Tag Archives: Jah Sun

Another head-nodder from Jah Sun

jahsun-newparadigmFor his brand new album New Paradigm U.S. reggae singjay Jah Sun has teamed up with Austria-based record label House of Riddim.

On the 16 track set they have invited an impressive roster of contemporary reggae artists from Jamaica and Europe – Dre Island, Million Stylez, I-Octane, Randy Valentine, Nikki Burt and Charly B.

House of Riddim has produced all tracks, which is rather unusual in reggae, and the album is solid, cohesive and firmly rooted in contemporary and up-tempo one drop reggae. Jah Sun sings, deejays and even showcases his rapping skills on a few tracks.

Best of the bunch are album opener New Paradigm, the Dre Island combination Carry On, with its dramatic strings, and the fist pumping Morning Sun, complete with intense horns and punky energy.

Included are also a few radio-friendly cuts, for example the slick I-Octane combination Peace Cry and Only Human, a cut sounding a bit like Paul Simon’s pop reggae smash hit You Can Call Me Al from the mid-80s.

Jah Sun is definitely a force to be reckoned with –as he also has proven on previous sets, particularly the excellent Rise as One – but this album means no paradigm shift in reggae; it’s actually rather traditional and the sound of reggae will probably stay the same.

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It’s Crunch Time

One of last year’s best album releases was Jah Sun’s Rise as One, and one of its many highlights was the up-tempo Richie Spice combination Can’t Live Good, a cut produced by Dynasty Records.

The label has happily enough voiced a bunch of other artists on that tasty riddim, a riddim titled Crunch Time. The one riddim album collects impressive cuts from the likes of Gappy Ranks, Lutan Fyah, Delly Ranx, Bobby Hustle and Sensation & Jus Goodie.

Check Unity Sound’s megamix below and be prepared on September 2 when the riddim drops.

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Natural niceness from Bizzarri Records

00-Natural-Thing-Riddim-CoverNever Stray is one of the strongest cuts on Jah Sun’s excllent album Rise as One. It’s a combination with Gappy Ranks, and it was great news when I found out that the label behind the production – Italy’s Bizzarri Records – had put out a one riddim album based on that particular riddim.

Natural Thing riddim follows the label’s Laba Laba riddim and comes with ten cuts and two versions, one reggae and one dancehall. Apart from Jah Sun and Gappy Ranks, the riddim features four Italian artists – Raina, Lion D, Miss Linda and Brusco.

Ths riddim is pure niceness and is currently only available via Reggaerecord, but hits other digital platforms on January 19, 2014. Between December 19 and January you can get the dancehall version of Sun’s & Gappy’s Never Stray for free via Reggaerecord.

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Half-year report 2013 – 15 best albums yet

The first six months of 2013 have offered a number of glorious albums from Jamaican, U.S. and European artists and producers. My 15 favorites are listed below and if you’re curious about how it sounds you’re more than welcome to check the accompanying Spotify playlist here, where a majority of the releases are included. You can also check a review of each album by clicking the link to the set.

The list includes no reissues and is in no particular order.

Captain Sinbad – Reggae Music Will Mad Unu!
This veteran deejay made his musical comeback for Frenchie more than 20 years after his latest release. The LP and the version for digital platforms have different track lists, and I suggest you check out the vinyl version.

Cornel Campbell – New Scroll
The sweet high tenor voice courtesy of Cornel Campbell is set to magnificent music from the highly talented production trio Zion I Kings.

Jahcoustix – Frequency
German singer Jahcoustix wanted to make a more diverse album, but Frequency is his most consistent and cohesive set yet.

Trinity – Eye to Eye
Gruff voiced pioneering deejay Trinity teamed-up with Irie Ites for this retro sounding musical feast.

Malika Madremana – The Race
High school teacher by day and singer by night. Judging by this wonderful album Malika Madremana should focus on her music.

Meta & The Cornerstones – Ancient Power
Bob Marley-sounding Meta Dia moved from his home country Senegal to New York City and was exposed to an array of musical styles. His second album is roots reggae at its finest.

Jah Sun – Rise as One
Best album yet from this reliable U.S. deejay.

Lion D – Bring Back the Vibes
Rising star on the European and global reggae scene that has managed to make a catchy album full of foundation vibes.

Chezidek  The Order of Melchezedik
In 2010 Chezidek teamed-up with Dutch label JahSolidRock for his critically acclaimed album Judgement Time. In April this year the same label dropped Chezidek’s new album The Order of Melchezedik, and needless to say – they put out another powerful set of Rasta anthems.

The Lions – This Generation
13 musicians and four lead singers were involved the making of this soulful album that could be cherished by youths and elders alike.

Black Roots – On the Ground in Dub
One of the best UK reggae bands that reunited last year for the album On the Ground. This is the heavy dub version that contains some inspired mixing.

Etana – Better Tomorrow
Etana’s most cohesive yet and offers a soulful something for everyone.

Protoje – The 8 Year Affair
One of the leaders of the new generation of Jamaican conscious artists. This, his second album, is darker and heavier compared to his debut album The 7 Year Itch.

Jah9 – New Name
Debut album from the conscious Jah9. Her jazzy and breezy voice floats over hard riddims produced by Rory from Stone Love.

Lloyd Brown – New Veteran
Probably one of the most consistent artists – in any genre – in the world. Lloyd Brown usually drops at least one album per year and the quality is remarkably high.

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Jah Sun rises to the top

jah-sun-rise-as-oneCalifornian 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 OneEveryday 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.

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Bob Marley changed Jah Sun’s life

Jah Sun – a U.S. based singjay resident in northern California – dropped his third album in January. His blend of roots reggae, contemporary dancehall, hip-hop and world music doesn’t sound much like reggae giant Bob Marley. But this legendary musician had such an impact on Jah Sun’s life that he changed his ways and turned to reggae instead of hip-hop.

I had a chat with him about his new album and why he often collaborates with European producers. Check the full story over at United Reggae.

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Jah Sun’s best yet

To me, the Californian reggae was for a longtime synonymous with ska/punk bands such as Sublime and Reel Big Fish. But that’s of course far from the truth.

There is a thriving reggae scene in both southern and northern California with artists, bands and producers like Messenjah Selah, Blaak Lung, Lustre Kings, Dub Vision, Groundation and Itation Records.

And then there is the former teenage rebel and street thug Jah Sun, who got a conscious awakening when he heard Bob Marley for the first time.

His third album Battle the Dragon – and the follow-up to the 2010-released EP Gravity – is produced by a host of mostly European producers and features – just like his previous outings – several combinations. This time guests include Gentleman, Alborosie, J Boog, Peetah Morgan, Stevie Culture and Perfect.

Battle the Dragon collects 15 tracks of up-tempo contemporary roots reggae with influences from latin, such as Amoré, a tune that resembles Stevie Wonder’s Pastime Paradise, and dancehall, where the auto-tune drenched title track, and the pulsating Alborosie-combination Ganja Don, are the most obvious examples.

But these influences aside – Battle the Dragon is European modern one drop, and if you are familiar with the pounding and engaging production style of Bost & Bim and Special Delivery you’ll get the picture.

This is Jah Sun’s best album to date, and you ought to check out Jah Children, which echoes of the scorching Diseases riddim, the hammering Plastic City and the radio-friendly Where is Your Love.

Battle the Dragon drops on 30 January as digital download.

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