Tag Archives: Hip-hop reggae

Eloquent pop-reggae on R. City’s debut album

RCityALBUMR. City, formerly Rock City, is brothers Theron and Timothy. They were born in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, but moved to Atlanta and later settling in Miami on the U.S. mainland. Their career took off when they started writing for Akon and since then the duo has penned several top hits for a variety of artists, including Rihanna’s Man Down and Miley Cyrus’ We Can’t Stop, as well as contributing to Grammy-nominated albums by Ariana Grande and Iggy Azalea.

But now they have moved from the background to the spotlight. On their debut album What Dreams Are Made Of they tell stories from their childhood and how they landed where they are today. It’s a story about chasing dreams, struggle and hard work – “we went to Atlanta and decided we wasn’t going to leave, with 20 dollars in the pocket and some old jeans, came across a few sales men that sold dreams, but we wasn’t going to quit, by no means, we started meeting with labels, and we were laughed at, like, you from an island trying to rap, go home, please”, puts it nicely.

First single off this uplifting album was the Billboard to ten hitter Locked Away, an ridiculously infectious single featuring the vocal talents of Maroon 5’s lead singer Adam Levine. This Caribbean flavoured pop gem also recently got a dancehall remix treatment, making it even tastier.

What Dreams Are Made Of breaks musical barriers, but stands firmly on Caribbean ground. R. City manages to effortlessly combine dancehall and reggae with hip-hop, R&B, pop and dance music resulting in an insanely catchy and bouncy album full of Caribbean vibes. Imagine Fugees meets Popcaan meets Rihanna.

This is stylish and sunny Caribbean pop of the highest order and it’s just impossible not to move your feet or nod your head when Broadway – which gives Barrington Levy a nice nod – or the brutal Live By the Gun blast through the speakers. And it’s just as impossible not to be touched by beautiful songs like Save My Soul or Don’t You Worry.

A clever and uplifting album that would probably have made it onto my top 25 reggae albums in 2015 list if I had heard about it earlier, even though it’s not really a reggae album.

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Soom T and Monkey Marc fire bullets on Babylon

a1533559532_16Indian-born and Scotland-bred singer, rapper and deejay Soom T has teamed up with Australian producer and beatmaker Monkey Marc on the dark ten track album Bullets over Babylon, a set that crisscrosses boundaries between reggae and dubstep and hip-hop and jazz.

The bass lines are charged to the max and Soom T’s delivery is edgy and she successfully blends fierce deejaying and tongue twisting techniques with airy singing. Monkey Marc’s forward-thinking and multi-layered beats are atmospheric and dystopic with plenty of nods to hip-hop from the early 90s.

And even though Bullets over Babylon is the soundtrack to the apocalypse there’s room for a bit of optimism between all darkness and dystopic views on the world. Drill has a catchy, almost infectious, melody, and The Rebellion has a funky groove and shout-along chorus.

Bullets over Babylon sneaks up on you and demands a few listens before it can be fully appreciated. It’s refreshingly original and will keep your head nodding and thinking for almost an hour.

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