Sunday, February 26, 2012

Some Canadian Reggae in the Building


I recently stumbled upon the release of Citizen Sound's (aka Aram Scaram, out of Ontario, CA) new self-titled album, and was surprised by what I heard.  The album features a bunch of both up-and-coming and established Canadian artists, and turned out to be a perfect blend of reggae, dub and some hip-hop.  What I was most impressed with was his ability to present a modern unique sound, while maintaining a strong classic roots feel.  He did this by mixing a ton of old covers/samples (e.g. "Wa Do Dem" by Eek-A-Mouse) and memorable bass lines into his production.  The album is definitely worth checking out for yourself on iTunes.

 
What I need to stress, though, is how good the second track of the album is.  "Come What May" featuring a fellow Canadian, Treson, and and unknown female vocalist is easily what pushed me to write this post.  The production from Citizen Sound is simple and on point:  Two mellow guitar riffs drive the beat throughout the tune.  Treson does a good job of not over-singing the production, and his calm voice accompanies the guitar perfectly.  Most importantly though, (which makes the lack of recognition even worse) is the female on the chorus.  She absolutely brings this song to another level and deserves some credit.

Also, look into Treson sometime.  It looks like he's been around for a while and has always killed it on the vocals.

Friday, February 24, 2012

BOOM TUNE OF THE WEEK



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ghetto Lifestyle Riddim




First thing I notice about this riddim is there's a huge talent gap. The bigger names - Peetah Morgan, Jah Vinci and I-Octane - do a great job vocally to compliment this selection, while the "no-names" do an absolute shameful job at making this quality riddim sound very forgettable.

Because of this huge division in talent, I thought this riddim was pretty bad upon first listen. However, once I took a couple listens through, and mixed the few good tracks together, I immediately retracted my original opinion. After speeding up the tempo a bit, I really like the vibes on this one. It actually sounds very much like Sean Paul's "Straight From My Heart" (below). If only Romeich Records was able to fill this lineup with a bunch of talent, this rhythm could have blown up!


Happy Birthday, Bradley Nowell!



Had to show some respect to Mr. Bradley Nowell of Sublime, who would have been 44 today! Much of his music was inspired by reggae legends like Half Pint, Bob Marley, and Peter Tosh. In my eyes, he represents a new generation of musical fusion set by his punk rock interpretation of reggae. His legacy lives on through the music of Sublime as well as the band's success at carving the path for many of today's prominent American reggae acts such as Pepper, Rebelution, and Slightly Stoopid.

-"Lifes too short, so love the one you got."



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tarrus Riley Releases New Tunes!!


Tarrus Riley has apparently been on a recent tear in the recording studio.  As an optimist, I'm hoping this news will lead to the new album that he has been promising for almost over a year now.  Of the three new tracks that I heard, I am a fan of one, another is growing on me, and the last I could certainly do without.  Admittedly, the order of these tracks go from culture to dancehall; so if you're a fan of the latter, it could be the opposite order for you.  My favorite is "Hurt Me" on the EZ Riddim.  Interestingly, this is the same riddim that Irie Love & Fiji recorded the massive jam, "It Is What It Is."  I am very curious to see what other artists tackle this riddim as it definitely has potential to be a classic culture riddim.  The second tune, "We Run It (Jamaica)" is on the Movin' Feva Riddim, and shows Tarrus' versatility in the dancehall genre.  It provides a similar feel to his classics such as "Good Girl Gone Bad" and "Herbs Promotion."  The last is "Center of Attraction," which provides almost a soca dancehall style.  Tarrus' voice almost salvages the tune, but I still can't call myself a fan.  This could be a classic example of reevaluating the jam when the summer time comes around, and loving it!

Marley, the Movie


This past weekend, the official trailer for Marley was released. This film is supposed to be the greatest Bob Marley documentary yet, with never-before-seen footage, songs that have never been released, and unprecedented access inside the Marley family archives. It goes without saying, this should be a good one.

