NYC-based hip-hop duo Smif-N-Wessun has showcased Caribbean influences in their music ever since their debut album Dah Shinin’ back in 1995. Over the years Tek and Steele have sampled Johnny Osbourne and collaborated with artists such as Million Stylez, Chukki Starr, Eek-A-Mouse and Jahdan Blakkamoore, long before he wrote hit songs for Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion aka Snoopzilla.
Now the duo has presented their most reggae-oriented work yet. The six track – ten on the deluxe version – EP Born & Raised is a strong reggae meets hip-hop project. Tek and Steele boasts and brags over grim reggae riddims produced by Beatnick and K-Salaam with guest singers such as Junior Reid, Junior Kelly and Jahdan Blakkamoore.
Best of the bunch is Shots in the Dark, it’s on a hazy version of the mighty Kunta Kinte riddim. But not far after is the title track where Junior Kelly chants the chorus.
Sound Bwoy Bureill was one of the duo’s most Caribbean moments until this excellent EP, and I hope this isn’t a one-off project.