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Wha ah gwaan? Im Krikon and this is my blog, it's dedicated to everything i find interesting, esp. Reggae but also movies and graphic design. My reviews feature some low-quality, streaming samples but im not an illegal mp3 blog and will never be. Any artist or label who want their samples removed, let me know. If you want your album or movie reviewed here, post in the chat box and i'll get in touch with you.

September 26, 2007

Jahranimo - Real life

Canada has a large, vibrant community of Jamaican immigrants and this has of course meant a very much alive Reggae scene whit plenty of artists, soundsystems and concerts. It's this scene that has given birth to the Jamaican/Canadian Dj Jahranimo. Just like others before him he converted to RastafarI a couple of years ago and this is something that is very visible in his artistry. What I did not know when i bought this CD was that his "Rap" influences where just as visible. Even though I love both Reggae and Rap I don't like when artists mix the 2 styles together to get some sorta bastard offspring (there is an truly horrible collaboration between Mad Cobra and Geto Boys who exemplifies everything i hate whit this cross pollination). But I guess there are exceptions to all rules and this may just be that exception to my disliking of "Rap/Reggae".

I pretty much bought this album on the strenght of the first song "Opposite" alone, it's a very good tune talking about those who are the "......opposite of everything that's right", exposing and discussing their wicked plans. It's one of the most rootsy tunes on here, very uplifting and catchy and would work perfect for any conscious soundsystem out there. Id love to go totally crazy on the dance floor to this tune. Next up is the heavily influenced "Up deh" who is way more representative of Jahranimos sound than the first song. It's very digital and bouncy sounding but most definitely whit a Rootsy message bigging up all church goers.

Fast forward a few "Hip Hop" sounding songs and we come to the title track "Real life", a biographical song about his upbringing whit his Grandma in Jamaica, his mom and all the tribulations Jahranimo went through growing up. It has a slight touch of R&B and would have been the perfect crossover pop hit whit it's soft but always qualitative sound. I really like this song and the lyrics feels very relevant and honest. After that it's back to the "Hip Hop" sounding songs whit "Must get betta" where Jahranimo spits uplifting rhymes about how things must get better when things feel as if they have hit "rock bottom". The beat is minimalistic and on a whole this is a song that tend to stick to your mind.

It takes a while for Jahranimo to find his way back to the Rootsier songs but it happens on track 16, "Jah jah love" that he does whit label mate Kirk Davis who has a very Yamie Bolo sounding voice, surprisingly enough i mus say that the more "Hip Hop" influenced songs sounds a little bit better even though this is not a bad song. Next comes "Judge not" who is as "Hip Hop like" as it gets on here. The album ends whit a remix of an earlier track, "Dance nice".

Over all i must say that this is a very good album, nothing for the fans of traditional or even newer Roots Reggae, the lyrics about Jah might be there but not the beats/music backing. At first I did not like "Real life" at all but it grew on me and turned out to be such a great album i just had to review it. One could tell that Jahranimo loves women (who doesn't ?) and many of the songs on here are dedicated to them. However, this is done in a respectful and positive way, you will not find no raps about hoes, bitches and sexual positions on here. If you're looking for a "Hip Hop" sounding dancehall album whit strong positive lyrics this is a good choice.

September 25, 2007

Bob Marley, the king of Reggae, now and forever

When we enter the realms of serious "music-nerds" one of the main issues is the search for and discovery of the latest underground talent, the one no one but you and a few fellow "nerds" have heard about. Once that artist is located a massive grass-roots information campaign can start to inform the masses about this artists virtues and how unfair it is that he/she is not more known.

I am very much a part of this phenomenon, i love to dig in the underground for artists no one has ever heard about. But somewhere something goes terribly wrong for a lot of "nerds" and they start to look down at the more known acts and those who likes them. I would say Bob Marley is one of the top victims for this music elitISM.

This guy was and will always remain the KING OF REGGAE no matter how popular he is or will be and no matter how many folks who does not care about Reggae that you will see wear his t-shirts. I mean, how many of us would even have discovered this genre and even more important RastafarI if it was not for Bob Marley? There is many good Reggae artists out there but none except Bob has achieved prophet status.

If you're one of the Bob Marley dissers, ask yourself if you're about good music (& messages) or if your interest in this genre is just some stupid & elitist attempt at boosting your own status. I am not going to hold back, it makes me cringe every time I hear some newbie fan hating on Bob and praising Burru Banton or St.Croix reggae (i am not hating on Burru or St.Croix though) just to boost their own status as a "Reggae-know-it-all".

So please, a Reality check might be of interest for some of y'all!!!!

September 19, 2007

RasItes - Urban regeneration

Except for Jamaica i would say that the UK boasts the strongest Reggae scene of all countries. This may be much due to all the Jamaican immigrants and their offspring, but still..... England has been holding it down almost since day one and the Brits are still going strong. You may know bout (& love) their "Lovers Rock" sound but please do not miss out on the Rootsier acts. These young locksmen in "RasItes" show that the RastafarI spirit is well and alive in the Great Britain. If you like the sound of the 70'ies but wants it a lil bit updated you might do good in checking out this Cd.

