For the complete top 10 list, click here.
For the complete top 10 list, click here.
My most esteemed colleague Jessie who holds things down at GreenMNP put together this dope tracklist to share with you… enjoy the selections and make sure to check out all of the interesting stuff over at GreenMNP. DOwnoald the tracks here: GmnpPlayli$t#002
01Â they say i’m different – betty davis
02Â gin house blues – nina simone
03Â the joint is jumpin’ – fats waller
04Â i’m bad like jesse james – john lee hooker
05Â do i move you? – nina simone
06Â decapitated orgasms – five deez
07Â somersault – mf doom
08Â victory – urban thermo dynamics
09Â hussel (feat. afrikan boy) – m.i.a.
10Â innocence – bjÃ¶rk
11Â lay down – floetry
12Â sober and unkissed – sia
13Â cherbourg – beirut
14Â in lust you can hear the axe fall – xiu xiu
15Â sunrise – yeasayer
16Â glory box – portishead
17Â silver stallion – cat power
music.mnp contributor ‘inity’ joe p decided to break down some of his highlights of the year in reggae music. peep…
Here are 5 of my favorites in reggae from the past year. I’m not going to make a top 10, since I agree with the rest of selections from trizlam for the most parts(the ones i’ve heard). These are some additions that are also worth checking out.
Mykal Rose – The Saga
nothing groundbreaking here. just more classic sounding michael rose material, proving he can still do it. Formulaic but very laid back, sentimental sounding, positive vibes. The kind of songs that made me like reggae to begin with. Standouts for me include natural high, these are the days, gun page, fire with fire, but it sounds nice the whole way through.
Jah Cure – True Reflections…. A New Beginning
along with his getting out of prison after 8 years, probably the most anticipated release of 2007. While it maybe doesn’t live up to the hype– how could it?–there are a lot of great songs on this disc, though most were released prior. there is a certain quality about cure’s voice that makes him special as an artist, but the songwriting on several of these songs is a cut above as well. If you’re like me and you only had a couple of recent cure singles, this is a good pickup.
Biblical – Inborn Precepts
i just discovered this album a few days ago and as such i hesitate to include it, but from the first few listens i’m liking what i hear. i dont know much about this artist other than that he is from a place called grass valley, california. decent north american reggae is hard to come by; biblical sounds a lot different from most of it. heavy and engaging, electronic sounding backing tracks coupled with the singer’s echoed out, generally fast paced subtle melodies, reminiscent of chanting (or maybe vaughn benjamin?). A little repetitive maybe and the voice is a little bit grating. This album is pretty accessible and definitely ear catching though and i’m liking it more with each listen.
DJ Musical Mix – Trini Culture #17 (pt 2)
this is not an LP, but a mixtape. It may not even be the best mixed tape either. I’m including it because it put me on to a lot of the young artists from Trinidad and the interesting things they’re doing. the songs featured here are unique, poppy sounding and catchy, and overwhelming upbeat, and i heard it at a time when i really needed to hear these kind of songs. its not for everybody, but you would be missing some fairly big tunes if you ignore trinidad, in my opinion. the cd also only costs 8 bucks, from djmusicalmix.com
Raw Truth – The One Riddim Showcase
Ababa Janhoy Records
i know this is not an album, but since we’re including mixtapes im going to take it one step further and include something completely different. not only is the riddim dope, but in my opinion we are also treated to more lyrical and musical content than more than a few LPs that came out this year, despite all the voicings being over the same track. i consider this album to be a tribute to the late joseph hill, with artists new and experienced doing impressive voicings over one of the last recorded culture songs, raw truth, “show me a tree without a root/ and you will see a country go on without a flag/ each country must have a leader”. this is a riddim disc you can actually play through, the riddim just doesnt really get old through the cd’s 16 tracks. Besides the culture track, we also get a track from big youth featuring the joseph hill vocals, and one from his son, kenyatta hill. “show me a tree without a root/ and i’ll show you a father without any children/ all children deserve a father”. The all pro lineup includes veterans johnny clarke, ronnie davis, max romeo, elijah prophet and newer artists the amharic, eldie anthony and ice block, daddy rings, lmj, and others. i’m not going to pick standouts, i encourage everyone to pick this up and choose your own.
check back soon for some more 2007 picks from the mnp family… and if you want to add your two cents feel free to leave a comment or hit us off with an email…
so here is the second half of my list of personal favorite reggae full-lengths for the year (the first half is here)… just to remind you they are in no specific order, and I encourage disagreement so let me know what you think.
