Jamaican singer and singjay Teacha Dee dropped his debut album Reggae Souljahs: Beating Babylon With Music back in 2011 and now he has released his second album Rastafari Way, a set borrowing its title from his hit song with the same name.
The album is in the same musical vein as Rastafari Way and fans of the Teacha will be familiar with production and flow. This is contemporary, positive and uplifting roots reggae with bouncy bass lines and strong melodies.
Highlights among the 13 cuts include the infectious Do Today, on House of Riddim’s Danger Zone riddim, Jah Jah is Calling, also a House of Riddim production, and the sweet Keep Me Away.
Teacha Dee is a popular performer in Europe and with this release he will hopefully gain fans both in Europe and other parts of the world.
The eccentric Perfect Giddimani showcases his extensive spectrum of styles on his latest album Better Off Dread, a 14 track set with production helmed by a number of different producers from around the world – House of Riddim, Weedy G Soundforce, Dreadsquad and Sly & Robbie, to mention a few.
This is his ninth album and it’s a wicked and wild cocktail of roots reggae, rock, pop, dancehall and hip-hop. And over the course of the album’s 14 tracks Perfect sings, raps, deejays, shouts and whispers. From total aggressiveness to sweet pop choruses and back again.
He also uses lyrics from Yellowman’s classic Nobody Move, Nobody get Hurt, borrows the melody from 80s monster smash hit We Are the World and relicks Augustus “Gussie” Clarke’s mighty Rumours riddim.
But that’s not all. He also makes rock-inspired dancehall as well as mento-inspired ditto.
Certainly this eclectic album would have been even better off without a few tracks. But one thing is sure, it never gets dull or boring.
Jamaican fiercely well-dressed singjay Perfect Giddimani returns with another European produced effort following two albums handled mainly by U.S. producers.
This time he has teamed-up with Austria’s top notch production team House of Riddim, responsible for several smashes in the past years. Over the Top collects 20 tracks built on live instrumentation with some additional drum machines and synths.
Perfect’s style is something of an acquired taste and will probably take a few moments to fully appreciate. He balances between high-pitched singing and ferocious and hot-tempered deejaying.
Over the Top contains lots of singing, which suits the mostly smooth and slick backing quite nicely, even though I’ve always preferred Perfect’s deejay side rather than his singing. He has a way of feeling out of control and he’s just as unpredictable as the weather here in Sweden.
It can be confusing, but at the same time interesting. It keeps the listeners on their toes and wondering what will happen next. Just check his yodeling-like singing on Never Fail. I didn’t see that coming.
Over the Top is a strong set. Not as great as Back for the First Time, but way better than last year’s Journey of a 1,000 Miles.
Californian singjay Jah Sun impressed last year with his third album Battle the Dragon recorded for a variety of European and U.S. producers. Now he’s back with his fourth set and the recipe is the same, but this time the formula has been perfected.
The singles that have preceded Rise as One – Everyday of the Week and the Kabaka Pyramid combination Foundation – show just how great this 15 track album is. It’s loaded with energy, excellent vocal arrangements, memorable hooks and pop melodies as well as pulsating one drop riddims and bouncy hip-hop jams.
As with Jah Sun’s previous albums this set also offers positive and conscious lyrics along with several notable combinations, for example Never Stray with Gappy Ranks, a tune with a hook that sticks like glue, or the playful Top Ranking with Chronixx. On No Matter Sizzla shows good old skills and Can’t Live, with Richie Spice singing the chorus, has a distinct melody and irresistible groove.
On the title track Jah Sun sings “This is the song that mainstream would never play, this is the chant that was banned by every DJ, no radio or TV would a touch it, why? Cause this a the real reggae music, this a the real ragamuffin… Commercial top ten a get bun up everyday”.
That’s sadly the reality, but don’t let that stop you from check out Rise as One, because Jah Sun has together with producers such as Bost & Bim, Bizzarri, House of Riddim and Oneness created one of the best albums this year. It might not be strictly authentic Jamaican in its approach, but it shows that European and U.S. reggae is a force to be reckoned with and Jah Sun has definitely risen to the top of the game.
Three years ago Jahsolidrock Music blessed the world with the brilliant and critically acclaimed album Judgement Time from Jamaican singer Chezidek, a set produced and recorded together with Dutch musicians Not Easy At All.
Now Chezidek has returned with a new organic and original album on Jahsolid Rock. But Not Easy At All is not involved much this time. The riddim tracks are instead mainly provided by Austria’s House of Riddim, Dutch band The Skanking Monks and Ziggi Recado’s keyboard player Rekesh Dukaloo. And the result is very pleasant and highly enjoyable.
Judgement Time was more or less presented in a showcase style, i.e. a vocal followed by a version. This is not the case with The Order of Melchezedik. It collects only two versions. The rest are vocal cuts.