We start out whit "Chop the corruption", i have not seen this group live but this song would be just the perfect song to start out a concert whit. It has this anthem/theme music feel to it and the Cd could not get a better start, it's catchy and energetic and sums up the "RasItes" sound perfectly. Next comes "High grade", wonder how many Reggae songs who has that name? If y'all did not know it's a weed song, or more exactly dedicated to all who sell/grow/smuggle weed and at the same time a song that is against all other illegal substances (such as crack). It's a nice song, kinda uptempo and danceable, dunno if it's just me but weed songs tend to get a little boring to me (cant stop to think about retarded stoners who says "dude" too often when i hear these kinda songs).

One of my favourites on this album is "Crazy lazy" who is about people who is to lazy to bother whit work or anything else they are supposed to do in life, it's very catchy and sticks to your head. You will hum it for days and it just won't leave your mind, from this point all u need to do is to think about the song for a few seconds for it to play nonstop in your head again for a few days. There is also a few covers like he superb "Picture on the wall" (love the song but RasItes don't do much whit it) and the lovesong "Danger in our eyes" (which i heard first done by Mighty Diamonds).

To sum things up id say that this is a superb album and the perfect album to start whit if you want to familiarise yourself whit British Roots-reggae, you can often find it used on Amazon for like 0.99$ so there's no need to spend your money on risky imports or digging deep for rare records not available here in USA. As far as sound goes i would compare "RasItes" to a mix of "The Mighty Diamonds" and "Morgan Heritage" (something that should most def. be taken as a compliment) whit plenty of originality to spice things up further. If there is one thing that's negative whit this album it is that it gets you hooked to their sound so much that you will go out searching for more albums, only to find that they haven't made any. I've got the feeling that they still perform together so let's bombard them whit attention and e-mail requests for more albums.

September 10, 2007

This is me

I am not on no ego trip or nothing posting a photo of me on this page but personally I always find it interesting to see an photo or something of the owner of sites or blogs. If you think otherwise, too bad, just ignore this.

Downloading music, good or bad?

The everlasting question nowadays whit internet and mp3z is wheter it's good or bad to download music, personaly i have been downloading tons of stuff for years and I don't feel bad about it and will continue doing so. But i do also buy as much "real" Cd's as I can (the last few albums I got was 2 Mighty Diamonds cd's and 1 whit Shaka Man) and it also happens that I buy Cd's iv'e already downloaded.

I do not think that downloading is a problem if you make shure that you keep on buying music. Let's make one thing very clear, a lot of these artists only income is from their music and no matter how much our music has grown, IT IS STILL A SMALL GENRE compared to other music. If we see downloading for free as an viable option to buying music we do our beloved Reggae genre a lot of damage. So please, keep buying music no matter how much you download.

Lyrical Benjie - Rastaman Style

Anyone who has a clue about what goes on in Reggae knows that European Reggae (wheter it comes from migrated Jamaicans on natives) is thriving and growing like crazy right now. The UK-scene has been strong since the 80ies and the German reggae vibes been going strong for a while now but what about Holland? It would be strange if Reggae was not big in the original country of legal Marijuana. They've been kicking it for a long time, in fact the first live reggae act I saw was the Dutch "Revelation Time".

One of the Dutch artists that has impressed me the most lately is Lyrical Benjie, a 100 % strictly Roots artist whit a powerful message and voice (you gotta check out his "Ten plagues" track, not on this release). He's heavily affiliated whit the soundsystem King Shiloh and to an extent also whit my Swedish natives in Shilo-ites. To my knowledge this is the first of 2 releases he has out (available thru Cafepress on Cd).

First up (of the 6 tracks) is "Rastaman style", an anthem like song praising the Rastafarian way of life and bigging up those who decide to live according to it's principles, it's a pretty upbeat cut, kinda relaxed but still whit a certain energy to it, very danceable. Next comes "Til Shiloh comes" and it's not about some certain movie stars much talked about son, lol :D It's about the message of Jah and the prophets who has chosen to preach it and how gods children must rise and create a new, righteous nation. Very informative and uplifting for shure. If we skip one (very good) track we come to "In the city" where Benjie sings"...tell me how you are living in the city or are the city living in you?" It's basically a plea to all folks to not let tough times in nasty cities get to them and to seek salvation in Jah, when times are tough as well as when they are good.

You might react to the fact that you have to pay full price for what at first may seem to be an EP, the 6 tracks included however, are often like 7-8 minutes long and include an extended dub so it's more like you get 12 cuts, kinda like those showcase albums which feature the song and then the dub mix right after it. If you are into modern roots music whit heavily religious (read RastafarI) lyrics this is a very good album from an artist who clearly have the heart in the right place. Lets support guys like this whit our wallets, if you want to he got a few tracks on Myspace to download.

Lyrical Benjie Myspace Page

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