For the third year in a row Ghetto Youths International – the label spearheaded by Damian, Stephen and Julian Marley – has launched a new volume in the Set Up Shop series. This third and latest installment was put out in late December – two days before Christmas – with virtually no marketing or PR. Not even a press release was distributed.
The compilation features tracks from the Marley brothers together with their usual collaborators, including Black-Am-I, Christopher Ellis and Stephen Marley’s eldest son Jo Mersa Marley along with a few new additions to the roster, such as Kabaka Pyramid, Bunji Garlin, J Boog and Skip Marley, son of Bob Marley’s daughter Cedella Marley.
Several of the tracks have previously surfaced – Morgan Heritage & Jo Mersa’s Light It Up was featured on the band’s Grammy nominated latest album and Kabaka Pyramid’s ironic smash hit Well Done, Julian Marley’s Lemme Go, Stephen Marley & Bounty Killer & Cobra’s Ghetto Boy, Skip Marley’s Cry To Me and Damian Marley & Bunji Garlin’s The Message have been released as a singles.
Set Up Shop Vol 3 is like a well-assorted store with one isle with dancehall, like album opener The Message, and another with some rootsier cuts, such as Rude Bwoy with its all-star cast and Eek-a-Mouse influenced hook. Then you also have a shelf with sweets, where you’ll find Christopher Ellis’ Glory.
As usual with releases from Ghetto Youths International they are not available for streaming, only purchasing via iTunes. But this edition has a highly competitive price though – roughly only $2 or €2 for the full album which comes with 16 tracks.
Jo Mersa is son of Stephen Marley. His grandfather is Bob Marley and his uncle is Damian Marley. One could say that the music industry has great expectations on him and his debut EP Comfortable, a six track set mainly produced by himself.
He was born in Jamaica, but has migrated to Miami, U.S., and made his musical debut last year with the track Comfortable, included on Ghetto Youths International’s – a label owned by Stephen, Damian and Julian Marley – compilation Set Up Shop Vol. 1. He has also toured extensively with his father.
Comfortable is a cross-over effort with an infectious and hook-filled mix of reggae, dancehall, pop, hip-hop and electronic dance music. Best of the bunch is hip-hop-influenced opener Rock and Swing, which borrows elements from the mighty Enter Into His Gates With Praise, and the catchy remix of Comfortable, on which Jo Mersa shares vocal duties with label mate Wayne Marshall.
Jo Mersa certainly has much to live up to, but manages to carry his family’s legacy forward into the 21st century.
From out of the blue comes Damian, Julian and Stephen Marley’s first album on their Ghetto Youths International label. The title is taken from Damian Marley’s hard-hitting 2011 released single Set Up Shop. And several of the 14 tracks are in the same uncompromising and ferocious style.
The set contains a few already released cuts, including Damian Marley’s title track and his romantic Affairs of the Heart, but also a number of new scorchers, one from him and several from fresh talents, such as the conscious Black-Am-I, Ziggy Marley’s eldest son Daniel Bambaata Marley and Jo Mersa, Stephen Marley’s son.
Set Up Shop Vol. 1 is a bold and futuristic album that takes its influences from a number of genres and moods. It’s mellow and soft, like Daniel Marley’s sugary Treat You Right, but also rough, tough and grim, for example the dismal and provocative In Depence or the pounding heavyweight collaboration Go Hard with Damian Marley, Wayne Marshall, Aidonia, I-Octane, Assassin aka Agent Sasco, Bounty Killer and Vybz Kartel sharing microphone duties.
Most surprising is however Christopher Ellis – son of the great Alton Ellis – and Bay C from T.O.K’s catchy dancehall doo-whopper Don’t Change Your Number, or, for that matter, Damian Marley’s new nugget Dem Neva Mek It with its rocking R&B piano.
This star studded, eclectic and genre crossing compilation showcases an exciting mix of themes and talents as well as a new generation of Marley performers. These fresh voices certainly bode well for the future.
Set Up Shop Vol. 1 is currently available on iTunes worldwide.
Bob Marley-sonen Stephen kammade i går kväll hem sin andra Grammy för plattan Mind Control. Det rapporterar bland annat Dancehall Mobi. Sin första Grammy fick han för originalversionen av Mind Control 2008, och sin andra för den akustiska versionen av samma platta.
Konkurrensen bestod av Rasta Got Soul från Buju Banton, Awake med Julian Marley, Brand New Me med veteranen Gregory Isaacs och Imperial Blaze med Sean Paul.
Hade jag enhälligt valt vinnare bland de nominerade hade det blivit Rasta Got Soul med Buju Banton, även om den plattan hamnade utanför mina personliga favoriter från förra året.
Flera sajter rapporterar om de fem finalister som nominerats för en reggae grammy nästa år. Totalt var 39 artister nominerade, men den listan har alltså kokats ner till fem.
De nominerade plattorna har släppts mellan den 1 oktober 2008 och den 31 augusti 2009, vilket diskvalificerar personliga favoriter som Omar Perrys Can’t Stop Us Now och Chezideks I Grade.
De nominerade plattorna är:
Buju Banton – Rasta Got Soul
Gregory Isaacs – Brand New Me
Julian Marley – Awake
Stephen Marley – Mind Control
Sean Paul – Imperial Blaze
Har inte hört vare sig Julian eller Stephen Marleys plattor, men det känns typiskt att två Marleys är nominerade.
En personlig lista på nominerade hade sett en smula annorlunda ut och exempelvis innehållit Sojahs Modern Revolution och Takana Zions Rappel à l’Ordre.
Grammy-utdelningen äger rum i Los Angeles den 31 januari nästa år.