"TIME" by Bunny Rugs [Raw Edge Productions/VPAL]
First up this week is a project which we definitely expected to be dealing with last year when bonafide Reggae legend, Bunny Rugs, pushed a solid EP featuring a trio of selections from his forthcoming album. Obviously success from Rugs' 'day job', frontman of the venerable Third World band, who had also released an album in the calendar year, the apparently quite successful "Patriots", had prevented him from making the solo move, but a year and half or so on, "TIME" is nearly upon us. The album comes via Rugs' very own Raw Edge Productions and is distributed through VP Records' distribution arm, VPAL. You should already know what to expect in this case from Rugs and when you learn that he links on this album with a list of downright deafening maestros such as Sly & Robbie, Dean Fraser, Mikey Bennett, Richard Bell and even Dean Pond & Eno Stafford (who lay, WONDERFULLY, the title track from Danny I's "Unchangeable" album for 'Thinking Bout You' as well as producing the album's title track) it should only add to heavy expectations of what should be one of the CLASSIEST sets from 2012. The first single from ”TIME", the very well received and timely 'Land We Love', is currently available on digital single as well so check it out and surely pick up the full album when it reaches. I have a very good feeling about this one.
Potential Rating: 4.5/5
Releases on September 11
CD + Digital
The Soon Come Riddim [JahLight Records]
Next, we make a quick return back to JahLight Records from out of Trinidad who, following the August release of the debut EP from their artist, King Solomon, returns in the first half of September with their next riddim release, the very interesting (and appropriately titled for this post) Soon Come Riddim. JahLight is very much a label known for pushing modern Roots Reggae music, almost exclusively, through prior releases such as the Passover, Final Chapter, and definitely the Mount Zion I (which was absolutely STUNNING in retrospect) riddims, respectively. But this time they're changing things up a bit. The Soon Come is a composition that is probably equal parts R&B and a neo-Gospel of sorts, with just a taste of Reggae thrown in as well. As it is set, the tunes on the riddim also reflect the nature of the riddim with the vocalists going in the direction of a more inspirational and lover's type of vibes. Which vocalists??? Featured are JahLight staple Roxy Singh alongside Rich Angel, Soul Feat Heart and, to no surprise, the aforementioned King Solomon who gives the Soon Come is crowning moment in the form of the hypnotically uplifting tune, 'Dreaming'.
Releases on September 10
The Yard Rock Riddim [Special Delivery]
It's been a minute from last we've heard from the boys and girls at Special Delivery (at least I think it has been) and fortunately they've been at work and in this same post they have two entries. Firstly is the impending Yard Rock Riddim, which I know I've heard somewhere before, but here is the full album. This riddim is an excellent and colourful Dancehall oriented track which serves as a fine backdrop for the likes of Kiprich, Delly Ranx, Teflon, of course Gappy Ranks alongside Winky D and others. When at their best, Special Delivery has very few in the way of peers and it's a joy to see and hear them back at least at some type of consistency this month.
Potential Rating: 4/5
Releases on August 31
The Refresh Riddim [One Wise Records]
I don't think that I've heard of One Wise Records (although they do apparently have some type of working relationship with M9 Entertainment, who we do know from working with Winstrong) and if I haven't they're doing a very nice job of making a first impression on us in the form of their new riddim, the very curious Refresh Riddim. This riddim has so many different things going on in it that I don't know where to begin in describing it, but I'll just say that 'refresh' or . . . Really anything containing the term 'fresh' is a pretty good way of doing that. Providing the vocal ventilation on the riddim is Winstrong, Ishi Dube, Stevie Culture with the title track, Bugle, the inescapable Delly Ranx and others.
And finally coming soon this week is a pair of releases from the formidable Dynasty Records who is currently still riding high from the release of the winning "Journey of 1,000 Miles" album from Perfect Giddimani - the Bubbling & Beginning Riddims, respectively. For its part, the former is very . . . bubbly and is basically a groovy Soca set featuring Bobby Hustle, Kranium, Zamunda and - someone called Delly Ranx. The Beginning (as you may gather from its cover) is a bit more electric, in a Pop-ish kind of way. Longtime Dynasty staple Dway pops in here as do Reggae stars Gyptian and Sizzla Kalonji.
