mentioned his name, it was for 'Wanna Get Away', his excellent effort for the Stringz Riddim and earlier this year, Selah has remained active and consistent with tracks on the Alive, Step By Step and Street Hustle Riddims, respectively. He's also pushed several other tunes and really done everything you would've hoped and HOPEFULLY in 2012 he gives us another album.

While we wait, however, Messenjah Selah has dropped a MIGHTY pair of tunes from another Achis Reggae favourite, Blaak Lung, and his Greensphere Records imprint - 'Criminal Planet' & 'Be My Messenjah'.

Both tunes are, essentially, social commentaries with 'Criminal Planet' definitely being the more 'conventional' of the two although not FULLY straight ahead, with some very adroit historical references.

"It is the layer on the top
That is always where the buck stop
And it's the labours of you and me
That make commercial goods flow free
When controls are set by man
When no exploitation is forbidden
Makes living on earth impossible then -
That becomes criminal!

Back through time it's always been so
From Julius Caesar to the Alamo
The soldier's sword defeats the farmer's hope
From the Vatican smoke to the USO!
We hear the Romans, the Mongols, the Vikings and the Huns-
Find it easier to send their sons
Murdering across the world in search of plunder!

It's a criminal planet!
Pretending democracy
It's a criminal planet!
Run by corporation acting like gang families"

For its part, the sublime 'Be My Messenjah' is just BEAUTIFUL and intelligent.

" . . . A young man who was the child's Dad leans against a rusty shack
He searches for what he once had, but can't seem to get it back
'The country is broken', he says
'There are no jobs!'
'The people are frustrated, they're turning into angry mobs'
So I gave him some juice out of my cart
'There's not much I can do', I said, 'Except to keep you in my heart'
He asked me -

Do you wanna be my messenjah?
Will you spread the word?
Can you make my story heard?
I don't want to go bad and pick up the ways of the gun
I just want some honest work to make a living beneath the sun


I will be your messenjah!
I told him this
I will be your messenjah!"

This song, if for no other reason than its punchline and title - I can well see becoming some sort of signature track for Selah. It's the more melodic of the two and at times, completely stunning (the final verse, which I refuse to spoil for you, is just brilliance and in a twisting type of way as Selah turns the tables on the listener!). The music on both tracks is outstanding and features the work of another favourite of ours, the incomparable, Tuff Lion. So check out 'Criminal Planet' & 'Be My Messenjah' by Messenjah Selah - Both big tunes are currently available in digital stores.

{Bredz how can one man be so wicked?!}

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Lyrical Analysis of Breaking Babylon Curse by Messenjah Selah

Lyrics to Breaking Babylon Curse by Messenjah Selah

I believe there is unfortunately an all too common thought in many corners of society that the lyrical content of Reggae music isn’t necessarily important. I can remember reading an online article in response to the release of a Sean Paul or Beenie Man album from the New York Times and, in such a popular source, the woman writing the review said as much that ‘the lyrics is Reggae and Dancehall aren’t typically very important’. Now of course if you’re talking about a song which was born to simply make people dance then that would be the case (though that definitely wouldn’t be Reggae specific AT ALL and thus, in my opinion, quite worthless to even mention). I think this exists largely because of the ‘linguistic gap’ which exists between Patois and English and between Creole and French. This is so evident by the fact of how many times you’ve heard a Jamaican or even someone adapting a Jamaican accent and someone writing, in response to or in review of the song, “_________ adds a bit of Reggae flavour”, when there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ‘Reggae’ about that particular tune. The same phenomenon has also, in my opinion, kept the music back just a bit in terms of going ‘mainstream’ (whatever that means) but its also, I feel, given it a bit of cool and underground appeal as certain bits and pieces of the masses flock to Reggae as a pendant of their striking out against the system (again, whatever that means). Still, amongst those who actually know there is a different structure of separation at work where, as is the case in most musical genres, the current or even slightly past current artists and those around the business go largely underappreciated particularly when compared to those of yesteryear on both fronts. I, of course if you know how I approach things, have a problem with both of these limitations placed on the music; in terms of it either being downright MEANINGLESS altogether or it being somewhat of a bastardized or downgraded facsimile of the original order. Therefore, when I began my blog I wanted make it one of several central and primary objectives to advance not only the music (and seriously the music, in and of itself, is SO GOOD that it shouldn’t even need great pushes on my behalf to convince those on the fence of its strength) but the LYRICS specifically and, by extension, the writers of said lyrics.

