Agent Sasco’s, aka Assassin, fourth studio album Hope River is his most versatile and intimate to date. He is one of Jamaica’s most successful dancehall artists and is also popular with hip-hop crowds, showcased by collaborations with Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Raekwon the Chef and Royce Da 5’ 9”.
On Hope River he is accompanied by an all-star Jamaican cast of performers, including Dre Island, Wayne Marshall, Stephen Marley, Kabaka Pyramid, Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica, Romain Virgo and many more. Most of them appear on the upbeat closing track All Aboard.
Agent Sasco reflects on his upbringing in Kintyre in the parish of St. Andrew in Jamaica and he passionately shares his beliefs in a greater force making life and love possible. It’s an album about hope, gratitude and spirituality. It’s also musically diverse and Agent Sasco borrows from gospel, ska, hip-hop and nyabinghi on this stylish set.
Two of the cuts – Energy River and My Song – stand out because of their insanely catchy sing-a-long choruses, two songs sounding like they were written for large stadiums rather than small clubs.
Agent Sasco – with his authoritative tone and rockstone voice – has once again created a landmark album.
Last week rockstone-voiced dancehall deejay Assassin aka Agent Sasco dropped his first studio album in almost a decade, and Theory of Reggaeativity marks a departure from most of his previous releases.
Theory of Reggaeativity is his third album and it’s a pivotal one in his career since it’s almost exclusively dedicated to reggae, sometimes leaning towards hip-hop, with a few amendments and detours. Assassin has aimed to expand and improve the sound of reggae creating his own take on the genre.
The set boasts an incredible and interesting roster of artists, producers and musicians. Raging Fyah provides instrumentation on the powerful Stronger, Chronixx lends his smooth voice to the upbeat Slave no More and Protoje aka Diggy British showcases his production skills on the pulsating Feeling Highrie and Reggae Origin. The brightest shining highlight is however Health & Wealth, on which Assassin spits lyrics over a monstrous version of the mighty Cuss Cuss riddim.
Theory of Reggaeativity is a stellar album and a landmark in Assassin’s career. It’s a reflective and conscious set painting a vivid portrait of reggae and its diverse set of sounds, styles and themes.
Maxi Priest is an extremely successful British reggae artist with over 15 million sold albums worldwide, a number one hit on Billboard and a Grammy nomination under his belt. He has kept a low profile for a while, but now he’s back with a brand new studio album titled Easy to Love, available on June 10th in the U.S., June 16th in the UK, June 30th in France and June 20th in the rest of Europe.
“This album is about time, and a moment,” says Maxi Priest in a press release.
The new album collects eleven tracks and a combination with no other than lovers rock maestro Beres Hammond and dancehall don Agent Sasco. In a press release the album is described as sophisticated lovers rock and an effortless blend of reggae, R&B and dancehall, as shown on lead single Easy to Love, which reached number one on reggae charts last summer.
The title track features legendary drum and bass twins Sly & Robbie, who’ve played on some of Maxi Priest’s biggest hits, including Wild World, Some Guys Have All The Luck and the monster hit Close To You. The title track also comes with a wicked remix featuring rising UK dancehall deejay Stylo G.
Greensleeves’ Most Wanted compilations have up to now often been awarded to artists with a rather long career behind them, such as Johnny Osbourne, Chukki Starr and Bushman.
Now things have changed since hardcore dancehall deejay Assassin aka Agent Sasco has a Most Wanted compilation to put in his shelf.
This rough and angry deejay has made some very worthwhile efforts. A great number of them are collected on this 12 track compilation that spans over his ten years of recording for producers such as Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor, Shane C. Brown and Steven “Lenky” Marsden.
Both the anthemic Hand inna di Air and Ruffest and Toughest are great examples of the new dancehall and contemporary Jamaican deejays.
As usual with compilations there are tracks that I would have selected. In this case I really miss the raw Child Molester on Birchill’s Baddaz riddim.
Assassin has proven himself during the past ten years, just check out the massive mixtape produced by DJ Waxfiend. His great flow and thoughtful lyrics will hopefully be heard for many years to come.