Tag Archives: Kabaka Pyramid

Kabaka Pyramid bridges reggae and hip-hop on Kontraband

unnamedOne of my most anticipated releases in recent years was put out in late May. I’m talking about Kabaka Pyramid’s debut album. He’s one of the strongest lyricists and performers of the younger generation of Jamaicans singers and deejays.

On Kontraband Damian Marley is heavily involved being executive producer. But a host of other notable performers also lend their talents to the set – Chronixx, Akon, Pressure Busspipe, Stonebwoy, Protoje, Damian Marley and Nattali Rize give several songs new dimensions.

Kontraband is hard-hitting and powerful roots reggae with strong influences from hip-hop. At times it’s reminiscent of Damian Marley’s and Nas’ collaborative effort Distant Relatives. Check the infectious title track with Damian Marley for example.

This album certainly lives up to high expectations with Kabaka Pyramid spitting cultural messages over tough beats. It’s potent, explosive and highly addictive.


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Koro Fyah is a rough diamond

unnamedFive years ago Jamaican rapper and singjay Kabaka Pyramid dropped his debut EP Rebel Music through his own label Bebble Rock. Since then Kabaka Pyramid has continued to release solid material and has also toured the world.

But he has also had the time to work with, and develop, new talents. Koro Fyah is one such. He is signed to Bebble Rock and has released the strong singles New Day and Eyes Red. Both for free.

And now it’s time for his debut EP Rough Diamond. It’s released via Bebble Rock and is – of course – available for free via Soundcloud. A number of different producers and mixing engineers from Jamaica and Europe have been involved in the project, including Kabaka Pyramid, Natural High Music, Genis Trani and Loud City Music.

The set comes with eight cuts, including the two previously released singles. It’s a mostly a conscious effort with riddims and beats retrieved from both reggae and hip-hop. Much like how material from Kabaka Pyramid sounds. And he also turns up on the best cut – the anthemic Red, Green and Gold. A superb song with pounding drums and a rolling bass line complemented by dubby sound effects and a scorching synthesizer.

Koro Fyah is one of several artists the has sprung out of the Reggae Revival moment and he can be filed next to Kabaka Pyramid, Chronixx, Jesse Royal and Protoje.

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Mixtape galore – Kabaka Pyramid, Jah9 and OBF Soundsystem

Over the past months at least three ultra-solid mixtapes have been put out. I’m talking about Kabaka Pyramid & Walshy Fire & Major Lazer, Jah9 and O.B.F. Soundsystem featuring Ishabel & Wildlife. All three are absolutely devastating.

Kabaka Pyramid & Walshy Fire & Major Lazer – Accurate
Kabaka Pyramid started in the music business as a rapper, but turned into reggae. On this musical gem Walshy Fire and Major Lazer let him rap and toast over classic riddims and hip-hop beats showcasing his ill skills. It also features a number of exclusives and collaborators like Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan, Chronixx, Protoje, Pressure and Hempress Sativa. Just press play and enjoy.

Jah9 – 9 mm Vol. 2: Pre-Album Groundings
With this mixtape one of Jamaica’s finest and most honest singer’s gears up for her highly-anticipated second album 9, out on September 9. This part two instalment follows her 9 mm Vol. 1: Message Music – released in 2012 prior to her debut album – and features original and never-before-heard tracks where Jah9 shines both musically and spiritually. With a number of covers she also celebrates some of her musical role models – Nina Simone’s Misunderstood, Tracy Chapman’s She’s Got A Ticket, Ras Michael’s New Name and Dennis Brown’s Bloody City are all features. And so is a fresh Sizzla medley. Sit back, press play and enjoy.

O.B.F. Soundsystem featuring Ishabel & Wildlife & Friends – The Voice of Lightning & Thunder
This killer new mixtape from French soundsystem O.B.F certainly lives it to its title. Brimstone and fire with gravel-voiced vocalist Wildlife and the versatile Ishabel along with a number of other artists, including Jesse Royal, Charlie P and Pupajim. O.B.F has also enlisted the help from other producers and riddims from Dubkasm, Maximum Sound and Mungo’s Hi Fi are also included. This one is a certified scorcher, so turn up the volume, lock the door and hope the neighbours aren’t home.

