In 2009 Jamaican deejay and Grammy winner Buju Banton dropped the album Rasta Got Soul, an album marketed as being the follow-up to his widely acclaimed and hugely influential set ‘Til Shiloh, released in 1995.
The same year he was caught with cocaine in the U.S. and two years later he was convicted and sentenced to ten years in jail.
Buju Banton’s latest album Before the Dawn, more or less made up from material from the same sessions as Rasta Got Soul, was put out in 2010, and since then it has been rather silent from one of Jamaica’s most loved and notable reggae artists.
But if you have been thirsting for his intense and abyss deep chanting VP Records has something to quench your thirst – a compilation collecting 15 cultural tunes recorded mostly for Donovan Germain and his Penthouse label.
The Early Years Vol. 2 (The Reality of Life) collects an impressive line up of conscious gems. Several of these are non-album exclusives and include guest team-ups with Morgan Heritage, Beres Hammond, Wayne Wonder and a couple more.
Several of the riddims are relicks, mostly from original Studio One riddims, and have that dark 90’s sparse and computerized feeling to them.
The Early Years Vol. 2 (The Reality of Life) hits the streets as CD and digital download and is now available in the UK, while it can be found in Germany on August 17 and in France on August 20.
And also – The Early Years Vol. 1 was put out in 2001 on Penthouse and collected mostly hardcore dancehall gems.
Jamaican sweetheart Romain Virgo is back with his second album, the follow-up to his much acclaimed self-titled debut album from two years back, released when he was only 20 years old.
The System has been preceded by several strong tunes, among them Wha Dis Pon Me on the Go Fi Her riddim and the infectious first single I Am Rich In Love.
It collects 15 songs tuned both in a lovers mood as well as a more conscious one, with titles such as Food Fi the Plate and Broken Heart.
Recorded mostly at the famous Donovan Germain-owned Penthouse studio in Jamaica and with production helmed by Shane Brown, Niko Browne, Vikings and Donovan Germain himself, The System is destined to be a first-class set.
And it is, even though Romain Virgo repeats himself. The System is cooked according to the same tasty recipe as his debut, which means powerful energetic vocals on top of contemporary well-produced one drop riddims.
Standout cuts include the smooth rub a dub feeling of Fired Up Inside on a relick of the Beat Down Babylon riddim made famous by Junior Byles, Another Day, Another Dollar with a gentle saxophone courtesy of Dean Fraser and the pop masterpiece Ray of Sunshine, with a synthesizer that would have made P-funk veteran George Clinton of Funkadelic and Parliament proud.
The System will probably not win any awards for being the most unique or innovative album in 2012, but it contains enough strong melodies and captivating vocals to keep me interested.
Richie Spice is one of the most consistent album artists from Jamaica in recent years. Almost all of his four studio albums have had a very high standard. And his new album – Book of Job – is no exception.
The title hints of the Bible and, according to the press release, Richie Spice chose the name because of “his commitment to creating uplifting music, which is as unwavering as Job’s faith was while enduring his many hardships.”
Book of Job is certainly a very conscious album with mainly two themes represented –praising women and praising God.
Richie Spice has previously worked with well acclaimed producers such as Clive Hunt and Bobby “Digital” Dixon. He also cut the masterpiece Di Plane Land for Kemar “Flava” McGregor in 2008, a tune that was included on the album Gideon Boot released the same year.
For Book of Job he has teamed up with skilled producer Donovan Germain, but the album also includes producers Raging Fyah, Shane Brown and Steven “Lenky” Marsden.
The album includes 12 tunes, all on well executed one drop riddims. And this suits Richie Spice’s raspy and rugged voice very well. It also contradicts quite nicely to the clean and powerful backing vocals.
Some of the tunes are previously released, while others are new efforts. The catchy Yap Yap is reminiscent of Old Macdonald Had a Farm and the anthemic Soothing Sound, on the Indiscretion riddim, is among the album’s several highlights.
Book of Job is soothing your soul and you don’t want to turn it down. It’ll keep the fire burning and make you want to play reggae music night and day, as Richie Spice might have put it.
The album hit the streets on Tuesday March 15th.