Up until now, I’ve written articles (like this one) made lists (like this one) and literally transcribed songs (like this one) but all were largely quite random (and I’ll be the first to admit that perhaps I relied on them a bit too much which is why you haven’t seen any lyrics here in a minute, but you’ll see some next week) with one glaring exception, Breaking Babylon Curse, the sophomore album from US based chanter Messenjah Selah. I have transcribed all eighteen songs to the album and, even more importantly, I’ve used it as a rather prime example of exactly what I mean. Here’s the thing: Selah is a VERY talented artist. He uses quite a few different styles and is an EXCELLENT writer and between the Breaking Babylon Curse album and his first (see here), he has definitely made a fan out of me and that was one of the main reasons I chose to use his album in particular and not others I would have been listening to at the time (like Lutan Fyah’s MAMMOTH double album Africa). Breaking Babylon Curse is one SWEET album and it really examines so many different topics and vibes that it definitely served the purpose and proved its worth for my ‘project’. However, something else about it, which you may interpret as negative, is that it comes from an artist who probably, in terms of talent as a Roots Reggae artist would honestly rank around twentieth or so at best, were I to compose a list on such a thing. Now, EACH AND EVERY single artist ahead of him would be a SPECIAL artist and I say that to push Selah even higher and to make this point: If an artist like Messenjah Selah is making this type of poignant material then exactly how many other artists are flying below the radar and doing similar things while people continue to say what they’re doing either “doesn’t matter” or “isn’t what it used to be”.

The first tune I used, even before I knew I would start this project, was Unseen Corruption which is song #13 on Breaking Babylon Curse. This song, in retrospect, has to be regarded as one of the finest on the album altogether as it is just so complexly written yet it doesn’t go the full route you often see on tunes like such which an end up being quite corny at times. It quietly takes an explosive stance at times as Messenjah Selah rather controversially says in the second verse, “Who you think a rape and rob, then invite me to them synagogue?”. That line is SCATHING! He makes absolutely no mystery in who exactly he is talking about when he says specifically the word ’synagogue’ as opposed to the rather broad and bland church (which wouldn’t have rhymed anyway). And whether you agree with what he says or even take it so broadly (and I’m inclined to think he wouldn’t mean it on an all-inclusive type of level, at least I would hope not) isn’t as important as the actual leap he makes when saying the line. And it definitely was THE stand out amongst quite a few standout passages on the tune (also check, “Pleasing Satan is their number one, now dem a Luciferan”) and really one you take away from the album as a whole. Another perhaps similarly inspired tune is the tune which immediately precedes Unseen Corruption on the album, #12 False Religion alongside Lutan Fyah. Now, this was and technically remains my choice as the best song on Breaking Babylon Curse (however, as I did all of this it became more and more difficult to pick one rising above the rest but, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) and I draw comparisons between it and Unseen Corruption as it basically goes off in particular on a certain aspect of the all encompassing Unseen Corruption, religion. This one just is LOADED in so many interesting bits. The first being that between Selah and Fyah, both Rastafarian artists and particularly Lutan Fyah’s case as a Bobo Ashanti and on a song called False Religion, the word Rasta or any derivative thereof (including Selassie, or even Majesty or King with ‘Jah‘ only appearing twice and in the same connotation) is not present at all. Then, if you listen to just the overall vibes of the tune its quite surprising as the two definitely don’t adopt a passive approach with lines like, “Seems less they work to approve the people natural culture, sucking our blood like a vulture.” but it seems that they take a more tactful approach than saying ‘my road is greater than yours’ and instead the duo focus on the rather tangible outcomes of the False Religion. HOWEVER, the most discerning of listeners (including yours truly) will IMMEDIATELY recognize the very first full line uttered in the song “Until bigotry and prejudice is replace by understanding, tolerance and goodwill” as a version of a quote by His Imperial Majesty. When taken in that context, perhaps the overall meaning of the song might deviate SLIGHTLY but, again given the two artists, not very much as, in my opinion, the song inevitably flies to the head of the class where Breaking Babylon Curse is concerned. And in retrospect it also seems so nice that both (THE SWEET!) Their Story and Israel Betta Know come back to back following False Religion and Unseen Corruption (although I think Israel might be a little less complaint after hearing Unseen Corruption Messenjah Selah), ESPECIALLY Their Story which is kind of a more personalized version of the others and, again, is quite controversial at times.