The film is set to be available in (select) theaters and on demand April 20th, so keep an eye out.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chronixx in the Studio


We posted this single above, "Beat and a Mic," by the artist, Chronixx a while back. It was the first I've heard of this guy, and I was/still am very impressed with this tune. I'm eager to hear some more of what Chronixx has to offer - he's got a great voice and a unique sound. This guy could be big...

Check out the video above of Chronixx with the Black As Cole Band, rehearsing his single, Beat and a Mic.

Friday, February 17, 2012

BOOM TUNE OF THE WEEK

Gentleman: Diversity (New Release?)


Back in April 2010, Gentleman dropped his sixth album, Diversity.  Interestingly (sadly) enough, the US iTunes Store just released it for sale on February 14th of this year.  After many struggles last Spring, I finally downloaded the album and got an incredibly consistent and impressive 28 tracks.  Unfortunately, US iTunes cut down the album to 15 tracks, butI can't complain, as many of my favorite tracks made the cut.

Anyways...  If people are just now catching onto this album through iTunes' "New Releases" then good for Gentleman.  I played this album for probably six straight weeks in the spring of 2010 and discovered a new favorite track each week.  Diversity would easily go onto my list of top five albums of 2010.  So I figured, with the opportunity that iTunes presented, I'd remind reggae massive how amazing the German reggae superstar is.

Buy the album from iTunes HERE.  Check out my favorite tunes: "I Got To Go," "It No Pretty," and "Moment of Truth."  Also, here is a a favorite track of mine that didn't make the album.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley: Affairs of the Heart


Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley just released his single, "Affairs of the Heart."  What more can be said about Damian?  He's an absolute legend of our time that just continues to perfect his craft.  This single is closer to my favorite style of Damian, compared to his other recent releases.  Although it has a dancehall driven beat, it is slowed down and allows his conscious lyrics to shine through his unique and recognizable voice. 


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stephen Marley Wins Grammy Award

Above is a shot of myself and Jah-Love with Stephen at an album release event this summer in Boston, MA. Big up!



We here at team Rudeboy would like to congratulate Stephen on being awarded another Grammy for his album, Revelation Pt. 1: The Root of Life. I can't think of an artist more deserving, where Stephen constantly provides inspirational lyrics, implements classic roots reggae into his music, and puts on a GREAT concert. Below are my two favorite tracks off the album, entitled "Now I Know" and "Can't Keep I Down."




Classic Valentine's Day Love Jam

Friday, February 10, 2012

Rebelution Drops Triple Album, "Peace of Mind"

Rebelution continues to dominate the American Reggae scene with last month's release of their 4th studio album, "Peace of Mind." The album presents a unique "Deluxe" edition that includes dub, acoustic, and the normal versions of all 12 tracks. The addition of dub and acoustic versions to the album is a brilliant concept that I hope more bands will look into in the future. The versatility in Rebelution's style helps create another dimension to the music fans love, and especially so with the acoustic versions -- theres something so naturally captivating to hearing your favorite artists singing to an acoustic guitar.

Peace of Mind is another solid addition to the Rebelution sound, which has had fans sold since the group's origins, making party's bump in Isla Vista, Santa Barbara back in 2004. The album has an array of muical fusions that I really enjoyed, from the harmonica section and hip hop beat in "Closer I Get," to the classic/jazzy style in "Route Around." I also really liked honeypot and the track with Lutan Fyah, "Good Vibes," which was one of the more progressive tracks on the album. As a big fan of hip hop, it was cool to hear Zumbi of Zion I layin down a verse on a reggae track.

Check out the CD for yourself on iTunes and make sure to catch these guys on tour right now as they make their way around the country 'longside The Green & Pep Love of the hip hop group Hieroglyphics.

Tour Dates can be found here: http://rebelutionmusic.com/Tour/index.php

And of course, as always, my favorite single off the album -- "Route Around." Thought I would give you the lyric video to get a taste, if you haven't already, of Rebelution's concious and positive message:



Itation Spin Off: "Not-So-Larger-Than-Life"


Itation Records' DJ Tosheba and J-Trees recently formed their own record label, Larger Than Life Records, as what sounds like an independent project 'longside Itation, as apposed to a direct split from the big US label.

