Reviews Downloads Opinions/Articles Blog News Web Advices
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.


December 26, 2010

Cookie the Herbalist - Like a tree


Nowadays white reggae artists and producers are nothing unusual, this genre has conquered the world and spread to places with no or few black folks to play it. Iv'e made it a point to not try to make an issue of reggae artists race. But finding singjays with turbans that are white still is a bit unusual and worth mentioning. Dunno if "Cookie the Herbalist" is "Bobo" but he sure looks the part although he's not that militant in his aproach.

For being a singjay Cookie keeps his music on the softer, more popy spectra of the subgenre, there aqin't nothing to rowdy or "Sizzla" like on "Like a tree". Many of the songs are of an more romantic persuation although the cultural tracks are there (note that i don't mean any of this in a negative way, it's still authentic, genuine reggae). You does not have to be a hardcore Reggae fan to enjoy this album.

First up is "Hold on" ft. "Andrew Robinson", a softer kinda acoustic song featuring a guitar, flute and what sounds like bongo drums where Cookie thanks god and his parents for surviving even though life is hard. Not a bad start of the album, it's a good song with solid performances and a good message. For the next song he gives up the acoustic sound for a more electronic one with synths and drum-machines. It's a lil bit faster but not str8 uptempo still and touches kinda the same subjects as the first song. It's okay but not the most amazing song on the album. The third song is the title track, "Like a tree" an uptempo metaphor where he likens himself to a tree with roots spanning wide and making him strong and unbeatable. It's not bad but doesn't grab me like i wish it would.

Skip one song and we get "Running away", one of my favorites on here, it has an pop sensibility while still keeping it true to it's reggae roots and Cookie works up a good flow. If the radio stations worked the way they should this would be the perfect "cross-over" hit. The songs to follow varies from dancehall to uptempo roots songs. Over all it's a good album, i got no real complaints although it somehow fails to grab and impress me. What i like is that "Cookie" never tries going to hardcore on here, with his turban and all i was afraid that he was going to come of as trying to be something he's not but he don't. If you got the money to spare this is not a bad purchase and i will keep on following "Cookie the Herbalist"'s development as an artist but "Like a tree" is not a must have.

July 21, 2010

La Nostalgia del Sr.Alambre


Iv'e always been a fan of cartoons and clay animation, this Mexican (if im not misstaken) effort is truly impressive.

July 12, 2010

R.I.P. Sugar minott


Sadly, this Reggae giant passed away on july the 10th, he will be very missed and is one of the first artists i got into when i started listening to reggae in the early 90ies, my favourite album whit him is "African soldier", an timeless masterpiece. Well, R.I.P., you will be missed by fans worldwide.

June 9, 2010

Monsterism island



Found this while surfing around the web, always been a fan of animation and i realy like the style of this animation, perhaps even more than the actual story itself but....

June 7, 2010

Million Stylez - Everyday


While most probably barely knows that Sweden exists and even fewer knows or care about our homegrown Reggae scene it's bigger and better than one might think. Out of all acts there's only one who has really made any noise internationally, the French/Japanese Million Stylez from one of Stockholms many suburbs. Whit one album behind him and countless singles he's back whit his latest album, "Everyday". High of some healthy national pride, who am I to not review it?

Let me start whit letting y'all know this is an album of an more modern, dancehall-esque nature, first song on here is "Love we a deal whit" one of the albums more rootsy songs, an catchy uptempo song, whit a more distinct back beat than some of his songs (and much dancehall in general nowadays). I guess one could call it roots-reggae light (and i don't mean it as an insult) whit a pop sensibility to it. I was positively surprised as i was not amazed by anything i heard on his first album (although I thought it was okay).

Next is the title track, "Everyday" who has an even stronger Roots feel to it but is an dedication to all hustlers and thugs out doin their dirt on the streets, it somehow has more of an positive approach to the subject than your average gangstarap song does. Nowadays words like hustler & thug has transcended their original meaning so perhaps he's not exactly mean to dedicate this song to criminals. He stepped things up a notch whit this song.

