The first time I heard about Chronixx was in January 2012. He had just dropped Beat & A Mic and was at the time regarded as a very promising talent, but I don’t think anyone at that time had a clue of what was about to come.
A few years later – maybe after he dropped his Mazor Lazer endorsed mixtape – he became the talk of the town and his name was everywhere and suddenly he was to perform live at The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Talent is of course key to success, but clever marketing is also highly important. Just look at what Chris Blackwell did for Bob Marley back in the 70s.
Chronixx debut album Chronology landed last Friday. It’s the follow-up to his long-playing EP Dread & Terrible, a set put out in 2014 and featured a killer cut like Here Comes Trouble. So, it has taken Chronixx about five years to record his debut album. In the meantime he has – with Jamaican standards – recorded scarcely with only a handful of singles each year. And that has proven to be successful. Everything he has recorded has been well-produced and not routine. Quality rather than quantity so to speak.
Chronology is less rootsy than expected and most of the tough reggae material is on the first part of the album with stunning tracks like the autobiographical Spanish Town Rocking, the pulsating Skankin’ Sweet where Chronixx sings his heart out, the father and son combination Big Bad Sound and the Latin-tinged Ghetto Paradise, which borrows from Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise, a track maybe best-known through Coolio’s sample on his monster smash Gangsta’s Paradise.
This is a dynamic and multi-layered effort with plenty of soulful depth where Chronixx is not afraid of trying new paths, for example utilizing a string orchestra on several cuts, including the soothing Tell Me Now. There are plenty of sonic surprises, infectious melodies and sing-a-long choruses. Just listen to I Can, a song with an arena chorus that will probably make Coldplay envy, or the scenic Loneliness.
With Chronology Chronixx expands the roots reggae horizon and in a few years this album will rank as one of reggae’s landmark albums.