On dancehall veteran King Kong’s latest album Ethiopian Dream he tries his best to be a soul singer on a number of tracks, for example album opener Give It Up and the title track. Unfortunately that doesn’t work out particularly well and ruins the chest pounding riddims.
King Kong rose to prominence in the mid 80s with excellent cuts like Mash It Up Already and the gospel-like Emanuel Road for the newly crowned King Jammy and the driving Anthony Red Rose duet Two Big Bull Inna One Pen for the late King Tubby.
King Kong and his contemporaries Nitty Gritty and Tenor Saw had an odd singing style – nasal, monotonous and almost non-melodic. And that style still fits him well as shown on this album. On Serious his nasal self rides a distant version of the lethal Tempo riddim and on Rasta Live On his singing is nicely nonchalant, which also fits his voice.
Ethiopian Dream could have been a strong album if just King Kong had stuck to his strengths.