UK reggae has always appealed to me. From the early days of Dandy in the 60’s and the heavy roots in 70’s to the fast chatters of the 80’s. Nowadays UK reggae is represented by steppers and the sweet sounds of Gappy Ranks.
One of UK dancehall deejay pioneers is Tippa Irie, probably best known for 80’s classics Hello Darling and the amusing Complain Neighbour.
If I’ve done my math right, Tippa Irie’s new album Stick To My Roots is his sixteenth. Three years has passed since the jam-packed Talk the Truth.
Stick To My Roots is done in collaboration with Germany’s Far East Band and is labelled as his best work in 25 years.
I have been looking forward to this new effort since Tippa Irie has dropped some nice work recently – Tippa On Da Mic on Curtis Lynch’s Come Down rhythm and Bad Boy, based on Inner Circle’s soundtrack to TV-series Cops.
And Stick To My Roots is not a bad album at all. Even though I had preferred more deejaying rather than singing. I’m a big fan of the fast chatting style and Tippa Irie has always had a wicked flow.
Stick To My Roots is versatile and conscious. The majority of songs are culturally themed, such as the title track and Only Jah Jah. The closing track – Helping Hand – seems inspired by Twinkle Brothers Jahovia and Deh Side Me revitalizes Rudy Mills early reggae tune John Jones with good results.
There is however some strange dance tracks included. Those seem out of context and might have been a good idea in the studio. The keyboard in One of Those Days sound like early 90’s Snap! and Wine It could have been recorded by the new generation of Jamaican dancehall producers.
If Stick To My Roots would have stuck to Tippa Irie’s roots it would probably have been even better.