My first musical love affair was with hip-hop in the early 90’s. I almost wore out my CD’s with Cypress Hill, NWA, Public Enemy and many, many other great hip-hop artists and groups from the east coast to the west coast.
To me the 90’s is the golden era for hip-hop, and that’s why I really enjoy Jamaican MC Five Steez’ debut album War for Peace. This 25 year old Kingstonian has managed to rise through the obscure Jamaican hip-hop scene to tell his story to the world.
The 13 cuts are produced but no less than nine different producers and is loaded with haunting, grim beats, wicked, well-thought samples, looped vocal snippets and socially conscious lyrics. Just listen to the brilliant Propheticz or the up-tempo Rebel Music.
Five Steez isn’t arrogant and doesn’t brag about material obsessions, having the shiniest jewelry or the baddest beamer. He rhymes about overcoming obstacles, exceeding expectations, social issues and struggles of everyday life.
This is a bona fide hip-hop album that draws inspiration from jazz, blues, soul, funk and reggae. The only track that lies close to reggae is the Kabaka Pyramid-produced Blazing. Kabaka Pyramid is also one of five guest artists that take the microphone on War for Peace.
Five Steez is not a deejay or a singjay. He’s an MC in the truest sense. So don’t dismiss him as the odd cousin from the country. He’s part of the hip-hop family. He’s the real deal.
War for Peace is available on CD and digital download.