Italian singer Raphael has been on the scene for more than twelve years, but most people away from the Italian reggae scene has probably not heard much about him.
As part of Eazy Skankers he has put out two albums – To the Foundation in 2008 and Changes in 2011. And last year he dropped his debut solo set, a EP produced by Bizzarri Records and titled My Name is Raphael.
Apparently he has done something right because now he’s signed to IrieVibrations Records and his debut solo album Mind vs Heart has just reached the streets.
This 15 track set – 18 if you include three bonus cuts – is a catchy effort and very similar to IrieVibrations’ previous productions. It has a taste of R&B, soul, hip-hop and, nyabinghi and one drop reggae.
His singing style owes quite a lot to Bob Marley. He also tries to rap in the appropriately titled In Every Style. You have to give him credit for trying, but Raphael should stick to singing or maybe singjaying, as he also does on the same track. It works very well and he rides the bouncy riddim effortlessly.
Mind vs Heart is a rich, organic and mature solo debut with some crossover potential. Be sure to check it if you like well-produced European one drop.