Skip one to track 4, "Young gunz" whit fellow Stockholm dancehall artist "Joey Fever" is one of the best songs on the album, it's very, very catchy and has an definite cross-over hit appeal to it while still keeping it 100 % authentic. U feel strong early 90 ies, late 80ies vibes over this track, i absolutely love this song. It has previously been out as an 7" so you might have heard it if you're into buying vinyls or downloading from blogs.

Believe it or not but he follows up whit an almost as good song, "Dancehall nice again" who also easily could be a hit. Were talking big time good vibes on this one, it's a song whit a big heart, the kinda song to play when you're in a crappy mood to get you back on your feet again. I'm starting to be seriously impressed whit this album by now!!!

Im not so sure that things get worse but they def. changes up a little bit as a bunch of songs that feels more contemporary Jamaican dancehall than the previous, u know the type whit autotune singing, no distinct reggae beats etc..... I'd say the arab flavored "Ya habibti" is my favorite of these songs, it's about an steamy night (i mean more steamy on the dancefloor than in the bedroom) "Million Stylez" had whit an Persian dancer. What folks don't know is that there's quite an Persian/Iranian presence in Sweden, esp. in suburbs like the one he comes from.

By the 10th song there is an return to the rootsier vibes with "Born in the system", an "it's tough in Babylon" typa song, a much wellcomed song if u ask me. The way the electric guitar performs in this song kinda reminds me of Bob Marley's "Could you be loved" (well, at least a little bit). More rootsy vibes follows in "World crisis" which gotta be the biggest and most positive surprise on here whit it's guest feature from legendary "Don Carlos", it's far from an obvious colaboration choice and i could easily see this not working but it's a very good song and they match each other good. "Million Stylez" sure proves his artist name is a fitting one, an very versatile artist.

Another big collaboration follows when he teams up whit "Gentleman" on "Help is on the way", not bad at all and whit positive lyrics and a slightly melancholic feel but somehow the chemistry of the previous track is not there. A few more positive and rootsy tracks follows along whit a love song where the melody seems similar at times whit "Damian Marley & Nas" collaboration "Africa wake up". Well, to sum things up, i like this album a lot and is very positive about it. Im not going to deny it's probably partialy due to the fact that this guy is Swedish. It makes me hapy that at least one artist from my country seems to be making a name for himself internationaly.

Million Stylez make singing Reggae and Dancehall seem so natural and effortless, sometimes (even whit artists i like) Swedish Reggae can feel a bit forced, as if it's a pastiche of the Jamaican thing and every Patois word uttered is followed by an effort equal to give birth to a baby. No such things here, Million Stylez does not try to be the real deal, he is the real deal. But let's look at things in a more sober way, this is not the best album ever, not a classic but for sure a very good album, absolutely one to buy, skip the illegal downloads on this one.

June 6, 2010

Graphic designs

There's so many Reggae/dancehall artists that only releases singles, one really don't get an good idea of how they sounds so i collected a few songs on a cd and designed my own covers. Thought i should share them whit y'all, if u need designs, let me know, im inexpensive but good.

May 17, 2010

Archie Wonder - What about love


I dunno if I'm supposed to like sappy, romantic loversrock artists like Archie Wonder as a guy but i sure know that I do. I'm a big softie and songs about passionate love is more appealing to me than raunchy ragga full of sexual braggadocio. I don't know much about this guy, my internet search proved quite fruitless but he's Jamaican, 31 yrs. old and lives in the US. I love me some obscure acts but "Archie Wonder" has failed to make any impact on me until now.

The first song, "Stop playing games" reveals that he's an fully developed artist whit an amazing voice and presence in what he sings. The song is about an ungrateful love and the following breakdown of their relation, it's not lyrically breathtaking but the singing is amazing and very emotionally charged. Second up is "Happiness and joy", another great love song, also slightly melancholic although the lyrics are a bit more happy, a song that's perfect for a lazy Sunday spent laying around in bed and taking it easy. Like many other great loversrock artists Archie Wonder is mixing things up whit throwing a few "praising jah" kinda religious tracks, one of these are song 4, "Jah lifted me up" who is sung over an old, well known riddim (i think it's called "Moonlight lover" originally but I'm crappy whit remembering the names of riddims so i dunno). It's about how Jah empowered him to go on and do right despite living in a world full of bad folks and negativity. It's a smooth, easy on your ears song which ads some appreciated dept and variety to this album.

