If you are into reggae and dancehall and haven’t heard about the young and versatile Chronixx you have probably lived in a cave or under a rock for the past year or so.
This relaxed singer has released a string of strong singles and excellent additions to one riddim compilations. A few of these are included on his debut album Dread & Terrible, a ten track set – seven vocal cuts and three dub versions – that offers tough reality roots, hip-hop-inspired dancehall and early skinhead reggae reminiscent of vintage Joe Gibbs or Clancy Eccles.
Four different producers have been involved in the project – John John, Overstand Productions, Special Delivery and ZincFence. And the 21 year old Chronixx has also been heavily committed. He has written all the songs and has also been instrumental in composing, recording and mixing all the tracks. Really impressive for such a young talent.
There are plenty of prolific Jamaican artists (Sizzla, anyone?), but Chronixx isn’t one of those artists that jump on each and every riddim offered. His output has been rather scarce compared to several other singers and deejays. And that’s a good thing in this digital age when iTunes and other e-tailers are swamped with poorly produced and poorly mastered singles and albums.
Chronixx and a few others from his generation have chosen a different path, a path that is guided by quality rather than quantity. Chronixx and his management could probably have rushed an album, but I’m glad they didn’t. Dread & Terrible is solid, and that might not have been the case if it had reached the streets a year ago.
I get the feeling that every new album from Sizzla in recent years has been labeled as a return to his sound from the mid and late 90’s. But everytime I’m disappointed. Because none of his more recent albums is nearly as great as the fierce and spiritual music he did for, say, Phillip “Fattis” Burrell or Bobby “Digital” Dixon.
The Messiah – Sizzla’s 70th and latest album – has also been described as something of an album where Sizzla goes back to the roots. Well, lyrically it may be true, but then again his three latest albums have all been jammed with spiritual and righteous ravings and chants.
Musically The Messiah is better than both his albums released in 2011, but not as good as The Scriptures released in 2011 and produced by King Jammy’s son John John, even though they are similar.
On The Messiah Sizzla sings – as usually an acquired taste – and spits his social commentaries over mostly relicked popular reggae and dancehall riddims, including the mighty Tempo riddim and Harry J’s buoyant skinhead rocker The Liquidator, a rather odd choice, but one that actually works really well. The festive sound clashes nicely with Sizzla’s falsetto singing about politicians killing and stealing from the poor.
No Wicked Man, voiced over Barrington Levy’s Tell Them Already, is one of Sizzla’s finest album tracks in a long while, and the high-powered Suffer So Much, on the aforementioned Tempo riddim, will definitely set any dancehall or living room ablaze.
Sizzla is one the greatest and most prolific reggae artists, but his intricate vocal style is hard to cope with on a full album. He has clear pitch problems and it can be charming and add character, but only to a certain point. Sizzla’s musical mission and struggle to make a positive change in the world is overshadowed by his eagerness to extend over his vocal limitations.
Available now on CD and digital platforms.
Sizzla – one of the most productive reggae artists ever – recently dropped The Scriptures, an album produced John John, son of veteran producer King Jammy.
Last year the pair did the wicked Music in my Soul – featured on this set – on the Zion Gate riddim, a relick of (Ain’t Got No Love) originally voiced by Leroy Smart.
The Scriptures is in the same rootsy vein, and is mostly built around live instrumentation. Those who urge for an angry and more dancehall oriented Sizzla will be disappointed.
Sizzla is mostly in a singing mood, and you can hear a lot of his high falsetto, which is more or less an acquired taste. Many tracks are saved by tasteful harmonies.
Just listen to World Cry. The verses took a while to fully appreciate, while the chorus sticks like glue.
And this actually goes for the album as a whole. It took me three or four times listening to the album before I realized that The Scriptures is a pretty strong effort. It is not great, and has several dull moments. Partly because of an overuse of rock guitar solos, and the punky Jump for Joy is very hard to understand.
Sizzla is undoubtedly an artist of many dimensions and styles. Straight singing is however not his strongest side, and this album owes much to the backing vocals courtesy of Camar Doyles, Connie Francis, Finoa Robinson and Sherida.
Efter lite stök och bök har jag satt ihop en mix med 17 låtar, huvudsakligen från 2010. Det mesta kan nog klassas som modern roots från några av Europas just nu bästa producenter. Den enda jamaicanska produktionen är John John och hans rytm Zion Gate.
Artisterna spänner från veteraner som Naggo Morris och Johnny Osbourne till nykomlingar som Maikal X och Matthew McAnuff.
Det är inga fullständiga låtar. Gillar du vad du hör så finns merparten av låtarna på iTunes och eMusic.
Receptet är enkelt – 17 grymma låtar, elak bas och dryga 30 minuters glädje. Ladda ner mixen här eller via länken nedan (högerklicka och spara som).
Reggaemani Spring Mix 1 (modern roots)
Artist – låttitel (skivbolag / rytm)
1. Alborosie – Rudie Don’t Fear (John John / Zion Gate)
2. Sizzla – Music in My Soul (John John / Zion gate)
3. John John – Zion Gate Instrumental (John John / Zion Gate)
4. Chezidek – Walk With Jah (Not Easy At All / Collie Weed)
5. Wild Life – Ganja Yard (Not Easy At All / Collie Weed)
6. Naggo Morris – Su Su Pon Rasta (Irie Ites / Su Su Pon Rasta)
7. Trinity – Tenemant Yard (Irie Ites / Su Su Pon Rasta)
8. Matthew McAnuff – If You Want War (Own Mission)
9. Johnny Osbourne – War Season (Heartical / War Season)
10. BDF & Dub Student – Dubbing With Fire (Heartical / War Season)
11. Maikal X – Get Away (Necessary Mayhem / Police in Helicopter Reactivated)
12. Da Grynch – Police in Helicopter Dub (Necessary Mayhem / Police in Helicopter Reactivated)
13. Brinsley Forde – Can’t Take No More (Maroon / Can’t Take No More)
14. Blackout JA – Can’t Take No More (Maroon / Can’t Take No More)
15. Da Grynch – Better Dub (Maroon / Can’t Take No More)
16. Jimmy Riley & Fantan Mojah – Tell Me Your Name (Weedy G / Best Trick)
17. Bandito & Squishem – Best Trick Version (Weedy G / Best Trick)
Producenterna Frenchie och John John har nyligen släppt varsin upphottad 70-talsrytm.
Fransosen Frenchie, som ligger bakom Maximum Sounds, har precis släppt en nyinspelning av rytmen Creation Rebel. Ursprungsversionen är bland annat grund för Burning Spears låt med samma namn. Frenchies version heter Rebellion 2010 och innehåller kända namn som Luciano och Chezidek.
Zion Gate heter en ny rytm från John John, son till King Jammy, och är något så ovanligt som en tung roots-rytm från Jamaica. På senare tid har det mest kommit hård dancehall och bashment därifrån. Eller lite smörigare reggae à la Don Corleone. Förmodligen har John John kikat på Europa där den här typen av rytmer är populära.
Bunny Lee gjorde ursprungsversionen till Zion Gate. Den rytmen heter (Ain’t Got) No Love och spelades in av Leroy Smart. Den nya versionen innehåller flera fina insatser, exempelvis från Tarrus Riley och Alborosie.