Jamaican singer Iba Mahr is part of the new roots movement, which also includes talents such as Protoje, Jah9, Chronixx, Dre Island, Kabaka Pyramid and Jesse Royal. He has two sets under his belt and a third was released earlier this year.
Get Up and Show is overseen by Germany’s Oneness Records and includes previously released material along with a few fresh songs and mixes.
Iba Mahr – with his characteristic fragile singing style – made his recording debut ten years ago and scored his biggest hit in 2014 – the mighty Diamond Sox for Notis Records. The song was also followed by an album with the same title.
Get Up and Show comes with eight tracks – six vocals and two dubs. Best of the bunch is the title track recorded over Oneness own Better Days riddim and originally released in 2017 along with the sweet Patrice combination One World. No Vanity – presented in a showcase style – is a fresh conscious cut with a solid horn section and a powerful groove.
Iba Mahr’s style might be an acquired taste, but this album is solid from start to end.
Californian singjay Jah Sun impressed last year with his third album Battle the Dragon recorded for a variety of European and U.S. producers. Now he’s back with his fourth set and the recipe is the same, but this time the formula has been perfected.
The singles that have preceded Rise as One – Everyday of the Week and the Kabaka Pyramid combination Foundation – show just how great this 15 track album is. It’s loaded with energy, excellent vocal arrangements, memorable hooks and pop melodies as well as pulsating one drop riddims and bouncy hip-hop jams.
As with Jah Sun’s previous albums this set also offers positive and conscious lyrics along with several notable combinations, for example Never Stray with Gappy Ranks, a tune with a hook that sticks like glue, or the playful Top Ranking with Chronixx. On No Matter Sizzla shows good old skills and Can’t Live, with Richie Spice singing the chorus, has a distinct melody and irresistible groove.
On the title track Jah Sun sings “This is the song that mainstream would never play, this is the chant that was banned by every DJ, no radio or TV would a touch it, why? Cause this a the real reggae music, this a the real ragamuffin… Commercial top ten a get bun up everyday”.
That’s sadly the reality, but don’t let that stop you from check out Rise as One, because Jah Sun has together with producers such as Bost & Bim, Bizzarri, House of Riddim and Oneness created one of the best albums this year. It might not be strictly authentic Jamaican in its approach, but it shows that European and U.S. reggae is a force to be reckoned with and Jah Sun has definitely risen to the top of the game.