Skipping a few tracks along the way we come to track 7, "Rain" which is one of my favorites on here, it's another song of a romantic nature whit a slightly repetitive loop thrown in to all the other instrumentation. If i where to compare this song to any other artists sound i would probably think of someone like "Sanchez" who Archie sounds kinda familiar to. This song really stands out and should appeal to anyone even remotely into the more romantic side of Reggae. Then we have "Falling in love" on the "Ganja farmer" riddim (or at least elements of it) which is also an amazing cut, just as much thanks to the excellence of the riddim as Archie Wonders performance over it

There's a few more songs on here, some over well known riddims and some not but all are of a high quality and Archie Wonders voice is quite something, he sings his behind of on this album and proves he got what it takes to make it to the big league. An unusual aspect of the album is the lack of features, you would think that he would have 1 or 2 songs whit some bigger artists and perhaps a duet whit some female singer or dj which is almost standard for unknown artists albums. This does however not hurt "What about love" at all and i wish more artists resisted the temptation of cluttering their albums whit other artists. Over all an great album from an talented newcomer i hope we get to hear a lot more from in the future.

April 25, 2010

Abro Ne Bayie


 For almost as long as i can remember I've been into horror movies, i was a young kid under the video explosion of the early 80ies and looking at all the colorful boxes of movies i was not allowed to see created an lifelong interest.  Years later (while visiting friends in Gambia) i learned that there is an African movie industry and where able to see my first African horror movies. Apparently there is an interest for horror in Ghana which is where this movie I am about to review comes from.

Brother Vincent is an successful and Christian young man, he seems to have everything going for him whit a deep involvement in church, a gorgeous, young fiance and flashy new car at his disposal. His life is soon about to take a turn for the worse though as his mom Dufie (unknown to him) is involved whit spirits from the dark underworld and has promised to deliver them her sons soul. But to penetrate Vincents faith and succeed whit her evil deeds turns out to be much harder than she thought.

It seem as if the only way to get to Vincent is to make him break up whit his fiance and get him involved whit an evil spirit in human shape. Whit her son dating evil but attractive Natasha he should be no match for Dufie and her spirit companions right? Luckily for Vincent this is not the case as his father and the local priest bravely puts up a fight to save his soul.......

This is only the beginning of the story, i saw 2 parts that totaled way over 2 hours and there is more to come, I can only hope that the whole series of films has been released as i found this to be an very enjoyable and fascinating viewing experience. Technically a bit crude and absolutely nothing like the American, Italian and Spanish horror movies I am used to but "Abro Ne Bayie" still managed to deliver. One thing viewers should be aware of is that horror movies from Ghana often is deeply religious whit a strong Christian message being the focal point. Black Metal gorehounds in corpse-paint and leather coats may not be very pleased and if you look at religion as superstitious and dorky you may not like these movies. Sure, it's still a horror movie but whit strong christian undertones.

I found the scenes whit the evil spirits to be very pleasing, they managed to create quite an atmosphere and that little boy in a skeleton dress and facial paint was kinda creepy (but also a bit retarded looking i must admit). I happen to be into graphic design and knows that one of the major Photoshop filter producers, Alien Skin also made an "Adobe Premiere" version of their highly popular "Eye Candy" and the digital "Special FX" scenes in this movie very much reminds me of what you can do in this filter. The flames, lasers and dissolving spirits looks kinda generic but did not bother me too much and in a strange way added to the entertainment value.

What i found a bit weird is how this movies switches back and forth from English and Twi (a local, Ghanian language) and i wish that they would have subtitled larger portions of the dialogue than what they did. It's still enough to make sense of what is going on so i guess im cool.

All in all, i thoroughly enjoyed this movie, it had an good enough tempo, some interesting visuals and an story that appealed to me. I'm however realistic enough to realize that large portions of western horror fans probably wont share my opinions or enthusiasm. If you're open minded and want something different, give this movie a try, you just might end up liking it as much as i did.

April 22, 2010

Capleton - I-ternal fire


Capleton may be one of the biggest names in modern Reggae but if you ask me he is also one of the most uneven ones. He's capable of doing amazing, modern roots masterpieces but also horribly average "dime a dozen" Ragga.

