Tough UK chanter YT is a regular among Mungo’s Hi Fi’s many collaborators. And now they have a new album together, a set that is less experimental compared to several other releases from this Scottish outfit.
No Wata Down Ting lives up to its frank title. YT rides eleven rough riddims powered by live instrumentation supplemented by Prince Fatty’s studio band. The have laid down a number of devastating riddims, including the title track, which is a version of Johnny Osbourne’s wicked Ice Cream Love, originally produced by Henry “Junjo” Lawes. Johnny Osbourne himself joins YT on the microphone and Mungo’s Hi Fi has wobbled the bass line to mash up sound system dances worldwide.
But Ice Cream Love is not the only trace of Henry Lawes on this great set. Album opener – the motivational God Bless Pickney – is a version of Toyan’s excellent Afrikan Ting and Hugh Mundell’s Jaqueline, dubbed by Scientist with great effect as Blood On His Lips.
Another dancehall luminaire also contributes. Little John adds verses to the pulsating Work to Do, which might be this album’s strongest track.
No Wata Down Ting begins its musical journey with Henry Lawes and ends at another end of the dancehall sonic landscape – jump-up digital as made world-known by producers like Steely & Clevie in the late 80s.
Solo Banton is one of the newest members of the acclaimed Banton clan. He dropped his debut album Walk Like Rasta in 2009 and has since dropped the heavyweight EP Musical Addict, and now his second album Higher Levels.
Higher Levels boasts 15 tracks and has a impressive line-up of producers, including Kris Kemist, Roberto Sánchez, Dougie Conscious, Dubkasm and Nick Manasseh. Together with Solo Banton and his guests YT, Michael Prophet and Deadly Hunta they have made a versatile album with ruthless bass lines, nyabinghi drumming, uptempo ska and head-nodding digital roots.
Solo Banton is a fine lyricist sharing positive and cultural thoughts as well as an talented singjay equally at ease with spitting lyrics and singing faithful praises.
Just check Deya Know, the rough YT collaboration Politician Knockout over the Jacqueline riddim made famous by the late Hugh Mundell in the early 80’s or album opener Me No Know, a clever interpretation of the classic Ba Ba Boom riddim, originally produced by Duke Reid and performed by The Jamaicans in 1967. Here it has got a furious contemporary roots treatment.
Higher Levels is a natural follow-up to Solo Banton’s debut album, and is now available as CD and on digital platforms.
For many years UK reggae artists have been criticizing the state of society with targets such as Thatcherism, racism and general economic and social policy. Back in the 80’s it was groups and artists such as Linton Kwesi Johnson, Steel Pulse and Aswad. One of the more contemporary social commentators is Ipswich son Mark Hull, better known as YT, a play with words to take a head-on approach dealing with his skin color.
YT has been in the music game since 1988 and in 1992 – after being on the sound system circuit for a while – he went into the studio for the first time with Dennis Rootical, a session resulting in his debut recording Cris Biscuit Girl.
Over the past 20 years YT has managed to drop two albums, start the Sativa label and score a chart topper with England Story as well as performing at Jamaican annual dancehall festival Sting, probably the most competitive festival in the world with a notoriously hard to please crowd.
His third and latest album Revolution Time sees him in fine form chatting, chanting and singing tongue twisters over one drop, bashment, dubstep and dancehall riddims produced by Dub Akom, Mungo’s Hi-Fi, Peckings, Nucleus Roots and Firehouse. Guest artists include Mr. Williamz, Solo Banton, Spragga Benz and Joe Lickshot.
Revolution Time is mostly a conscious affair dealing with the state of the world in World News and his skepticism towards politicians and the system in general in What Dem Selling. He also finds to time to give parenting advice in the bouncy Never Gonna and declares his love for reggae music in Save Mi Life over the 54-46 (aka Boops) riddim.
This third album is a step in a more conscious direction and is a heavyweight collection of revolutionary anthems.
The CD and digital download version of Revolution Time holds 16 tracks, whereas the LP version collects eight tunes.