Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rewind!: "No Fear No Man" by Anthony Que

"No Fear No Man" by Anthony Que [ReggaeLand Productions]

Overlook it if you like. Veteran vocalist, Anthony Que, was one of many artists enjoying what was a big and breakout year in 2012. In his particular case, this was definitely due to a pair of album releases which, collectively, at least in my opinion, featured some of the finest work the singer had ever done in his career and went a very long way into making him someone of whom I can firmly say that I am now a fan and very much anticipating his future work. On one end, there was the MASSIVE "Meditation Time" from 149 Records. Although I wouldn't say at this point that it was an album which has gotten its respect and due attention (because it was amazing), it did get more of both than its counterpart, which was also fantastic and wholly entertaining. The other album would come courtesy of ReggaeLand Productions who had a huge year of their own as, along with Que, the label would also deliver debut sets from both Chantelle Ernandez and Malijah and a strong album from Singer Jah, "Warrior Of Jah Army”. Today we take a look back at what was, in my opinion, the clear champion of that strong back and REWIND! "No Fear No Man" by Anthony Que.

#1. 'Cyaa Stop Jah Blessings'

"Dem caah stop wi blessings
Dem caah step pon wi pride
Di wicked won't last for long
Only the righteous will survive"

TEARS! The opener of "No Fear No Man", 'Cyaa Stop Jah Blessings', was a favourite of mine from the very first time that I heard the tune and it's grown, considerably, in the past five months or so. This tune is really one just speaking of maintaining oneself through difficult times and not letting people without good intentions in their heart, but definitely accepting the help and the gifts of positive people. It also had such a large amount and properly focused PASSION to it which so much helps the presentation of a song like this, particularly at the head of an album. MAGIC! 

#2. 'Rastaman House'

The very clever 'Rastaman House' is another tune that I think I appreciate more now than I did previously and I think that's because I appreciate the originality here. If you look at that title you come away thinking of one thing --a very spiritual song-- but that isn't what it ultimately is. It's a love song to it's a core, a very cool love song, but one which well manages to dazzle throughout. 

#3. 'World Keep Spinning Around'

"The world keeps spinning around
Spinning around, for you and me
Once you found true love girl, then you would see"

As I said previously, the third song on the album, the sparkling 'World Keep Spinning Around', does a very good job in combining the sentiments and moods expressed and displayed within its two predecessors. This song maintains the level of upfulness outlined by 'Cyaa Stop Jah Blessings' and it's also a love song, like 'Rastaman House'. The results are spectacular on a tune which has not ceased to make me SMILE from the very first time that I heard it. 

#4. 'Calm The Beast'

Despite its very serious, and somewhat gloomy, nature, one of the most striking things about 'Calm The Beast' is its amazing sound, sonically speaking it is, by far, one of the most attractive songs on "No Fear No Man”. But its message is also very crucial and significant. When you combine the two, it makes for a very compelling song and another one which is extremely difficult to forget (not that I've tried, because I haven't).  

#5. 'Good News'

Looking back now, 'Good News' is such an original song in what it does. It is a social commentary, essentially, but it's also kind of a commentary on top of that commentary. What Anthony Que does is to go over so many of the problems in the world today and, in that respect, it is a straight forward tune. The twist is that, along with covering it and giving the 'news', he also comments on the news. His comment? He's tired of it!

"Another bad news again
Can't we hear some good news my friends"

It's also a very revealing moment to my ears as you get the feeling that it's all beginning to sicken the singer, and justly so, and he puts it together brilliantly in a song which will likely NEVER receive the credit its due. It's amazing.

#6. 'In This Yah Time'

While not as twisting as the track which precedes it on the album and far more straight-forward, on the whole, 'In This Yah Time' is also a big tune. Along with the sweetness that is ReggaeLand's Cultura Riddim underpinning it, this piece really made its quality in my mind due to the large amount of good COMMON SENSE you'll find expressed on it. 

#7. 'Babywrong Don't Know'

Really now digging into the ideas behind the writing of 'Babywrong Don't Know' and I'm inclined to say (even though I'm already tired of saying it), that it's now become a more noteworthy composition for me than it was previously. The most interesting aspect of it has turned into the way that Que gives examples of powerful leaders of the past and holds them up not only as examples to the leaders of the future, but to the leaders of today as well. He also seems to 'give' it to the masses as a sign of what good leadership is and how unfortunately rare such a thing has become. 

#8. 'Beautiful Mother Nature'

'Beautiful Mother Nature' (and its great chorus) features the artist taking time out to give credit and love and respect to the world, herself. Two things now standout from this song to me: The first is how it is almost set up as a love song. Surely you could easily make the case that it is a love song, but this isn't the usual way in which such a song is delivered. The other thing should go without saying, but the riddim on this track is… divine.