The very first song on Messenjah Selah’s Breaking Babylon Curse is one of the more interesting pieces as well, She Ask Me Say. This song was so familiar to me and I’m certain to many (men and women actually) as it deals with the under-discussed concept of revealing that one walks in the path of His Majesty actually in a relationship. We’ve heard dozens of songs like Etana’s Roots recently and even the aforementioned Lutan Fyah on Rasta Still Deh Bout alongside Josie Mel which deal with the concept in terms of family, friends and community but not so much in terms of a relationship as they tend to simply either just not go there in general or to presumably place the assumption that one has either already dealt with that business or has simply chosen a companion already on the road themselves. Excellently, Selah doesn’t deal with that and instead, She Ask Me Say is a bit of a (SLOW) back and forth between lovers on the matter. “She ask me say, do I have to stop eat meat,. . . locks my hair,. . . go to church. . . stop wear pants” he says in reference to his woman inquiring about the ways of Rasta and I’ve had this EXACT conversation with my girlfriend (now wife) as to the extent of the ways of life. And what was really interesting to me was/is how you can apply this to ANYONE, within or outside of a relationship as Selah really just examines the nature of certain stereotypes people have about Rastafari. It really is a magical song as he explains its not really about the clothes or the appearance at all, its simply about His Imperial Majesty being with you. Another interesting aspect to that type of vibes is the Woman Of Purpose song where the woman in question has apparently ‘graduated’ from her questioning phase and has fully accepted the will of His Majesty, yet the QUALITY of the way both tunes is noticeably different as, in my opinion Woman Of Purpose, while definitely not a bad song, is one of the worst written tunes on Breaking Babylon Curse (although Selah does manage to use the word meritorious on the chorus of the song) (4pts.) as the body of the song doesn’t break down very favourably due to its rather matter of fact type of style, he simply doesn’t tell the listener something he/she probably doesn’t know or at least HEAVILY assume already. I’m then inclined to wonder if Woman Of Purpose (LOVELY riddim and all) was a tune directly intended to follow-up on the clearly well sculpted and crafted She Ask Me Say. And you can add to that the closer, You Deserve, which also isn’t very strong either.