An general advice would be to skip the singles collections and go for the albums recorded whit the album format in mind. No one in their right mind could argue whit that albums like "Reign of fire" and"Still blazin" is anything but modern masterpieces.

It was a while ago but now he's back whit "I-ternal fire" and an promo has been floating on the Internet for a moment now. Since it's just a promo I am not going to review it as it might have changed once it's officially released but let me tell you, this is one solid album and a must buy.

He may not reinvent the wheel on this new album, it's more of the good ole' "Capleton" we all know and love. The lyrics are intelligent and well thought out, one could argue that everything RastafaraI has already been said but Capleton is not content whit just yellin a stereotype "praise Selassie I, bun fyah, babylon a go down" and settle whit that. He backs things up, give examples and shows he's very aware of what is going on in the world.

All fans of modern roots will love it and while nothing may rank up there whit "Reign of fire" this one comes close. Hurry up and release it, im standing in the line waiting to buy it!

April 21, 2010

Holding on to Jah



While us Reggae fans sadly lack in magazines dedicated to our genre the same can certainly not be said about documentaries. There's a steady output of movies educating us about soundsystems, artists, dub etc and now the time has come to Roots-reggae. "Holding on to Jah" is the brainchild of "Roger Landon Hall" and Harris Stafford from "Groundation" and tells us about the more religious side of the genre.

It's currently making the festival circuit and will hopefully soon arrive on DVD (although no release is on the horizon at the moment)

http://www.holdingontojah.com/

April 11, 2010

Spade, the last assignment


Im back whit another Nigerian movie review, last time i had a look at a movie whit a horror theme and now the time has come for a more action oriented movie, "Spade" which is the first in (i believe) a series of movies trying to introduce an African hero styled after the tough guys found in American action movies. I believe this is made by Oliver O Mbamara (and features well known actors like Prince Eke, Ichie Okuko and the director himself as Spade) the movie opens up in New York where a crime syndicate picks up a shipment of fresh Nigerian prostitutes and discusses their advances in the illegal artifact smuggling business.

We quickly moves on to Lagos, Nigeria where the rest of the movie takes place and is introduced to an historic artifact robbery gone wrong. An hostage situation appear and supercop Spade saves the day. It soon appear that there's more to the case than meets the eye though and the gang responsible for the botched robbery are still very much set on getting the artifacts they originally had their eyes on. They rescue the captured thugs and sets out to do their dirty business. This is not Spades business however, he just had his last assignment and has resigned from the force and is about to get married. This quickly changes when the gang kidnaps his "wife-to-be" and forces Spade to once again face them but things has changed, this time it's personal.

I know what you're thinking, this sounds very much like standard B-action fare and in a way i guess it is, Spade pretty much is an typical American action movie whit an strong African touch to it. But i would also like to claim that this is a landmark Nigerian movie and Nollywood takes an huge leap forward whit this movie. It looks way more polished and have a faster tempo than anything I've seen in Nigerian cinema up to now (I have to admit though, i have not seen a lot of Nollywood movies). That is not to say it's a perfect movie, at times it's still a bit hard to hear what they are saying and it's still a bit overlong in places.

But regardless of any minor flaws this movie might have I seriously enjoyed it and was very impressed, Spade raises the bars way up for Nollywood cinema and if future movies uses this as a stepping stone to accomplish even greater films then only the sky is the limit. An must see movie, I look forward to see what the future has in hold for this budding movie franchise, Spade rocks!!!!!!

April 10, 2010

Jah Melodie


It was a while since i did an "i demand an album" post but I think it's about time, been spending plenty of time on "Jah Melodie's myspace page lately listening to his tunes and this guy is nothing but amazing, i dig his music 100%.

I'm sure most of y'all heard "Thanks and praises" by now, i absolutley love that song but unf. the only song released on cd is "Love jah more" ( on "Roots Tribe Showcase: Love jah more) and i crave more. Im not into vinyl anymore, i have no deck to play vinyl on and don't plan to buy one anytime soon. Unfortunately i can't find any mp3's either (except for "Thanks and praises") to satisfy my cravings until a cd is available so pleeeease release something soooooon............. (i will stand in line to pay for a cd).

