Over the past months at least three ultra-solid mixtapes have been put out. I’m talking about Kabaka Pyramid & Walshy Fire & Major Lazer, Jah9 and O.B.F. Soundsystem featuring Ishabel & Wildlife. All three are absolutely devastating.
Kabaka Pyramid & Walshy Fire & Major Lazer – Accurate
Kabaka Pyramid started in the music business as a rapper, but turned into reggae. On this musical gem Walshy Fire and Major Lazer let him rap and toast over classic riddims and hip-hop beats showcasing his ill skills. It also features a number of exclusives and collaborators like Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan, Chronixx, Protoje, Pressure and Hempress Sativa. Just press play and enjoy.
Jah9 – 9 mm Vol. 2: Pre-Album Groundings
With this mixtape one of Jamaica’s finest and most honest singer’s gears up for her highly-anticipated second album 9, out on September 9. This part two instalment follows her 9 mm Vol. 1: Message Music – released in 2012 prior to her debut album – and features original and never-before-heard tracks where Jah9 shines both musically and spiritually. With a number of covers she also celebrates some of her musical role models – Nina Simone’s Misunderstood, Tracy Chapman’s She’s Got A Ticket, Ras Michael’s New Name and Dennis Brown’s Bloody City are all features. And so is a fresh Sizzla medley. Sit back, press play and enjoy.
O.B.F. Soundsystem featuring Ishabel & Wildlife & Friends – The Voice of Lightning & Thunder
This killer new mixtape from French soundsystem O.B.F certainly lives it to its title. Brimstone and fire with gravel-voiced vocalist Wildlife and the versatile Ishabel along with a number of other artists, including Jesse Royal, Charlie P and Pupajim. O.B.F has also enlisted the help from other producers and riddims from Dubkasm, Maximum Sound and Mungo’s Hi Fi are also included. This one is a certified scorcher, so turn up the volume, lock the door and hope the neighbours aren’t home.
While we wait for his debut full-length album Jamaican singer Jesse Royal has joined forces with Major Lazer’s Walshy Fire for a fierce mixtape titled Royally Speaking.
This is Jesse Royal’s third official mixtape and his first with Walshy Fire, a DJ and producer that has previously dropped storming sets with Addis Pablo and Chronixx.
Jesse Royal is part of Jamaica’s recent roots revival scene, a scene that features artists like the above-mentioned Addis Pablo and Chronixx, but also Protoje, Kelissa, Iba Mahr, Dre Island, Loyal Flames, Jah9 and Micah Shemaiah.
Royally Speaking comes with 25 tracks excellently mixed together by Walshy Fire. It comes with original cuts, interludes, dubplates and hip-hop-flavoured remixes.
Listen, download and check the full track list over at Soundcloud.
VI reggae trailblazers Midnite is back with a new collaboration with I Grade Records. It’s their seventh album release together and the first since the acclaimed Rule the Time, released in 2007.
On Beauty for Ashes the very prolific Midnite also teams up with the mighty Zion I Kings production team. And as usual the result is sublime. For me, Midnite’s weak point has always been melodies, but the on this album Midnite and their producers have taken the song writing and production to a new level. This 13 track set even includes something that can almost be described as sing-a-long choruses. Just listen to album opener A Reminder. Maybe not sing-a-long like Coldplay, but probably as close as you get with a band like Midnite.
The album was recorded in both Jamaica and in the Virgin Islands. It collects several rolling and thunderous bass lines as well as Vaughn Benjamin’s dread and eerie chanting-styled singing, a style that might be an acquired taste. It’s raspy and can be a bit monotonous and non-melodic.
Beauty for Ashes is brighter and more uplifting compared to the bulk of their previous albums. The soundscape is dense, deep and hypnotic as usual. But the bright horns and strong melodies lighten up the set and these two key ingredients make Beauty for Ashes one of Midnite’s best and most accessible albums to date.
To get a feel of the album, check this promo mix by Major Lazer’s Walshy Fire.
Two blazing mixtapes were put out today – one from the well-respected UK label Maximum Sound and one from Suns of Dub & Walshy Fire, one third of futuristic dancehall trio Major Lazer.
The Maximum Sound mix is a 20th anniversary mix covering 95 tracks from 1993 to 2013 mixed to perfection by Gussy from Silver Star Sound. It collects a truckload of big tunes, for example Bunny General’s Spy Fi Die, Fantan Mojah’s Stronger and Captain Sinbad’s Worldwide Rebellion. If you need the full tunes – and you probably do – they are easily available as digital download on the compilation Maximum Sound 20:20. Meanwhile, listen over at Soundcloud.
The mixtape from Suns of Dub & Walshy Fire is a completely different affair. Suns of Dub is an ethereal two piece group consisting of the late Augustus Pablo’s son Addis Pablo and his partner Ras Jammy. They are the next generation of Rockers International and for this project they have some of their contemporaries onboard – Chronixx, Protoje, Kabaka Pyramid and Randy Valentine. But included are also legends like Bob Marley and Luciano.
Walshy Fire has treated the original material brutally. It’s a perfect mess mixing all things with a big, bad and bold bass. It’s a journey through dub, reggae, dubstep and dancehall via hip-hop, drum and bass and electronic dance music.
If you dug Walshy Fire’s treatment of Chronixx’ material from last year, you’ll need this one also. Listen and download via Soundcloud and check the full story behind the project over at LargeUp.
Major Lazer is the electo-dancehall brainchild of U.S. DJ and producer Diplo and UK DJ and producer Switch. For Major Lazer’s brand new album Free the Universe Switch has jumped the ship and is replaced by Jillionaire and Walshy Fire. The result is in the same frenetic vein as the debut set Guns Don’t Kill People… Lazers do.
Free the Universe is a fierce party-starting brew of dubstep, reggae, R&B, dancehall, tropical bass and electronica and is not for the fainthearted. The guest list is of biblical proportions and ranges from dancehall dons Elephant Man, Leftside, Vybz Kartel and Busy Signal to pop singer Bruno Mars, rapper Wyclef Jean and rock singer Amber from Dirty Projectors.
The album was preceded by three excellent and very different singles – the ambient Get Free, the relentless Jah No Partial, which samples Johnny Osbourne’s Mr. Marshall, and Watch Out For This (Bumaye), where Busy Signal chats over a pounding bass drum accompanied by horns sampled from salsa champions Willie Colon & Ruben Blades’ Maria Lionza.
On Free the Universe Major Lazer breaks down barriers between genres and manages to create a modern album filled with distorted voices, skull-cracking drums, soulful reggae-flavored R&B and broken rhythm patterns that will have your neighbors banging on the door asking to turn-down the bass or to join the party.
Young, up and coming super-talent Chronixx has really made a name for himself over the past months with strong singles such as Beat & Mix and Plant It.
And he has obviously attracted attention from the Major Lazer team. They have now produced and released the mixtape Major Lazer Presents: Chronixx & Walshy Fire – Start a Fyah Mixtape, where the youthful performer sings, raps and deejays over a broad variety of riddims to flex his skills.
This is a mighty mixtape. Actually one of the best in a while. And it largely succeeds thanks to the versatile selection of beats and the multitalented Chronixx.
Listen to the mix below and don’t forget to head over to Major Lazer’s Soundcloud page to catch the tracklist.