UK-born veteran artist Prince Malachi rose to prominence in the late 90s with a number of albums produced by the late Philip “Fatis” Burrell and his label Xterminator. Together they enjoyed a series of hit songs, including Fire is Blazing, Watch Over Me and Jah is Our Guide.
It has been rather quiet around Prince Malachi for many years, but a new album surfaced a few months ago. Third Rock collects 14 tracks and presents Prince Malachi in fine form. He’s a marvelous singer with a soulful voice reminiscent of peers like Luciano and Jah Cure. He actually sounds exactly like the intensely passionate Jah Cure on the opening of Building Walls. I had to check the credits to see if they shared microphone on that cut.
On Third Rock Prince Malachi has both feet in the 90s and Philip Burrell could very well have been involved in its production. It’s roots and culture like it sounded when a new wave of conscious artists started to take over in Jamaica about 20 years ago. When fans wanted positive and uplifting music instead of guns and violence. A lot like the scene in Jamaica today actually.
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.