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Relevant debut album from Irie Souljah

cover-iriesouljah-inmigrant-web-740x740Over the past years several European reggae artists have relocated to Jamaica to pursue a musical dream. Alborosie moved from Italy many, many years ago and is nowadays a Jamaican citizen. Cali P from Switzerland/Guadeloupe moved in 2010 and in 2014 Catalan singer Irie Souljah settled there as well.

And Irie Souljah’s debut album Immigrant is the fruit of his new life in the Caribbean and it was recorded entirely in Jamaica with production by Irie Souljah and Genis Trani from Reggaeland.

The title of this album – and its title track – carries some urgency and is certainly relevant in a time of war and crisis – “who is the immigrant, we are living in the same land, sharing the same sun, who is the immigrant, we are coming from the same mom, mother of creation, who is the immigrant, no matter where you come from this is not important”. It’s important to keep this in mind when refugees from, for example, the Middle East and Africa leave their countries in search of a better life.

Immigrant collects 13 tracks – including two solid dub versions and one inspired melodica cut – and offers contemporary roots reggae with a few lighter dancehall excursions as well. Bouncy and uplifting with messages of unity and love. Highlights include the thumping first single Learn & Grow and its follow up Immigrant.

Musicians and guest artists involved in this album – Jesse Royal, Kabaka Pyramid, Sly & Robbie, Style Scott, Lee Jaffe and Nambo Robinson – should give a clear idea of what to expect.


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A heavy hitter from Nattali Rize & Notis

MI0003897616Nattali Rize – the dynamic frontwoman of Australian reggae band Blue King Brown – moved to Kingston, Jamaica, in 2014 and during her stay she teamed up with acclaimed drum and bass duo Notis. Their collaboration initially rendered the single Rebel Love, a cut followed by the Kabaka Pyramid combination Generations Will Rize. And now an EP has been put out.

New Era Frequency hosts nine tracks – four slices of powerful and pulsating contemporary reggae, two dancehall-oriented cuts and three dread and ethereal dub versions.

Nattali Rize is a fresh voice. She sings from her heart. Often touching tough and urgent issues. She’s not afraid of politics or calls to action, as shown on album opener Generations Will Rize with lyrics like “staring down their lie of democracy will you fight on your feet or live pon your knees, this is not the way that life’s supposed to be, I’m calling, calling, yeah”.

This set contains heavy hitting tracks, both musically and lyrically, and brims with rebelliousness and emotion.


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Kabaka Pyramid drops new mixtape as free download

Jamaican singjay Kabaka Pyramid – who started his career as a rapper – has just put out a fresh mixtape together with Livity Movement’s Dev Kutta.

Titled The Lyricist showcases the talent and lyrical ability of Kabaka Pyramid who has been recently dubbed a conscious revolutionary lyricist.

“When coming up with the title it was so simple, because whenever listening to Kabaka Pyramid I always say he is ‘The Truth’ or a real lyricist. So I didn’t want to impose my views by calling the mix ‘The Truth’ I will let the listeners be the judge, but you can’t deny that he is ‘The Lyricist’,” says Dev Kutta.

The set collects 24 cuts and throughout the set one can hear excerpts of Kabaka Pyramid discussing different views on reggae and Rastafari. Included are combinations with Chronixx, Masicka, Exco Levi, Tarrus Riley, Protoje, Sizzla and Dre Island.

Several fan favourites can also be heard on the set, for example Liberal Opposer and Selassie Souljahz.

Check the mixtape below or over at Soundcloud.

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A seductive and addictive second album from Sara Lugo

Cover1024It seems that crowd-funding in the reggae industry actually works. There has been a few gems in recent years coming from that particular way of financing parts of a recording.

Sara Lugo and her label Oneness Records used Startnext to raise 4,000 euros to finish Hit Me with Music. I didn’t take part of the financing, but all of you who did – give yourselves an applause. Because Hit Me with Music is an excellent album, probably even better than her debut released more than three years ago.

Sara Lugo has an addictive and seductive voice, and she has been in the music business for more than ten years. Her biggest hit yet is probably the Kabaka Pyramid combination High & Windy, on the moody Reggaeville riddim, which is a relick of The Paragons’ Riding on a High and Windy Day. This combination was released in 2012 and is of course included on the new album.

