French singer and singjay Naâman recently dropped his third full-length album Beyond, a set released via his own label Big Scoop. The set follows Rays of Resistance, put out in 2015, and offers a more diverse musical landscape where Naâman leans more towards pop music and also borrows from Latin and gospel rather than hip-hop, which he did on his two previous efforts.
He has come a long way since he put out his debut Deep Rockers – Back a Yard in 2013. He has something like 300 concerts behind him and has toured the world. So, it’s no big surprise that his sound has changed and matured with new inspiration.
The two first singles off the album – I’m Alright and Simplicity – are representative of the full album. Sunny, sandy and breezy with influences from both gospel and dancehall. The kind of causal and easy-going pop music that make anyone forget troubles and tribulations and just indulge.
Another infectious gem is the lightweight dancehall and disco joint I Feel Your Soul with its soulful chorus and airy horns. Best of the bunch is however the acoustic Love Is Allowed with its heartfelt strings and driving beat. It’s also impressive that Naâman has Toots Hibbert joining him on the pulsating ska cut Got To Try.
Beyond is about good hearty fun and nice vibes.
Youthful French singjay Naâman is back with his second album Rays of Resistance and it’s a natural follow-up to his debut album Deep Rockers – Back A Yard released two years ago.
This new album is however slightly different compared to its predecessor, a set that offered a tasty mix of bouncy hip-hop and groove-oriented reggae. This new album is more mature and more diverse. It’s more soulful and some tunes lean slightly towards ambient electronic music.
Rays of Resistance is potent and explosive, as shown on tracks like Big and Bad and Pop Dem Bubble, but also slow and ethereal, as showcased on cuts like Those Rays and the melancholic Soom T combination My Days.
There are plenty of pulsating rhythms and infectious melodies, just listen to International Love with its sing-a-long chorus and catchy horns, Turns Me Loose, which opens as a slow acoustic jam but soon metamorphoses into bouncy reggae-flavoured hip-hop, or the dark Garden of Destiny with its lingering strings and Halloween harmonies.
Sure, Naâman sings in English and his pronunciation isn’t perfect, but this is nevertheless a strong second album showcasing a major talent.
Don’t you just love the moments when you listen to a new artist or an album and don’t know what to expect and the sound is so powerful you just say “get out of here!”?
Well, I do and I had one of those moments a while ago when I put French youthful deejay Naâman’s debut album Deep Rockers – Back A Yard in the CD player. I had received a promo copy and hadn’t heard about him before and actually thought about shelving it without giving it a listen, but for some reason I changed my mind, and I’m glad I did. Because this album is hip-hop-fueled reggae at its best.
Naâman evolved on the French reggae scene three years ago and was this year voted as Revelation of the Year by French website Reggae Victories. He has previously only released a mixtape and a successful single on Youtube.
Deep Rockers – Back A Yard was mainly produced and recorded in Jamaica by Fatbabs at the legendary Harry J studio together with musicians such as Sam Clayton, Stephen Stewart, Dalton Browne and Sly Dunbar.
The sound is a bit reminiscent of mid 80’s Sly & Robbie or George Phang, especially the severely hard skanking Cutty Ranks combination Rebel For Life.
Naâman has a great sense for strong melodies and he also has a natural, rhythmic and vigorous flow when he rides the pulsating and thumping riddims effortlessly. He should however focus on his deejay skills, since his singing is not as strong.
This potent and explosive album offers a fresh take on hip-hop-influenced reggae delivered with a high dose of passion and youthful playfulness.
Deep Rockers – Back A Yard is now available on CD and digital platforms.