Jamaican hip-hop artist Five Steez follows up on his debut album War For Peace, released in 2012. His new project is an EP titled These Kingston Times. With its eight tracks it’s said in a press release to capture the modern tale of the Jamaican capital.
“I wanted to paint my city the way I see it, and in a way I’ve never heard the story told before in music,” says Five Steez in a press release and continues:
“Since hip-hop’s genesis with DJ Kool Herc, there has always been a Jamaican influence and involvement in the genre, but you’ve never heard about actual life here in ‘yard’, as we affectionately call it. It’s a new perspective in hip-hop, but parallel to that of urban environments worldwide.”
Jamaica is often recognized worldwide for its music, athletes and beautiful beaches, but the country has also developed a reputation of having one of the highest rates of murder and questionable killings by police as well as widespread government corruption. Much of this has historically taken place in Kingston. And these two sides – paradise and slum – are portrayed by Five Steez on These Kingston Times.
The EP drops on October 14, but the first single Deadly off the set is already available, and it’s ready for free download on Bandcamp until the project hits the streets.
Deadly is produced by DJ Crooks, and features a classic hip-hop beat mixed with a vintage reggae sound, a Dennis Brown sample and a signature dancehall chant.
“I had fun with this song because it’s so hip-hop, and it fuses elements from different Jamaican genres so well. I just went in with the flow and, of course, I had to big up people like Heavy D and Chubb Rock, who were also born in Jamaica,” explains Five Steez.
“I’m glad that Five Steez rocked it like he did,” says California-based, Jamaica-born DJ Crooks, and adds:
“It’s hip-hop at its purest, really. This is how we can honour the dynamic nature of the Jamaican music culture, paying respect to reggae and hip-hop at the same time.”