The new group's debut riddim, Life after Lifetime, is set to hit the airwaves on February 14th. Already, though, a number of rhythm mixes are up on YouTube, and I have to say, I'm less than impressed. Itation Records has set a pretty high standard for all US-based record labels over the past 4/5 years. I think it's only natural to expect similar quality from the label's spin off, Larger Than Life. Unfortunately, I was left pretty dissapointed with this one. It's just another boring, roots riddim for me. Maybe this sort of sound is your cup of tea, but certainly not mine. Luckily, they got some big names on this production to salvage anything possible, but at the end of the day, it's simply a very forgettable rhythm.


On a similar note, however, I can't wait for the next Itation production. According to the label's website, a lot of big developments are in store for the near future:
"We have an exciting year coming up. New riddims in the mix. We're working on an exciting app, "Itation Sound," for your iPhone and iPads. Some T-shirt designs and plenty of mix cd's from Itation Sound. Stay tuned, sign up for the email list and be up to the time with all the new projects!"


BOOM TUNE OF THE WEEK



~Big ups Ben Jah!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Clear Conscience: Lust at First Sight



I just gave the Clear Conscience album, Lust At First Sight, a few listens over and am pretty excited by it.  The Oakland-based band comes with it again, this time on a completely acoustic album.  If you have listened to the band before you know the sound to expect:  lots of Pepper and Sublime similarities (depending on what band you're more familiar with).  The album features a few artists that I was excited about; most notably Josh Heinrichs and Joel Castillo, the lead singer from 77 Jefferson.  This album provides exactly what a lot of other all-acoustic albums do.  There is definitely quality, as it offers some slower jams along with some more upbeat ones, and continues to put off the mood that I've grown to love from this band.  However, very little of the songs blew me away and they all kind of blend together by the end of the album.  You be the judge for yourself:  here are three of my favorite tunes.

Reggae Remix! Inner Circle & Adelle




For those of you that have been living under a rock for the last year, Adele's song "Rolling in the Deep" had been #1 on the charts for seven weeks straight, and ended up being the best-selling single of 2011.  For those of you who have been under that rock for much longer, Inner Circle has been killing it since the late '60's, and are responsible for the massive tune, "Bad Boys" (from COPS).  It is big to see a tune with these two very influential artists coming together for a reggae remix.  I doubt that Adele put any energy into the song herself, but it is still good to see the spread of reggae into the pop genre.

Download it here!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Busy Signal Music Video: "Missing You"



Busy Signal dropped the tune, "Missing You (Come Over)" back in November, on the Heart & Soul Riddim.  I had obviously heard it before, but hearing it again on the "Valentine's Affair 2012" mix reminded me how catchy the track is.  I'm not usually a huge advocate of Busy Signal, but when I saw he dropped a music video for the song, I figured I'd share it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bob Marley!

One of the most influential musicians to ever walk the planet would have turned 67 today. His captivating music has appealed to every human from every walk of life, spreading reggae and the humanistic message of Rastafari on an international level. Most importantly, he gave the masses of oppressed people around the world hope for a brighter future, and a true living God to follow. Check this segment of a documentary on the man himself and take some time today to reflect on the legacy left behind by one of the greatest contributors of positivity in our time. May his music and message live forever.

~ One Love






Friday, February 3, 2012

BOOM TUNE OF THE WEEK



Supremecy Sounds: Valentine's Affair 2012


The calendar just flipped and Valentine's Day is already almost one week away.  Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the Hallmark-invented holiday, but if there's any excuse for Simple Simon (of Supremacy Sounds) to drop a new mix, then I'm all for it.  I've given the new mixtape, "Valentine's Affair 2012" a few listens over, and not only does it get better with each listen, but it also grows in strength from start to finish.  The compilation is classic Simple Simon: high quality mixing, with really impressive song choice.  Not to mention it sends the perfect vibes out for a Valentine's Day evening.