And lastly when you get into the more kind of broad and prideful tunes I REALLY like the lyrical dexterity of the songs. Take a minute and listen to Take A Minute which is absolutely a WONDERFUL song with a wonderful message. The song really has grown on me as it carries a very much royal type of vibes in praising the King. “Take a minute to give Jah the praise, for all the things he’s done for you, for all the things he’s brought you through” is the punch line anchoring the big tune which comes off as a complicated chant of sorts where Selah wonderfully rifles through so many different TANGIBLE explanations of the might of His Majesty and where HE comes into our lives. The song leaves the downright PARALYZING imprint on you of the second verse which is so well written and VOICED as Selah goes between a talking voice and his chant while infusing the might of Psalms 103:6 right at the beginning of the tune, “Jah executeth righteousness and judgment for all the oppressed” and then goes on to concretely give an example and an a kind of veiled explanation of it when he says on the very next line, “and in this world full of mess, Jah guide our every step”, which makes it into so much more of a modern style and just doesn’t leave the nice reference dangling on its own (and we‘ll forgive him for trying to rhyme ‘muscle‘ with ‘continue‘). You can’t talk about PRIDE on Breaking Babylon Curse without mentioning Keep Africa On Your Mind which features the DIVINE Trini Reggae Empress, Queen Omega.
The sound on this one is so nice that you may very well reach the end of it without really given the lyrical context its just attention, however, should that happen to you, you’ll miss the tune’s real power. “Beginning of creation. SHE is the foundation. As an Afrikan, you must be proud and strong!”, as the Queen says on her final verse (also the final verse on the tune) and its kind of odd that when you just listen through Breaking Babylon Curse you notice that it is sans the Roots Reggae obligation of including a song to Mama on every single album but it actually isn’t as that tune is Keep Africa On Your Mind as ‘she’ is (rightfully) spoken of in human terms like “she’, “on my mind” and Mama” in the stereotypical ways but also, “Mama Afrika your children is calling. To you, we’ll be running with the singing and drumming” which is such a nice touch and it still comes across in terms of the cultural and regional aspects as well (largely due to Selah’s verses) making it simply a superb combination in my mind. And in another very nice bit of track placement, Keep Africa On Your Mind is located directly following another similarly conceptualized but very differently vibed tune, the complicated Dirty House. This song (sounds like a Marley song when it starts) has so many different levels pointing in the same direction. The first verse is kind of corny honestly but the SECOND! “Evil works only make The Father grieve. When the light, come darkness haffi leave. Don’t make them TWIST YOU LIKE WEAVE. BETTER TO KNOW THAN TO BELIEVE” Now, on the surface you could very well just take this second half of the second verse as four independent (and clichéd) thoughts but, in relation to the topic at hand, and thus the title, Dirty House and upon examination of the ‘house’ which is more like a world or a community as well as being the flesh simultaneously the rather hidden nature of Messenjah Selah’s ‘Dirty House’ becomes more clear and especially at the second verse. Cleaning such a ‘house’ involves letting in the light so you can see what you’re cleaning and in doing so you let in His Majesty because when you close the shades you hide ‘it’ from him and in doing so you allow the evil to come in. WOW! I also have to mention the BRILLIANCE that is African Bless which is definitely a unifying vibes on the tune (as is Do Right And Unite). The song actually convinced me to go on to do this project as it was just SO strong. The song really is about Afrikan upliftment and unity and just throwing down all of these other unfortunately thought and followed ideologies which have gone to help Children of Afrika remain in bondage for so long both externally and internally, as Selah so nicely says in what was, for me, THE line of the song, “Children of the melanin stop practice the slave master’s teaching or you’re gonna get a beating. Children of the melanin why you despise the royal teaching? YOU ARE EVERYTHING YOU ARE SEEKING!”: You were BORN uplifted and now why do you need to be uplifted, you’re already THERE! I mean such a powerful piece of wording. . .

But it doesn’t matter, right? Its not as good as it used to be, right? I have a very difficult time believing either of those concepts and its very unfortunate that they aren’t opinions relegated to simply a few very naïve members of society but it reaches so many popular and represented corners of the world. Since I’ve began my work on this, I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback, both negative and positive (and to all who said I’ve worked too much on this, I assure you, this is the final step) but they all, on the positive side seem to have a common topic of discourse: 'Its good that you’re doing that because I listen to the songs so many times and I get bits and pieces but I don’t really understand'. REALLY understanding is important and getting the word out that not only do you comprehend but that there actually exists something worthy of comprehension indeed is more crucial. And Breaking Babylon Curse and Messenjah Selah are just two examples and definitely it’s a big album but besides that, what it is one of HUNDREDS of functioning and active, living and breathing testaments to the lyrical acuities and proficiencies of our artists today and like I said, there are finer examples on both cases (and I may very well get to them someday). Yet, if you persist to say that it doesn’t matter because you can only dance to it and you can’t understand the words or its not like Bob would have sang it; well then maybe I have a curse or two to break of my own.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lyrics to Keep Africa On Your Mind by Messenjah Selah featuring Queen Omega

{note: italicized words denote Queen Omega's lyrics

Yes I!