March 30, 2010

Junior Kelly - Red pond

 Whit so many Reggae artists being insanely productive "Junior Kelly" is something of an anomality, he has never been one to jump every new riddim that comes out and does not drop 5-6 albums a year on various labels. The last we heard from him was 2005's "Rough life" and many of us have wondered what ever happened to him. So, a new album on "VP" is a big deal and great news, keep on reading and i let y'all know whether it was worth waiting 5 years for.

Things start whit "Celebrate life" and lyrically I'd say "Junior Kelly" is exactly where he should be, he keep things strictly conscious while not feeling quite as judgmental as some of the other "Bobo" chanters out there and that's one thing I've always liked. The track is uptempo and very well produced, it very much sound like he have had a real backing band and not relying on digitally made one-drop riddims shared whit a ton of others. Reading on the "VP Records" site i learn that my assumptions where right. I like the song but im not amazed by it. He continues whit "Nothing wrong whit the world" where he tells people to quit their fussing and fighting cause there is nothing wrong whit Mama earth, this is one of these  feel-good tracks that ads sunshine to rainy days, i really like it.

I get the feeling from this album that he partially went for a cross-over vibe and songs like "She's gone" whit "Luckie D" confirms my suspicions, it's not bad but one hardly expects any soul vibes on here. But then again, remember i used the word "partially", songs like "Murderer" (who probably is the rowdiest song on the album) and "Waan lef di ghetto" quickly takes things back to more familiar Reggae vibes. Changing things up slightly up again, "Slackness" treats us to a Ska-lite vibe, it's a much pleasant tune where he explores why folks turn into a slack state of mind.

We hear plenty of dedications to mothers in both Reggae and Rap music but where's the dedications to dads? It can't be that all men are irresponsible bastards who don't take care of their kids and are unworthy of songs? It's a nice change to hear dads getting some appreciation on "Papa's song" which he does together whit "Ras Shiloh". Personally i think the backing to this osng is a lil bit too soft and sappy but i could live whit it, i don't really got too much to complain about. More combination's on the lovers track "Too late" whit "Queen Ifrica" and while being very smooth i would say this is one of the better songs on here, this is a classic lovers track that im sure will stand the test of time.

Well, so what's the verdict on "Red pond" ? It's absolutely a good album, very well produced, you can hear that "Junior Kelly" and his producers took their time on this one, they did not rush. It's pleasant to hear songs made the old-fashioned way, whit real musicians as opposed to computer programed songs. However, sometimes it do feel a lil bit too slick and over produced and a lil bit more dirt and grit would probably have added to the album. Over all a good and well made album but not a mind blowing classic.

Red Pond

March 28, 2010

Naptali - Long journey


From Clarendon via Kingston and released by the German based "Oneness Production" comes the first album from an artist i'm sure we will hear a lot from in the years to come. Whit so much crappy Ragga coming from Jamaica nowadays it's nice to see a Roots artist willing to drop an album that is not a part of the way to crowded "riddim" ghetto. Having a quick peek at the cover it's easy to think this is just one of many "Bobo Shanti" singjay's.

I guess one could label him singjay but that is an term i kinda opose, he certainly leans toward the later but I think he's far too much of an singer to be comfortable whit putting that label on him. One could call guys like "Capleton" or "Jah Mason" str8 singjays as they rap just as much as they sing but not "Naptali". It's always convenient to compare new artists whit more established ones but i'm not all that comfortable whit doing that this time, if someone put a gun to my head and forced me I guess i would say he got "a pinch" of "Lutan Fyah" in him (and that's a huge compliment given that he's one of my alltime favourites) and in places even oldschool faves like "Half Pint" (dunno if anyone will agree whit me on this one though).

Anyways, let's begin whit taking a look at the first song, "Show them love" dedicated to all "ghetto youths", a popular subject in Reggae where "Naptali" tells us to support the "ghetto youth", not bad lyrics but we have heard it a few times before. What is impeccable though is the way he rides this track, realy emotional and heartfelt over a great beat that lands somewhere in between happy and melancholic, an amazing start to a great album. Next up is "What goes around", an apreshiation of everything Rasta and how his culture/religion/way-of-life makes the world go round. Im going to keep it short and just say that it's another good song but not my favorite on here (however, all songs are good enough to play from start to finish, the worst songs on here are better than many albums best tracks).

