Without a doubt the late and great Philip ”Fattis” Burrell produced some of Sizzla’s best songs and albums, including Praise Ye Jah, one of his breakthrough sets in the 90s.
The extremely prolific Sizzla was at his most consistent during the 90s and have since had a more than varied output, especially in recent years when he voices riddim after riddim after riddim.
Now reggae powerhouse VP has teamed up with Philip Burrell’s son Kareem Burrell for the release of Radical, a set said to compile rare and unreleased material from Sizzla’s formative years in the 90s and the early 2000s. But it includes both rare and unreleased gems from Sizzla’s period with Philip Burrell as well as more recent material, for example What’s Wrong With the Picture, produced by Kareem Burrell and put out in 2011.
Over 16 tracks Sizzla rallies and rails against inequity and the ills of society, but also chants and sings affectionate love songs. It’s both raw and honest, as on It’s a Rocky Road and on the excellent title track, a version of Greedy Joe, but also uplifting and groovy, for example on I Am No Better and That’s Why I Love You.
Some of the cuts included should maybe have remained shelved, while others definitely deserves attention, for example tracks showcasing a young and fierce youth.
If you want a lesson in Sizzla’s early years I also suggest you head over to BMC’s Reggae Blog, where this Dutch mixtape maniac has published two mixes with over 50 tunes covering Sizzla’s work between 1995 and 2002.
Radical drops on April 15 and is one of Sizzla’s three albums during the first four months of 2014. It’s a compilation of rare and previously unreleased material produced by the late Philip “Fattis” Burrell between the early 90s and 2000s.
This great producer worked with Sizzla during his formative years and helped to create some of the prolific singer’s best work to date, including Praise Ye Jah, by some regarded as his breakthrough album.
Radical collects 16 tracks and has been compiled together with Philip Burrell’s son Kareem Burrell and features live instrumentation from Jamaican studio aces like Sly Dunbar, Steven Stanley, Earl “Chinna” Smith and Dean Fraser.
Three years have passed since Phillip ”Fattis” Burrell passed away at the age of 57. Via his progressive powerhouse Xterminator (initially Exterminator) he released some of the best reggae songs and albums of all time. Luciano’s Where There is Life and One Way Ticket are modern day classics, and so are Sizzla’s Bobo Ashanti and Mikey General’s Spiritual Revolution.
Phillip Burrell was among the first to put modern day chanters such as Sizzla and Turbulence on wax, but he also recorded already established artists like Marcia Griffiths, Freddie McGregor, Cocoa Tea and Beres Hammond. And together with Richard “Bello” Bell and Bobby “Digital” Dixon he created a new version of reggae with one foot in the roots tradition and one foot in the dancehall. Militant, diverse and haunting, but also accessible and melodic.
Phillip Burrell’s son Kareem Burrell has followed in his father’s footsteps. He’s also a producer and regularly drops clever and interesting riddims via his own label XTM.Nation. But the latest release is a tribute album to his father. It marks the 25th anniversary of Xterminator and collects twelve tracks produced by himself and his father. It’s not a best of compilation, rather a set of tracks that are special to Kareem Burrell and his father.
The songs compiled are perhaps not the most well-known from Xterminator’s mighty music vault, and it for example includes Nadine Sutherland’s tribute to the late Garnett Silk, Buju Banton’s acoustic Oh My Father and Ini Kamoze’s We Pop it Off.
Most exciting are actually some of the cuts produced by Kareem Burrell, and especially the upbeat, joyous and uplifting soul/reggae scorcher Little Did They Know by Jesse Royal. Whenever I hear this tune I feel like jumping up and down, while shouting the sing-a-long friendly chorus.
Living Heart Vol. 1 is probably not the best Xterminator compilation out there, but it’s special since it showcases the talents of both father and son. If you need to quench your Xterminator thirst, check Armageddon Times Vol. 1 & 2 and Rough Inna Town – The X-Terminator Sound.