Jamaican singer Iba Mahr – known for his potent vibrato and the cleverly produced hit single Diamond Sox – is part of the new wave of Jamaican roots reggae along with artists like Jah9, Kabaka Pyramid, Chronixx and Jesse Royal.
His debut recording was already in 2008 and he has since dropped several successful singles as well as voicing one riddim albums. And now – seven years after his initial recording – he has put out his debut album, named after Diamond Sox, a creative single produced by acclaimed drum and bass duo Notis.
This 15 track set follows Great is HIM, an EP released by Tad’s Records last year. That set collected previously released material, while the new one hosts a majority of brand new tracks, mainly produced by his managers Roland McDermot and Jermaine Edwards from Born Rollin’ Music. But included are also scorching cuts from Royal Order Music and Oneness Records.
Together with Iba Mahr – and guest singers Capleton, Jah9, Tarrus Riley and Jahmali – they have created a set jam-packed with conscious and uplifting roots music. The album carries different approaches to roots reggae and original compositions rub shoulders with relicks of classic riddims. Highlights include the vibrant Travelling, the pulsating Jahmali-combination The Time Is Now and the razor-sharp Glory to the King.
Diamond Sox is a cohesive set, but the audio quality leaves a little to be desired since some of the cuts sound distorted. And when comparing the version of Glory to the King on the album with the original on the Social riddim compilation it’s obvious that something has gone wrong in the mastering process. Very unfortunate.