Yes Afrikan people.
Yes my Black people.
You can’t forget your birthplace.
You can’t forget where you’re coming from.

Keep Africa on your mind [Afrika on my mind].
Mi keep Afrika on my mind.
Cah Afrika so divine
Keep Africa on your mind [Afrika on my mind].
Keep Afrika on my mind. Oh oh.

Children of the Diaspora.
You are an extension of Mama Afrika. Yeah.
When She cry, we cry.
[Tell me who] Who is gonna stand by her side.
Fi real Iyah
Hands and hearts must join together.
Messenjah Selah
To ease the pressure.
Alongside Queen Omega
Afrika needs her children.
And her children do, need her just the same.

Keep Africa on your mind [Afrika on my mind]. Afrika pon my mind
Keep Afrika on my mind. She is so divine
Keep Africa on your mind [Afrika on my mind].
Keep Afrika on my mind.

Afrika is the place for me.
The Motherland, Shashamane.
Ethiopia, the Holy city, that is my destiny.
Repatriation! Liberation!
Unification! Must build the foundation.

Can’t forget my brothers and sisters on the continent all over.
As long as you’re Black, you’re an Afrikan, so lets work together.
We were separated, stolen, lacerated.
Because of slavery.

Keep Africa on your mind [Afrika on my mind].
Keep Afrika on my mind. Yeah yea yeah
Keep Africa on your mind [Afrika on my mind].
Keep Afrika on my mind.
The Motherland!

Whites in Afrika still enslaving.
Blacks in Afrika still enslave.
Whatta shame!
Tribal war still fighting.
Can’t forget the disease and famine.

For much too long we’ve been the victim.
That’s why we put the fyah pon the system.
Mama Afrika! Your children is calling.
To you we’ll be running with the singing and drumming.

Right now, She’s not doing fine.
You cannot leave her behind.
Can’t leave her behind!

Keep Africa on your mind [Afrika on my mind].
Mi keep Afrika on my mind.
Cause she is so divine.
Keep Africa on your mind [Afrika on my mind].
Keep Afrika on my mind.
Messenjah Selah, for real!

Afrika pon my mind, she is so divine.
This song for the world and Afrika is like the spine.
The Motherland is the best, I must confess.
So we a truck through the East, forget about the west.
Beginning of creation.
She is the foundation.
As an Afrikan you must be proud and strong!
Full of royalness!
And yes, we are blessed.
Mama Afrika, She is the highest!

Yea yeah yes!
Afrika you’re always ON MY MIND.
Keep Afrika always on your MIND.

She is so sweet
Yes you are, Mama Afrika.
She is, so sweet.
Yea yea yea yeah. . .

Taken from Messenjah Selah's album Breaking Babylon Curse

Lyrics to False Religion by Messenjah Selah featuring Lutan Fyah

{note: italicized words denote Lutan Fyah's lyrics

No No!
Nnnnnnnn no no.
Until bigotry and prejudice is replace by understanding, tolerance and goodwill.

Messenjah Selah say.
False religion is confusion.

Hey false religion bring segregation.
Segregration. No No.

False religion fi control man.
Control man.


They want to split one man inna three [how could that be?].
But its better for three to unite as one.
They want us to disagree,
So them set up them confliction.

Hey. Confusing the minds of the people.
Inconvenience the truth and that is evil.
Spiritually them enslave the world.
Build up them high castle fi diamonds and pearls.

Give thanks, I’ve seen the light.
No more illusion can block mi vision.
Now I can see clearly! [Spread out]
So I must all my position [Spread out].
No try fi come stare me.
Mt Zion is my destination.
I try dem fighting wars in the name of religion [*laughs*].

False religion is confusion.

False religion bring segreation.
Segregation! Burning!

False religion a mash up the nation.
Jah creation!
Check it.
People need salvation.