I hope I’m not offending any UK roots stalwarts here by putting a release on here from a relative newcomer out of Ipswich, England… I’m sure there were a lot of records out oft he UK that didn’t make it onto my radar. Anyway, this album features well rounded production from the Sativa Records camp and powerful singing to match from Darien Prophecy. I fist heard of this artist from his tune “I’m in trouble” on the Rise Up riddim (unfortunately this cut isnt on the album) and was really impressed by his vocals… overall, meaningful lyrics and solid instrumental tracks make this one of the albums of the year for me.
First of all, this is technically a “mixtape” and not an album so it shouldn’t really count. With that said, I think that the amount of exclusives and the overall production value of this disc definitely sets it apart from just another mixtape. Obviously in my view 2007 was a big year for VI roots reggae, and there’s no better compilation to get your hands on right now to get a sample of some of the ridiculous talent coming out on labels like I Grade, VI Connection, Kingdom Croix, Mt. Nebo and more. If you want to go a little deeper than Midnite and Dezarie, definitely check for the Sense Enemy Mixtape.
Cocoa Tea gets my vote this year for veteran artists still making power moves. This album is definitely a cut above the competition and manages to perfectly balance the dignity of a veteran singer with the sound and sensibility of current reggae. I slept on this disc initially but am now full convinced that it belongs on this list. Although there are a few tracks on here that get the skip-treatment, a handful of really spectacular tunes make Biological Warfare worthy of top-ten status.
I recently did a write up on this release from yet another talented VI singer to come out of the I Grade camp. While some people criticize the VI roots sound for being overly repetitive and lacking the dynamism of Jamaican reggae, Danny I proves to be a stellar artist and songwriter on Unchangeable, breathing new life into new and previously heard I Grade riddim tracks. Impressive combinations with Niyorah and Vaughn Benjamin as well as a diverse selection of heartfelt tunes make this record an instant VI classic for me and definitely among the top reggae releases that I heard this year.
Last but not least we have Chezidek’s full length named for one of my favorite tracks from 06–Inna Di Road. While he doesn’t always get as much attention as he deserves, I think Chezidek is one of the most talented artists making moves in the Jamaican scene right now. His distinctive voice and memorable lyrics stand out over any riddim… seriously, this dude is a remarkable singer thats only really been around for a handful of years but will surely have a bright future in the recording business. He came with a few albums this year but Inna Di Road, produced by Bobby Konders gets my vote for the selection of tunes and the all-around cohesiveness if the record.
*** so what do yall think?***
and that means its time for the lists. Some people say 2007 was a boring year for reggae, and that today’s reggae is ‘watered down’ and whatnot, but I disagree. Here is a list I put together with ten of my favorite reggae full-lengths released in 2007. The selections are in no particular order and obviously reflect personal preferences… but feel free to disagree… I would like to hear what other people think.
Say what you will about a few of the singles, Tarrus Riley’s major label debut Parables was one of the top reggae full lengths of the year. combining steadfast conscious lyrics with quality production Riley put together an offering that not only had a disproportionate number of hit singles, but also holds together very cohesively as an album. (note: I know that this record dropped in late December of 06, but for convenience I am going to include it in 2007)
Richie Spice had a successful year with the release of In the Streets to Africa and a slew of hits after that. On the album he is in top form, delivering one quality vocal performance after another over some of the biggest riddims of the past few years. With a consistent mix of new material and memorable singles, this record should really restore any nonbeliever’s doubts about current mainstream reggae coming out of Jamaica.
Chant of the Lions I features some of the most talented artists out of the Virgin Islands. Various Star Lion Family members shine on this disc including established artists like Niyorah and Pressure alongside up and comers like Ickarus and Rafijah. All in all a very heavy compilation with crucial riddims provided by the Bambu Station band–who are killin it right now–and dope vocal performances across the board.
This one was a tough choice for me considering Midnite dropped a whole heap of albums this year… but for me it was a toss up between Better World Rasta and the Lustre Kings produced Infinite Quality. In the end I think that I made the right choice, despite the number of sick tracks on all of the other albums. I think that LK delivered on the production side of things and that kind of makes the record for me. As always Vaughn Benjamin provides a neverending stream of hard-to-decipher lyrics, but something just feels right when its over the heavy and consistent LK riddims.
I am pretty conflicted about Chuck Fenda… I think a lot of his tracks are really dope, and as far as energy is concerned he blows the majority of the competition out of the water… but he has a tendency to get on riddims that–to me–are not really worthy of his talent. As a result, you never really know what youre gonna get with a Chuck Fenda tune. With that said, this album could hardly go wrong riding on the success of hits like “Gash Dem”, “Gwaan Plant” and “Freedom of Speech”. While its not the most cohesive collection of tracks, I definitely think The Living Fire ranks among the year’s best full-lengths.
*** Check back soon for my other five picks***