Both release tomorrow
In Stores Now
"Kingston Story" (Deluxe Edition) by Vybz Kartel [Mixpak Records]
Last year, the extremely controversial Dancehall DJ, Vybz Kartel (who I believe is nearing an unfortunate anniversary), stood up with an album release by the name of "Kingston Story" which, to give him his credit, was very well received by his huge fan base for the most part. I'm not someone who really stayed around as a fan of Kartel's following his distinct sound change, so I didn't pay it much attention, but I was, as usual, in the small minority in that instance. A year on the album is re-released by its originators at Mixpak Records in a deluxe version and once again is drawing a substantial amount of attention. And there you have it.
CD + Digital
"SWA: The Sleep With Angels Riddim" [21st - Hapilos]
Next is a big time blast from the past as we go back to the late 90's or so and mine a classic in the form of Sleep With Angels, the LEGENDARY from ace DJ Spragga Benz, and bring it screaming into the present, indirectly. The tune, in name only, serves as a base for a GORGEOUS update from Spragga and now a full riddim project courtesy of the ever-present 21st-Hapilos (and it may just be the very first actual production from the digital juggernaut) (it's always a good day when you can casually mix in a word like 'juggernaut'). Joining The Benz (who did produce the original himself) is a damn impressive roster of artists which includes Tarrus Riley, Bugle, I-Octane, Stein and more. Spragga's tune, unsurprisingly, has also been released as a digital single and I'm happy for it - anything to keep up the name of the glorious original sounds like a good idea to me.
The Longtime Riddim [Special Delivery]
As I alluded to, Special Delivery does the double this week as, along with the soon to arrive Yard Rock Riddim, they're also turning out the full version of an unforgettable composition which well has my attention. The Longtime Riddim is best known as having played the main supporting role for a tune of the same name which proved to be a sizable hit for UK star, Gappy Ranks and it's also made quite an impact working for the likes of Ziggi Recado and J-Boog, all of whom appear on its finally actualized album project. Also on board are Peetah Morgan, Chukki Starr, the gifted Million Stylez, Thriller U, Fiji and even Bajan Soca head, Rupee. Also present is a remixed version of the title track, featuring Gappy alongside Beenie Man. This riddim is beautiful, like most of Special Delivery's work and they may serve up their single finest riddim album to date in its full blooming.
"New Day Dawning" by Pato Banton [Gwarn International]
Also checking in this week is another 'longtime' veteran of the UK scene, Pato Banton who has a new album for himself, "New Day Dawning". Pato is yet another artist who I think people really underestimate in terms of just how popular he is. He has a very large and faithful audience and this album is going to be a big deal for a lot of people. Personally, while I never have been a significant fan, Pato Banton is the type of artist I always mean to go back and try to listen to, so I may just take a listen to his new album. Beat me to it and pick up "New Day Dawning" right now.
CD [I THINK] + Digital
'Work' by Uwe Banton & Mikey General [Al.Ta.Fa.An.]
Strong German veteran, Uwe Banton links with the mighty Mikey General for a sublime big new tune courtesy of Al.Ta.Fa.An., 'Work'. This may be an unusual or unpredicted pairing (and it is in the case of the latter), but the two, in their own ways, have always made really upful and inspirational music and, as I'll say every chance I get the opportunity to do so (and sometimes, just completely randomly), Mikey General is really one of my favourite artists today, so the fact that their respective paths cross on such a nice song is really something special. So check it today.
'Touch You' by Da'Ville & Bunji Garlin [Supersonic Sound]
Another pair of esteemed vocalists, gifted Dancehall vocalist Da'Ville and Soca lyrics champion, Bunji Garlin, unite for a predictably infectious moment for Supersonic Sound from out of Germany, 'Touch You'. The frenetic tune features two artists who have never shied away from stepping a foot in the genre of the other and both are really continuing to do big things as they have both released albums for 2012. Definitely one for the dance floor, so if you feel like moving, don't keep your fucking hands to yourself and check 'Touch You' today.
'Listen To Di Styl' featuring Ward 21 by Mighty Ki La [MKL Productions]
And lastly - While we're still waiting for his new album (and may have to wait for the rest of the year) (that's fine) (not really) the oft-agitated, but extremely talented Mighty Ki La from out of Martinique served up a HUGE tune from earlier this year (and maybe even late last year) when he dropped the heavy 'Listen To Di Styl' alongside Ward 21. The tune has just recently reached the digital side as the latest in a steady stream of predominately impressive singles from the DJ (including at least one more featuring this same cover) and it may just be the finest of them all to my opinion. It's time to do an album and with just a few more tunes like this (which he definitely does have) (biggup Regine), it should be a career's best moment from Mighty Ki La.