Yes Iritical downpression.
It a bring down the children inna damnation.
Seems less they work to approve the people natural culture.
Sucking our blood like a vulture.
As was written and said, they should give us a chance to grow.
And as I saw in my vision.
It’s a bless to know.

Due to human imperfection.
Religion has become corrupt, political.
Divisive and a tool for domination.

False religion is confusion.

False religion bring segregation.
Segregation. Burning!

False religion a mash up the nation.
Jah creation.

And what we need is salvation, that’s the solution
[People need salvation, that’s the solution!]

If your religion nah break chain and shackle.
Then you just might be praising the devil.
If your religion nah take it to higher level.
Then you just might be praising the devil.
Non-progressive. Non-profitable.
Then you just going around in a circle.
No make them separate us with name and title.
Only love hold the title!

And I say as them limitate against the development of loyalty to the world community.
To be neutral is to be impartial.
Impartial to judge actions and policy.
Either we contributing to or subtracting from the world’s solution.
Now we should know that Haile. Haile is love. . .

Taken from Messenjah Selah's album Breaking Babylon Curse

Lyrics to Humble by Messenjah Selah featuring Jah Dan

{note: italicized words denote Jah Dan's lyrics}

Is just love I bring.
Use me for your glory.

Keep me humble.
Cause I realize I’m just a piece of the puzzle.
Some ahgo fall from them ego ride.
Say without Jah.
You have no place.
You will get erase.
He that exalt shall be your base.

Be cool and be blessed.
Save yourself the stress.
A Jah run things.
Take humble steps, no fly past your nest.
Jah will bruk your wings. Oh yes.
Spirit no bow to flesh.
No man no pull my strings.
You think you better than the rest.
So you biggup your chest.
Let me see he who is without sin.

Cause I realize I’m just a piece of Jah puzzle.
You ahgo fall from your ego ride.
Say without Jah.
You have no place.
You will get erased.
Inna exalt shall be your base.

If you cross yourself.
A exalt yourself.
Like a radio a broadcast themselves.
Watch dem. See it deh.
A fight one another while them a fight themselves.
Like them oppress a man, them oppress themselves.
Why don’t you just,
Black a meds and hold a humble thought .
Self discipline it is above dem all.

Cause I realize I’m just a piece of Jah puzzle.
Some man a fall from your ego ride.
Say without Jah.
You have no place.
You will get erased.
He that exalt shall be your base.

We make up the one, the whole to function. To roll.
Mind, body and soul.
Different elements, frequencies, ideas.
People in one accord, make the fullness unfold.
If you can’t love and respect every man equally,
That mean you lost and you need to be found.
From the center we can see all around.
Jah nuh partial, what goes around comes around.

So keep your heart and your hands free and your conscious free.
Oh men why boasteth thyself.
When you don’t know what tomorrow brings.
Be wise, humble and read between the lines.
Between the lines.

Cause I realize I’m just a piece of the puzzle.
You ahgo fall from your ego ride.
Without Jah.
You have no place.
You will get disgraced.
Inna exalt shall be your base.

My confidence is not in men.
I boast in Jah.
I’m here to make my contribution.
Then leave bout yah.
Fools die for want of wisdom.
Know yourself round ya.
I tell you dis.
Helpless every man was born.
Remember where your strength come from.

Humble, humble, humble, humble, humble.
Humble, humble, humble, humble, humble
Puzzle, puzzle, puzzle, puzzle, puzzle.
Puzzle, puzzle, puzzle, puzzle, puzzle

Say without Jah you have no place.
You will get erased.
You will get replaced. . .

Don’t be disgraced.

Taken from Messenjah Selah's album Breaking Babylon Curse.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lyrics to Babylon Fi Get Burn Up by Messenjah Selah

Yes I.

Babylon fi get bun up, from the sunrise until the sun set up.
Bun up.
Everything that is corrupt.
They want to keep us down, while they keep rising up.
Babylon fi get bun up, from the sun down until the sun come up.
Bun up.
Everything that is corrupt.
Tired fi see the wicked man kingdom a build up.

