In the press release that accompanies Prezident Brown’s latest album I Sound Is From Creation he’s described by label executive Tad Dawkins as a “silent but deadly gem”. I don’t know how silent he really is since he has been putting out strong albums and singles since the 90’s and got a fhttps://reggaemani.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=3872&action=editive album deal with Island Records in the 90’s.
But if you don’t know the Prezident and his music you can learn more about him by checking out my interview with him over at United Reggae. We spoke on the phone about his new album, his mentor the late Jack Ruby and why it’s important to have something to say.
Prezident Brown might not be the most well-known artist from Jamaica, but he’s definitely one of most interesting ones and his landmark set To Jah Only is one of the best and most spiritual reggae albums ever released.
The Prezident has been in the business since the 80’s and got his name by his resemblance to the gifted deejay and producer U Brown. He worked with legendary sound system owner and producer Jack Ruby – responsible for Burning Spear’s Marcus Garvey and Man in the Hills – up until his death in 1989.
For the past 15 years or so he has released hard-hitting old school reggae grooves, and his latest album I Sound Is From Creation is no exception. It contains 14 tracks – of which several are re-recordings of his 2009 released album Common Prosperity – produced and recorded together with Axx of Jahpostles.
I Sound Is From Creation is the usual blend of Brown’s husky chanting and singing, even though he leans more towards the latter on most tracks, a pity since his powerful flow is more pleasant than his rough singing. It becomes apparent in the soulful Gary Pine combination Rebel With a Cause, where Brown’s swinging chatter follows Pine’s singing.
There are several highlights, and some of the brightest are the uplifting and celebratory album opener Fi We Queen (Jamaica 50), the anti-violence cry Cease Fire over the mighty M16 riddim and the faithful Defender. The dancehall-oriented and head-nodding Ghetto Youths, complete with auto-tuned vocals and screaming keyboards, is also tasty, and offers a fresh addition to the otherwise rootsy grooves.
This solid roots effort is now available on CD and on digital platforms.
Jamaican singjay Hi Kee recently dropped his debut album Self Reliance to etailers worldwide. It’s 15 contemporary one drop productions and a ska tune from a variety of producers from all over the world – Finland, New Zealand and Jamaica are just a few of the countries represented.
Hi Kee first recorded in 2004, but his first single Woman of Virtue didn’t hit the streets until 2009. From then on he has voiced a bunch of riddims. Most memorable is probably Fire Blaze on the mighty Prison Break riddim produced by Bassrunner Productions. He has also tried is hands on the ska flavoured Kokoo riddim and the sweet Tek A Train riddim.
Most remarkable about Hi Kee is his deep melodic voice and its resemblance to Prezident Brown. It actually sounds like they’re the same person, particularly in the deejay parts on some of the tunes.
I’m a huge fan of the Prezident, so this is my cup of tea, especially Babylon Your System Collapse, a duet with Luciano and legendary deejay Brigadier Jerry, and Give Jah Thanks and Praise, with some nice melodica.
Swiss-based The Scrucialists did a great job with Mykal Rose in 2005 when they released Catch up di Fire. Included on Self Reliance is a duet with Hi Kee and Mykal Rose on the same riddim. Unfortunately Mykal Rose’s voice is tortured with auto-tune. A shame really.
With such a diverse range of producers you would assume Self Reliance to be a schizophrenic effort. But it’s surprisingly consistent and if you like the usual Eurocentric one drop it should probably belong in your record collection.