Hit Me with Music is produced by a variety of different talents, for example Anthony “Altafaan” Senior, Umberto Echo, Giuseppe Coppola, Lionel Wharton and Moritz von Korff, and includes guest performances from Protoje, Ras Muhamad and the aforementioned Kabaka Pyramid.

It’s bright and positive from start to finish. Sara Lugo explores the gentle side of reggae with influences from soul, jazz and light electronic pop. Soldiers of Love could have been included on one of Hotel Costes lounge compilations and a singer like Lily Allen could probably have murdered for the breezy I Wish.

The harmonies are beautiful throughout the set and Sara Lugo has made yet another album custom-made for sitting on a Caribbean beach watching the waves gently break.


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Oneness Records showcase talent on new compilation

CS2381278-02A-BIGGermany’s Oneness Records showcase their work on the fresh compilation One Love One Heart Oneness, a set featuring 20 artists murdering 15 bouncy riddims.

Loads of talent is one of the main ingredients, beautiful melodies is another. The well-crafted riddims are built with live instrumentation, including bright horns on a number of cuts.

Highlights include an angry Buju Banton on a clever relick of Inner Circle’s Bad Boys, Naptali & Arofat’s elegant Jail Song and Sara Lugo & Kabaka Pyramid’s version of The Paragons’ Riding on a High and Windy Day.

One Love One Heart Oneness is evidence of a strong and thriving European reggae scene.

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Top five reggae mixtapes 2013

Following Reggaemani’s top 50 tunes, 25 best albums and the best ten reissues come five favourite mixtapes.

Mixtapes II

All five mixtapes come from new and aspiring Jamaican Rasta singers. The new generation if you will, a generation following conscious giants like Luciano, Sizzla, Capleton and Buju Banton. Four artists that made names for themselves in the 90s and now they have serious competition from aspiring young singers and deejays that aim for world dominance with an eclectic mix of roots reggae, hip-hop, soul, rock and pop.

Chronixx put it eloquently in a recent interview with NPR.org – “We are not going to do it like Bob Marley did or like Burning Spear did. We are using their blueprint to bring on a new generation of works.”

Below is a top five list in no particular order and a link to each mixtape on Soundcloud. Check em’!

Protoje & YaadcoreMusic From My Heart

Exco Levi & Mighty CrownOfficial Mixtape 2014

Kabaka Pyramid & Livity Moments – Accurate Mixtape

Dre Island & King I-VierRastafari Way

Jesse Royal & DJ Tall UpIn Comes the Small Axe

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Kabaka Pyramid has come a long way

lead-the-way-frontConscious roots reggae is on the rise in Jamaica with top bands such as Raging Fyah and Mystikal Revolution and single artists like Protoje, Chronixx, Dre Island, Jesse Royal, Iba Mahr, Loyal Flames, Jah9, Addis Pablo and Kabaka Pyramid. Over the past years they have helped each other gain worldwide recognition and several of these artists have managed to tour both the U.S. and Europe.

One of those is Kabaka Pyramid, a former rapper who in mid-2011 dropped his ten track Rebel Music EP for free. This project was a fusion of rootsy reggae, dancehall and hip-hop and caused waves all over the world.

Rebel Music EP opened several doors for Kabaka Pyramid and for the past year he has worked with a number of acclaimed producers and singers, including Tarrus Riley and successful European label and production house IrieVibrations.

His latest album is Lead the Way and for some reason this project is also referred to as an EP. To me it’s not since it collects a healthy 13 tracks. This is certainly a worthy long-player. And a great one, even though it’s more or less a compilation of re-mastered previously released singles and cuts taken from one riddim albums.

It offers a several fan favourites, of which the anti-big corporation anthem No Capitalist is one of the best. Here Kabaka Pyramid rails against the Babylonian system with big business plans and empty promises from the UN.

The project features producers from both Jamaica and abroad, but for being a compilation of singles for a broad variety of players it sounds remarkably cohesive and consistent. It’s a tasty cocktail of reggae, dancehall and hip-hop where Kabaka Pyramid both sings and deejays.

Unfortunately a few of the man’s best cuts are left out. I would have liked to have both Foundation, a combination with Jah Sun, and Pon Di Wings, a combination with Italo Skarcha over the Game Theory riddim, included on the set.

Kabaka Pyramid has certainly come a long way since he dropped his debut in 2011 and he’s not a promising talent anymore. He’s a major talent. Period.


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