Hypocrite and parasite don’t want we live up.
Envy and strife dem come fi stir up.
Plotting evil before the sun come up.
They want us dead.
Rastaman say fi live up.
The system unjust weh dem set up.
They make it hard for the poor man to come up.
Them down press the weak them no want dem fi strong.
Wrong must go down.
Right haffi stand up! Yes!

Babylon fi get bun up, from the sunrise until the sun set up.
Bun up.
Everything that is corrupt.
They want to keep us down, while they keep buildng up.
Babylon fi get bun up, from the sun down until the sun come up.
Bun up.
Everything that is corrupt.

For the millions weh Babylon shot up.
Look how many innocent Babylon lock up.
Set pon ship weh di slave dem pack up.
Whip whip! Yo mi say mi people get cut up.
Drown inna sea, nuff get bun up.
Countless families Babylon bruk up.
Vampire look how much blood you come suck up.
You fun up.
Inna di King you come run up?
You get mash up!

Babylon fi get bun up, from the sunrise until the sun set up.
Bun up.
Everything that is corrupt.
They want to keep us down, while they keep rising up. Yo!
Babylon fi get bun up, from the sun down until the sun come up.
Bun up.
Everything that is corrupt.

Burn it up quick!
Before you sound dat.
Wrongs can’t prevail.
You should’ve known dat.
Satan a nuh mi King.
Den how mi fi go crown dat.
Dash dem inna di wata and just drown dat.
Selah say “FIRE“.
Babylon say “please death“.
Mi say “MORE LIFE”.
Dem say “yo give up”.
Jah Jah deh pon di throne and him nah get up.
Jah Jah deh pon di throne!

Babylon fi get bun up, from the sunrise until the sun set up.
Bun up.
Everything that is corrupt.
Burn it up! Yea yeah!
Babylon fi get bun up, from the sun down until the sun come up.
Bun up.
Everything that is corrupt. . .

Taken from Messenjah Selah's album Breaking Babylon Curse

Lyrics to Israel Betta Know by Messenjah Selah

The redeem of the lord say so you know.

Let not your heart.
Let not your mind.
Let not your soul.
Be troubled.
No! No no.
Yes I.

Israel betta know.
Israel yuh betta know.
Who is your God?
The one who’s always in control.
Israel betta know.
Israel yuh betta know.
Who is your God?
The one who reigneth on the throne.

Everything Him run, it no dun til Jah say it dun.
Jah will must be done.
The wicked could never overcome!
You’re gonna be tested and tried.
Stick to Jah side.
Don’t you bow.
So much is happening worldwide.
Only the fittest will survive.
Inna time like now.
Don’t panic, Jah word won’t end.
His love will comfort you.
Give thanks for your life is not taken.
Mercy will follow you. True.
So let not your heart be troubled.
Let not your mind be troubled.
Let not your soul.

Israel betta know.
Israel yuh betta know.
Who is your God?
The one who’s always in control.
Israel betta know.
Israel yuh betta know.
Who is your God?
The one who reigneth on the throne.

Every ting Him run it no dun til Jah say it dun.
Jah will must be done.
Good cannot be overcome.
Be not discouraged or carried away.
By what the news media say.
Its overwhelming I say.
People are tired of the same things everyday.
A nuh matta whatta gwan.
Jah give you peace in the midst of the storm
A no matta the works dem perform.
Jah got you inna Him palm.
When you ride with Jah.
You could never lose your life with Jah.

Israel betta know [know].
Israel yuh betta know [know].
Who is your God?
The one who’s always in control.
Israel betta know [know].
Israel yuh betta know [know].
Who is your God?
The one who reigneth on the throne.

The things them doing.
Don’t let it fool yuh.
And the things them saying.
Don’t let it move yuh.
When the stuff hit the fan, you inna jam.
When you hit rock bottom.
You betta know.
When calamity strike.
When hungry start bite.
When it touch yuh midnite.
You betta know.
When you can’t pay the bills.
When doctor give yuh pills.
Obstacles like mountains and hills.
Rastaman still!
Let the righteous be righteous still!
Let the righteous be righteous still. . .

