For his brand new album New Paradigm U.S. reggae singjay Jah Sun has teamed up with Austria-based record label House of Riddim.
On the 16 track set they have invited an impressive roster of contemporary reggae artists from Jamaica and Europe – Dre Island, Million Stylez, I-Octane, Randy Valentine, Nikki Burt and Charly B.
House of Riddim has produced all tracks, which is rather unusual in reggae, and the album is solid, cohesive and firmly rooted in contemporary and up-tempo one drop reggae. Jah Sun sings, deejays and even showcases his rapping skills on a few tracks.
Best of the bunch are album opener New Paradigm, the Dre Island combination Carry On, with its dramatic strings, and the fist pumping Morning Sun, complete with intense horns and punky energy.
Included are also a few radio-friendly cuts, for example the slick I-Octane combination Peace Cry and Only Human, a cut sounding a bit like Paul Simon’s pop reggae smash hit You Can Call Me Al from the mid-80s.
Jah Sun is definitely a force to be reckoned with –as he also has proven on previous sets, particularly the excellent Rise as One – but this album means no paradigm shift in reggae; it’s actually rather traditional and the sound of reggae will probably stay the same.
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.