This Valentine's Day post also gives me the excuse to big up Supremacy Sounds, in particular Simple Simon.  For over a year now I've been keeping an eye out for his "Missile" compilations.  He hasn't dropped a new one in a while, so at this point, the compilations are all made of older tunes, but I still play them all the time and highly recommend them.  I included my favorite mix, "Missile 48," because it was the compilation that got me hooked on the DJ.  And of course download the "Valentine's Affair 2012" for yourself, as well.  Here's the link to a full list of their mixtapes for you to explore through. 

Download Mix: "Missile 48"
Download Mix: "Valentine's Affair 2012 "



Thursday, February 2, 2012

Jah Sun "Battle the Dragon" Album Review


Woah! Jah Sun is not kidding around with his second album, "Battle the Dragon" released on his own label, Jah Sun Music. With a perfect dose of roots reggae, hip-hop infused, and dancehall, the tracklist is solid from top to bottom. The more I listen to Jah Sun, he reminds me of an American version of Gentleman, giving his listeners very conscious lyrics with a unique delivery. Hailing from Northern California, he seems to give us a different perspective on Jamaica, worldwide problems, and music as a whole that will be powerful in determining the future direction of reggae.

Opening the CD with "In this time," I can't think of better way to start an album--high energy, powerful message, and a catchy chorus. Overall, just a big tune that will be sure to get any party started. I also like "Love and Grace" and "Amore," where Jah Sun showcases his ability to adapt his style and slow it down.  His track with Alborosie entitled "Ganjah Don" is sure to be a weed-smokers anthem, laced with heavy bass-lines and a great feature by the Italian superstar. Honestly, all the tracks are fire besides (ironically) "Battle the Dragon". Other guest appearances include J Boog, Gentleman, Peetah, and Perfect. In terms of production, Dynasty, Special Delivery, and Lockdown Productions all play their respective role in making this album a must listen.

Download the album from iTunes or Amazon.

SOJA 4th Studio Album: "Strength to Survive"


SOJA has just released their 4th Studio Album, "Strength to Survive," under Dave Mathews' Label, ATO Records. The highly anticipated album has reached as high as #4 on the iTunes Top 10 Albums, and remains at the #1 spot on the iTunes Reggae Charts, sitting just above Bob Marley's "Legend."

It is astonishing to say the least, to see an American reggae act on the iTunes Top 10 Album chart next to big names such as Adele, Drake, and Kelly Clarkson. And this comes as no fluke to the genre, with Rebelution's new album accomplishing the same feat only two weeks prior. While the implications are endless, the album's ranking  most notably symbolizes the rapidly-growing presence of reggae music at the forefront of the popular American music scene.
As for the album, it's catchy, but it's different -- it's SOJA, but it's distant from the band's earlier work, "Peace In A Time Of War," and "Get Wiser." It is exactly what it is, and that is the "SOJA" sound, produced by ATO Records. The lyrical consciousness is still there, the reggae foundation is still there, the rock touch is still there, but it has gravitated more toward a pop sound. However, popular music is popular music for a reason, and thats because it's music that appeals to the masses. My biggest disappointment is that Bobby Lee doesnt have a single word on any of the 13 tracks. Overall, though, I am going to give the album a thumbs up for pushing the boundaries on the sound, diversifying the music to reach new listeners while keeping true to reggae's message, and most importantly for continuing to deliver good music regardless of what musical category it may fall under.

While some reggae fans have felt a sense of "selling out," or straying from the sound people have come to love with the latest project, I think these conclusions would be cutting one of America and the world's top contemporary Reggae bands far too short. SOJA has proven they can make quality roots reggae, they have proven they can make quality rock reggae, and they proven they can, well, just make good reggae.

Music is progressing and so are the bands that make it, so people need to recognize artistic freedoms and leave some room to growth. For all we know this is just a phase in experimentation, stretching SOJA's sound to the limits, and their fan base to the four corners of the earth so that they can bring it all back one day to the roots that they came from. Besides, have you seen these guys live!? One of the best...

Tour has kicked off so be sure to check them in a city near you. Dates posted here: http://http//sojamusic.com/tour

And of course my favorite tracks off the new album are Be With Me Now, When We Were Younger, and Gone Today.



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