Taken from Messenjah Selah's album Breaking Babylon Curse

Lyrics to Their Story by Messenjah Selah

Yeah man its all about the breath of life.
Exalt Mama and Papa create yuh.
Yeah man a truth and rights.
Mek dem know.

Goes like this.

Their story could never be my reality [my reality].
A truths and the light they don’t want us to see [they don’t want us to see].
Their story could never be my reality [my reality].
You will never be free if you agree with their story.

Babylon declare war.
Don’t be ignorant.
Misinformation is the seed they plant.
They strategize, propagandize inna note of disguise.
Stand in truth and just star realize.
How could the serpent be wise?

Their story could never be my reality [my reality].
The truth and the light they don’t want us to see [they don’t want us to see].
Their story could never be my reality [my reality].
You will never be free if you agree with their story.

Stolen legacy.
Antiquity. False discovery.
Judea Roman Christianity to replace African Christianity.
They televise the worst of Afrika on TV.
They can’t fool me.
Study and know your history.
Study and know the enemy!

Their story could never be my reality [my reality].
The truth and the light they don’t want us to see [they don’t want us to see].
Their story could never be my reality [my reality].
You will never be free if you agree with their story.

Them say the cow jump over the moon.
And the dish run away with the spoon.
The likkle children deh inna di room.
Watching homosexual and transvestite blue tune.
The preacher just married two groom
I will never stray from the womb.
The truth resurrect from the tomb.
So mi sweep out dem trash with mi broom.

Their story could never be my reality [my reality].
The truths and the light they don’t want you to see [they don’t want us to see].
Their story could never be my reality [my reality].
You will never be free if you agree with their story.

There is at least one bible inna every household.
Yet the truth has not been told, cannot be bought nor sold.
Forces of evil, mysteries unfold.
Their all about control.
They will steal your soul.

Story could never be my reality [my reality].
The truth and the light they don’t want us to see [they don’t want us to see].
Their story could never be my reality [my reality].
You will never be free if you agree with their story.

[Their story].
The more lies you believe, the less truth you know.
[Their story]. . .

Taken from Messenjah Selah's album Breaking Babylon Curse

Lyrics to You Deserve by Messenjah Selah

You you you you you you you you you deserve.
She deserve something real.

Woman you deserve [you deserve].
You deserve to be [you deserve] loved.
And treated with royalty.
You deserve [you deserve].
You deserve to be [you deserve] loved.

You are a Goddess you’re a Queen.
She’s a Princess.
The things you do and where you’ve been.
My raspect you get.
Even though you’re not perfect.
You’re royalness.
To have you in my life, I feel so blessed.
What you serve is what you get.
Got your back so don’t you fret.
You bring me happiness!
You deserve the nicest things.
You deserve the priceless things.
You nuh deserve to be taken for granted.

Woman you deserve [you deserve].
You deserve to be [you deserve] loved. Loved.
Every woman should know, every man should know
And treated with royalty.
Woman you deserve [you deserve].
You deserve to be [you deserve] loved. Loved.
Every woman should know, every man should know.
True love will set you free.

You taught me how you wanna be treated.
How you wanna be loved.
You taught me how to communicate.
And how to touch.
No let them treat you like no scrubs.
No let them use you like no drugs.
Mother Of Creation stand above.
That’s how it is and how it was.
You deserve.
Patience. And overstanding.
You deserve.
Honesty. And good loving.
You nuh deserve to be taken for granted.

Woman you deserve [you deserve].
You deserve to be [you deserve] loved. Loved.
Every woman should know, every man should know
And treated with royalty.
You deserve [you deserve].
You deserve to be [you deserve] loved. Loved.
Every woman should know, every man should know.

And that’s the way its supposed to be.
Yes that’s the way its supposed to be.
That’s the way its supposed to be [beeeeeeeeee].
You deserve!. . .

Taken from Messenjah Selah's album Breaking Babylon Curse