Guinean singjay sensation Takana Zion’s latest album Kakilambe is a huge departure from his previous sets, particularly last year’s monster release Rasta Government, an album recorded in Jamaica and dedicated 70’s roots reggae.
Kakilambe’s 16 tunes strays in several different directions and it’s a fascinating journey starting with the partly acoustic dancehall flavored Abada, followed by the rootsy Assali with its pulsating organ and bluesy guitar, then turning to the Ibiza club banger Wali, after which Takana Zion turns to rock with the Pearl Jam styled Aminata.
This album is anywhere and everywhere. It’s boisterous, playful, rhythmically innovative and filled with traditional Guinean folk music and pop hooks, which certainly makes it stand out.
Takana Zion’s play with different languages – English, French and his native susu – also contributes to the somewhat schizophrenic feel of the album, but at the same time it offers plenty of sunshine, hypnotic beats and enthusiastic attempts to do house music.
I’ve been impressed by Takana Zion since I heard his debut album Zion Prophet five years ago. I still hold his talent and vocal skills high, even though parts of this album have him going in the wrong direction.
Sizzla is back with his second album in just one month. February saw the release of the Caveman produced set The Chant, and now it’s time for Sizzla in Gambia, mostly recorded in the African country during a visit in 2008, with post-production in Jamaica by DJ Karim of Stainless Music.
Since 2009 Sizzla has dropped five albums. Three of these – Crucial Times, The Chant and Ghetto Youth-Ology – have been produced by people said to have worked the deejay since the beginning, and marketed with a back to the roots type of campaign.
And Sizzla in Gambia differs from these sets – not only by its more contemporary producer – by being more dancehall-driven, even though hip-hop influences are also apparent. There’s only one straight one drop – the previously released Blackman Rise. The other eleven songs are previously unreleased.
Sizzla in Gambia is far from solid, but contains a healthy dose of catchy melodies and conscious and spiritual lyrics.
The uplifting, yet frenetic, African chant Welcome to Africa opens the album and is later followed by the acoustic, yet furious, Make a Visit, which hits you like a punk rock song, while Where’s the Love is almost Barry White-like in its tone and mood.
It’s been a while since Sizzla dropped a real gem, but this album is together with last year’s The Scriptures his most cohesive set in years.
I förra veckan släpptes Lutan Fyahs nya skiva med den anspråkslösa titeln The King’s Son. Tidigare i år släpptes plattorna African Be Proud och Justice. Och i december 2008 släpptes singelsamlingen Africa. Lutan Fyahs utgivningstakt påminner alltmer om Sizzlas hyperproduktion.
Singelsamlingen Africa var med sina 30 spår en ojämn historia. Likaså den hip-hop inspirerade African Be Proud. Det starkaste kortet av hans senaste album är Justice, som producerades tillsammans med amerikanska Philadub.
The King’s Son innehåller 13 låtar, däribland The Motherland Calling, en version av 2007-års Ras Shiloh-samarbete Mama Africa. Plattan uppges endast finnas tillgänglig via download och kan exempelvis köpas genom Juno.