More of Chezidek’s highly individual, distinct and sometimes unbalanced high-pitched vocal style. But The Order of Melchezedik contains some of his finest moments as a singer and his pitch control is above his usual standard.
There is not a dull moment on The Order of Melchezedik and the musicianship is first rate, particularly the horn section, the smooth guitar and the exquisite harmonies.
This is definitely a set directly aimed at the best of the year lists. It’s currently exclusively sold via the label’s website, and will be available on CD and other digital platforms around 20 April.
Last night Jamaican singjay Lutan Fyah performed in Sweden for the third time. Last time he was here he did a decent performance at Uppsala Reggae Festival. That time he lacked energy and the setting wasn’t the best since he took stage early in the evening when it was still quite bright outside.
This time he performed at a small venue packed almost to the max.
He took the stage at 11.30pm. A vision in orange, starting off with a furious version of Ungrateful on the Cardiac Bass riddim. This tune is usually close to a ballad, but backing band House of Riddim turned the chorus into a dancehall frenzy.
Lutan Fyah oozes confidence on stage and gets a warm response from the crowd throughout the night, such as when the whole place joins in on the chorus of Rasta Still deh Bout.
He is an excellent performer and can easily go from growling to singing. And this is one of the reasons why an almost 90 minute long concert never gets dull – the versatility of the material.
He mixes sweet ballads with hardcore deejaying where he bolts across the stage with his knees up to his chin. And House of Riddim is a certainly a very capable band that easily turns each song into something new and fresh. They also know how to travel on some psychedelic dubwise excursions.
In the hip-hop tinged One Life on the Clockwork riddim and Come Over on the Minor riddim the crowd reaches climax. And when Lutan Fyah walks off stage at close to 1.00am Kägelbanan is like a sauna. The only thing that I miss is Save the Juvenile, probably still Lutan Fyah’s best song.
Fantan Mojah takes part in the younger generation of bobo dreads, a Rastafarian wing lead by artists such as Sizzla, Capleton and Anthony B. High-octane deejays that made a name for themselves with their angry vocal style and lyrics of godly living.
And this evening at Sweden’s Öland Roots Festival Fantan Mojah certainly represents. He has enough energy to power a small city and a confidence that touches on hubris.
He is supported by Austrian House of Riddim and, on some tunes, Zareb. He starts off with a chant to Jah and continues with well-known and less familiar songs, including Nah Build Great Man, the Jah Cure original King in This Jungle and King of Kings. And the royal theme returns later on in the concert when Fantan Mojah points to the festival’s two promoters and exclaims “I’m the fucking king, I’m the king of Sweden”.
But his confidence reaches beyond that. Fantan Mojah shouts, in a tribute to a number of legendary Jamaican artists, that he’s “the next fucking legend”. He also takes the opportunity to act reverend to bless and consecrate two loving couples on the stage, an act that gets mixed reactions. Some in the crowd seem embarrassed while others cheer as one of the couples passionately kiss.
Fantan Mojah’s long talks are at times parodic. He rants at length about equality, justice, contempt of politicians and hatred of paedophiles, and requests raised hands – or “lion paws” – from all those in the audience who agree with him. Needless to say, not many disagree that paedophiles belong behind bars. The crowd yields to the artist and raises hundreds of lion paws.
Fantan Mojah undoubtedly gives a massive performance and for the most part the audience is onboard. For example, he manages to keep hands clapping throughout Hail the King. A great achievement when we’re approaching the wee hours of the morning.
Natty King är tillbaka med en ny fullängdare. Born To Be Free är hans andra sedan debuten No Guns To Town från 2005.
Även om han inte släppt några fullängdare har han inte legat på latsidan, det visar inte minst singelsamlingen Trodding från i fjol. 2008 släppte han också hyllade Real Herbalist, en singel som producerades av House of Riddim, gänget som även ligger bakom stora delar av Born To Be Free. Förväntningarna från min sida är minst sagt höga eftersom just den låten är en av mina favoriter från 2000-talets första decennium.
Nya plattan innehåller 16 spår varav ett antal är kända sedan tidigare, bland annat ovan nämnda Real Herbalist samt The Truth och den Bassrunner-producerade tungviktaren Purge Dem på Prisonbreak-rytmen. Resten är nytt och låter ungefär som man kan förvänta sig – välproducerad one drop med en hiphop-influens här och en nyabinghi-influens där.
Natty King har ett särpräglat uttryckssätt och hans wailande och rösttrixande funkar utmärkt. Han har influenser från både Dennis Brown och Michael ”Mykal” Rose, men lyckas ändå skapa en egen stil. Personligen tycker jag att han ibland blir väl nasal, men han har också en innerlighet få sångare kommer i närheten av. Lyssna bara på sorgliga Care For Life, där det låter som att är på väg att falla i tårar.
Men trots den ibland något nasala sången, så är det här en platta som sannolikt förtjänar en plats på 2010-års topplistor. Natty King och House of Riddim har gjort en riktigt bra platta.