The day before Christmas three Marley brothers decided to drop a new compilation – Set Up Shop Vol. 2. A strange date one might think, but this 15 track set still managed to debut at #1 on U.S. Billboard Reggae Album Chart.
Set Up Shop Vol. 2 is in the same vein as its predecessor, a set released in early 2013. It hosts roughly the same artists – Damian, Julian and Stephen Marley along with Stephen Marley’s son Jo Mersa. Also onboard is Black-I-Am, Christopher Ellis, Wayne Marshall and Cham. Invited as guest performers are Biggz General, Illestr8, Spragga Benz, Irie Love, Junior Reid and Tarrus Riley. One hell of a line-up.
It is primarily produced by the Grammy-winning brothers Stephen and Damian Marley, but Phillip “Winta” James is responsible for lead single Is It Worth It (Gunman World), performed by Damian Marley.
Included are both new and previously released material and the set collects both tribal energy and hard-hitting dancehall as well as uplifting, sing-a-long anthems and sweet harmonies complete with handclaps, ukulele strumming and hypnotic bass lines.
Stephen and Damian Marley has cooked up quite a stew here. And their signature and intoxicating blend of boastful hip-hop, raw roots reggae, reinvented rocksteady and clubbing is easy to recognize and fall in love with.
From out of the blue comes Damian, Julian and Stephen Marley’s first album on their Ghetto Youths International label. The title is taken from Damian Marley’s hard-hitting 2011 released single Set Up Shop. And several of the 14 tracks are in the same uncompromising and ferocious style.
The set contains a few already released cuts, including Damian Marley’s title track and his romantic Affairs of the Heart, but also a number of new scorchers, one from him and several from fresh talents, such as the conscious Black-Am-I, Ziggy Marley’s eldest son Daniel Bambaata Marley and Jo Mersa, Stephen Marley’s son.
Set Up Shop Vol. 1 is a bold and futuristic album that takes its influences from a number of genres and moods. It’s mellow and soft, like Daniel Marley’s sugary Treat You Right, but also rough, tough and grim, for example the dismal and provocative In Depence or the pounding heavyweight collaboration Go Hard with Damian Marley, Wayne Marshall, Aidonia, I-Octane, Assassin aka Agent Sasco, Bounty Killer and Vybz Kartel sharing microphone duties.
Most surprising is however Christopher Ellis – son of the great Alton Ellis – and Bay C from T.O.K’s catchy dancehall doo-whopper Don’t Change Your Number, or, for that matter, Damian Marley’s new nugget Dem Neva Mek It with its rocking R&B piano.
This star studded, eclectic and genre crossing compilation showcases an exciting mix of themes and talents as well as a new generation of Marley performers. These fresh voices certainly bode well for the future.
Set Up Shop Vol. 1 is currently available on iTunes worldwide.