Legendary Grammy-winning production duo Sly & Robbie rally in artists from Japan, Jamaica and the U.S. for their new album Reggae Connection. With nine Grammy nominations and two Grammy wins the esteemed Jamaican drum and bass duo is no strangers to success and their music has changed the reggae landscape several times during the past 30 years.
Reggae Connection is the follow up release to their 2013 Grammy-nominated reggae album New Legend – Jamaica 50th Edition. This new ten track compilation features an eclectic group of musicians over Sly & Robbie’s riddims. The album’s first single Gangsta Luv is sung by the up-and-coming all girl Jamaican group KGN21 with dancehall legend Mr. Vegas thrown in the mix.
The set also features a number of cover versions, including a reggae rendition of Maroon 5’s One More Night from Jamaican songstress Nioma and a dancehall-flavored version of The Wonder Girls’ Nobody.
In addition to singers from their native country, Sly & Robbie have invited multiple vocalists from around the globe. Hawaiian roots-reggae singer Irie Love lends her emotive vocals to So In Love while with no less than four Japanese singers are featured on the album.
Holland has done very well in the world cup. Yesterday evening, the orange heroes defeated Uruguay with 3-2. However, it has also been great times on the reggae front for the Dutch. Ziggi Recado and Smiley has released good material recently and production team Not Easy At All was in part responsible for the acclaimed Judgement Time by Chezidek. And now label Rock N’ Vibes releases Genesis by Maikal X, his debut album.
And one thing is certain with Maikal X – he is a gifted singer with a good voice that is reminiscent of the late and great Dennis Brown as well as his adepts Frankie Paul, Luciano and Bushman. And he manages his voice well on this 14 track set with mainly one drop rhythms on live instrumentation.
Maikal X has already released one of the best tunes this year – Get Away – produced by Curtis Lynch on an updated version of the Police in Helicopter rhythm. This tune is unfortunately not included on Genesis. However, included are singles The Best in You and Here She Comes, a reggae version of Daryl Hall and John Oates 80’s classic Maneater. A nice version that will surely appeal even to the more inexperienced reggae listener.
The production is mainly done by Berteaut “Mr Rude” Fleming. It is smooth and polished and reminds of Don Corleon and Kemar “Flava” McGregor. And it’s probably no coincidence that the great Don Corleon has handled the production duties on The Best In You.
Lies borrow heavily from Coxsone Dodd’s classic rhythm Breaking Up and Born To Die is based on the powerful Collie Weed rhythm, released earlier this year.
Maikal X has also included three strong combinations – Peetah Morgan, Luciano and Irie Love. The duet with Luciano is a surely a nice tune, but the vocals are too similar. Perhaps it would have been better to include a singer with a different expression. The combo with Irie Love is bouncy thing with a 80’s flavour and the tune with the Morgan sibling is the albums strongest and well in line with Get Away.