#9. 'Change The World'

'Change The World' may've been the first single from the album as it released earlier in the year, if I recall correctly, and while I may have chosen something different, initially (and I might even still), I have to say that despite the fact that I prefer other songs here, I can see why ReggaeLand and Anthony Que chose to give this tune so much attention. Along with being excellent (and it is), like 'Good News', it seems to be another song which very much brings together the ideas of several different songs and, perhaps, a large chunk of the album, as a whole. It is somewhat of a love song, but it is one of a very unusual quality as what Que is saying is that two people should be together because, in being together, they have the opportunity to do great things, thus 'changing the world'. I take it to being more of an inspirational piece, but it is one which is so finely broad and can be left open to just as wonderfully wide array of interpretations. 

#10. 'Holy Ground'

"All I want to know is my real name
My Afrikan name"

Slightly reminiscent of the MAMMOTH 'Chosen One' from the "Meditation Time" album, 'Holy Ground' is nearly just as towering and has become one of the best songs on either project for me. This song is one which is so appropriate to my ears. It speaks of and makes a big deal out of things such as good manners and being respectful and respectable to who you are and your heritage. As an extension to this tune, which is very much a historical one, I also wanted to place it in a more contemporary direction and, I think that Que would agree with me that you don't have to actually STAND on "holy ground" to behave like you are and, in fact that ground is one which can move with an individual who is doing the right things in his/her life. A BEAUTIFUL song!

#11. 'Blowing In The Wind'

"I want to lead my people to the Promised Land
As I put pen to paper, listen the melodies of my song
Where is the love we should be spreading?
I don't like this direction that we're heading

Blowing in the wind!
I can feel a change is coming!
Blowing in the wind!
This mystical feeling that I'm feeling!

What's the meaning of life, when life is just for living?
You want everything for yourself when you should be giving
The world inna world of crisis
People running, don't know where to turn
We need a change!”

Still trying to facilitate change, Anthony Que brings forth another really nice song in 'Blowing In The Wind'. The sound of this track makes it a standout, alone, and it develops all along its way (you eventually hear straight handclaps which is a great addition), seemingly to make a tune which is as captivating as it is unifying. Mission accomplished! 

#12. 'No Fear No Man'


I feel HIS miracles in the wind that blows upon my face
I see HIS spirit in the trees that blow and the mountains
Giving thanks for Your blessing, wonderful Glory!
I know Jah, You've always been there protecting me 


The people need words of wisdom, to comfort their soul
Too much negativity and bloodshed taking control
Society don't really care for humanity
Oh Jah, won't You come and set Your people free!


BOOM! The MASSIVE praising title track of "No Fear No Man" FIRMLY remains its single biggest moment for me. There was absolutely nothing but beautiful music here and it's one of the best songs Anthony Que has ever song. AMAZING!

#13. 'Poor People Cry Out'

The final original song on the album, 'Poor People Cry Out' had no difficulty at all maintaining the quality levels instituted during the twelve songs coming before it. It turns out to be a strong social commentary and, just maybe, the single strongest lyrical effort present on this album. These days, although the vibes are great and Anthony Que also sounds in a great form, it is the writing of this song which stands out so vividly and that definitely helps to make it a winner for me.

"Some say a world crisis
Too much high prices
And a too much regulation of the people
Dem ah trapped under frustration
Working from 19 til yuh 65 for a pension -
And caan pay di doctor bill
What a situation!" 

#14. 'Calm The Beast [Acoustic]'

The streamlined and acoustic version of a beautiful song is… still beautiful. The acoustic version of 'Calm The Beast' ever further highlighted the mixing of a kind of melancholy song with a bright and nearly explosive Roots Reggae track. Gorgeous. 

#15. 'Blowing In The Wind [Remix]'

Call it Techno or Electric or whatever you like, the remixed version of 'Blowing In The Wind' was somewhere in there. If you haven't heard it, I can tell you that it was far better than you're likely thinking (… and even if you didn't like it, the original is on the same album so stop whining!). 

#16. 'No Fear No Man [Acoustic]'

And finally, as if the trio of remixes were a microcosm of the album, as a whole, the best of them was the acoustic lick of the title track. Still so completely impressive. Still so completely perfect.

"Cause I've been giving Jah the praises all my life"
Much like the "Meditation Time" album, this is a set which, throughout, is subtly dynamic. Although with some of the material here it certainly isn't as 'restrained', in the end it makes for a very fun Roots Reggae album which is something that I hope, going forward, becomes a signature of Anthony Que's music. In 2012 he not only showed that he had that capacity, to make such an exciting brand of Roots music, but he put on display what is, I'm assuming, the height of his talents (if he can somehow have an even stronger year then… we're just going to have reassess a whole heap of different things). In doing so he impressed so much and, like I said, made at least one new fan in me. So, if you were one of the many people who overlooked the efforts of the singer in 2012, definitely pick up "Meditation Time", but also be sure to check out the outstanding "No Fear No Man" from Anthony Que as well. Biggup ReggaeLand Productions.

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