Conscious 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.