Jamaican deejay Tippa Lee – currently based in the U.S – has collaborated with talented producer and mixing engineer Tom Chasteen, who is also running Dub Club in Los Angeles.
Now the pair has an album out on Stones Throw Records and it’s a bona fide killer with its tasty and excellent relicks of a number of immortal riddims, including a murderous cut of the lethal Drum Song riddim.
Cultural Ambassador and its dub version Dub Them With Reality are all about culture, consciousness and sound system skills. Tippa Lee started deejaying at the tender age of twelve and dropped his first single in the early 80s. He hasn’t been particularly prolific and this is actually his solo debut following combination sets with Rappa Robert and Toyan in the 80s and early 90s.
And when listening to this stunning set it’s a pity he hasn’t spent more time in the studio because he has a majestic flow and is also a gifted lyricist paying respect to his peers from the early days.
Judging by the artists joining Tippa Lee on this album it’s clear that he’s a force to be reckoned with. Cornell Campbell, Tony Tuff, Bionic Clarke and Sister Nancy all grace this album with their skills.
“Kill them with reality, a with reality, teach them reality… and all slackness deejay them have to run away” states Tippa Lee on the title track and that’s the essence of this set.
Cultural Ambassador (Deluxe Version) is currently available as digital download. It collects both albums mentioned above. A vinyl edition of Dub Them With Reality has also been released, while the vocal part will be put out on May 20.
A while ago I wrote about two exciting dub releases from LA’s Dub Club, aka producers Tom Chasteen and Tippa Lee. The vocal counterpart has just hit the shelves and it’s even better than the initially released dub albums.
Foundation Come Again collects 20 tracks voiced by 21 Jamaican sound system legends and one newcomer, Natty King. The album is solely based on relicks of a number of immortal and scorching riddims, including gems such as Heavenless and Drum Song, both originally recorded at Studio One in the 60s, and versioned abundantly in the days of early dancehall, when some of the icons on this album had their heydays.
But it’s not only the music that gets a relick, some of the artists reuses lyrics originally sung in the 70s and 80s. Lone Ranger, for example, uses some of the lyrics from his Sat Upon the Rock, and Welton Irie, checks lyrics from his dark and grim Jah Come.
The musicians – especially the riddim section – involved in this project take a relentless taking-no-prisoners-approach to executing the pulsating and thumping riddims into deadly sonic punches. And there are so many highlights on this album I really don’t know where to begin or to end.
You have the ghostly chanting from Dillinger on Around the World, Little Harry’s fiercely aggressive Revolution or Brigadier Jerry & Ranking Joe’s hypnotic head-nodder Meditation Trance. Then there’s 17 other almost equally as great tracks by icons such as Big Youth, Trinity, Jim Brown, the late Ranking Trevor and the sadly under-recorded Tullo T.
Foundation Come Again is definately not your ordinary album of relicks. This one is something else.
In 2000 music producer and reggae aficionado Tom Chasteen started LA’s Dub Club, where he every week invites Jamaican veteran singers and deejays to perform alongside the club’s DJ’s. The essence of the club can be seen and heard in the excellent documentary and album Rub A Dub Style released a few years ago.
Tom Chasteen has now a new project. This time he has teamed up with Tippa Lee for an album titled Foundation Come Again, set for release in mid July. Prior to that tasty album are two limited edition LP’s with dub versions – Signs and Wonders in Dub and Bubble Dub.
The recordings were done in Jamaica and LA with several foundation deejays, including Big Youth, Lone Ranger, Prince Jazzbo, Dillinger, Josey Wales and Trinity. They ride a number of classic and relicked riddims, such as Death in the Arena, Zion Gate and many more.
All dub versions are made old-school style – mixed live on tape in one take by Tom Chasteen. He improvised and tried and tested the sounds by twisting knobs, pushing faders, reshaping song structures and adding echo and reverb going head to head with space and time.
Signs and Wonders in Dub and Bubble Dub are two deadly dub albums. They’re pulsating and smooth, yet heavy and dread in a rub a dub style and fashion.