Im going to skip to song 5, "Grandma" one of my favourites on here, we hear tons of dedications to moms but few to grandmas. This is a highly biographical, deep song that surpasses the usual shallow "mamma i love you" songs (i equal mama/grandma as they are used in the same kind of context here) by providing plenty of details on why he feels how he feels. I was very touched by this song (on an unrelated note, if you want another outstanding Mama song, try "Wayne Lyrics - Momma don't go", a 99c album on Ebreggae.com).

Since i don't get paid by the word (actualy, i don't get paid), im going to resist the temptation of writing up every song and therefore i jump to song 9, "More love" ft. Lutan Fyah, this is a match made in heaven for sure, they complement each other very, very well. I'd love to see them release a duo album full of socially aware, religious and emotional love songs. There's also this guy on here i have not heard about before, "Arofat", i guess he does well also. The song is another "Ghetto youth" anthem and covers the same ground as many other songs of this nature, another standout track on here.

Skip one song and we come to track 11, "Redeemer" where Naptali asks what's wrong whit mankind only to state that god is always whit us. If I have to choose 1 out of the 14 tracks on here as my favorite it would be this one, it's soooo smooth and uplifting i can't even explain. Iv'e already said Naptali is a singjay who leans more to singing than toasting and i would say this is a str8 singing track, AMAZING!

Over all this is an incredible album, i just can't grasp how "Naptali" came up from nowhere sounding like such an accomplished artist. Being an singjay he belongs to the smoother side of the camp, this really ain't no rowdy, hype stuff. According to his website most of the songs where recorded whit a live band and you can tell, it does not sound like someone just spitting over riddims (nothing wrong whit that though).

While a few guest artists is an great adition to any album there's a very fine balance between diluting the sound too much and ad diversity and variation to the album. I would say "Long journey" does a great jobb in not having too many features and whit artists like "Lutan Fyah" and "Luciano", how can u go wrong? The future sure looks bright whit guys like this, let's hope this album will be huge success and is followed by a bunch of equally amazing releases. I have a new favorite artist!



http://naptali.com/

http://www.myspace.com/thegreatnaptali

Long Journey

Dr.Tran



I dunno if I caught on too late, when everyone has already seen the movie and moved on but i felt i just had to post this, i laughed and laughed and laughed again. This is pure genious from start to finish.

 Dr. Tran: Number One American Icon

March 23, 2010

Mountain of Evil













Finally, after long wait I have started whit my reviews of African movies (read Nigerian and Ghanian), hopefully this will be a regular feature on the blog. What one needs to know before starting to watch these movies is that while the talent involved in the Nollywood industry is just as great as it's Hollywood counterparts the budgets of these movies are small and technically speaking they are primitive. Don't expect any lavish sets or flamboyant special FX. Also remember how long the US film industry has existed vs the Nigerian and Ghanian ones that pretty much started out in the early 90ies. But at the end of the day, a bad movie is still a bad movie!

First movie to be reviewed is "Lost in the Jungle 1-2" and it's sequels "Mountain of Evil 1-2". Now for all of y'all who are not used to Nigerian movies, let me tell you that 99% of all movies come in 2 parts and the second one is a direct continuation of the story, remember these ain't Hollywood movies. Well, whit all public announcements out of the way, let's start.....

6 students from "National Youth Service Corps" are assigned to a remote village for their primary assignment, on their way they get lost and their car breaks down. As they start wandering aimlessly, trying to find someone or something to help them out of their predicament they come across Soumo who take them  to his village, the kingdom of Kokoruma. The plan is to leave as soon as possible, heading to their original destination, Mamoro village but the king has different plans. Due to practicalities they will have to wait 2 weeks before they can leave. As they wait and tries to comply whit they strange customs of Kokoruma they start to sense that something is not right in the kingdom. Shall they do their best to ignore the strange ogoings or shall they oppose them and put themselves in danger?

As an old horror movie fan i gotta say that i found the storyline of this movie very promising and interesting, folks being stranded in remote places and having to deal whit backwoods folks always makes for a movie whit a lot of potential. Seeing Africans taking on this tried and tested formula was something i was very much looking forward to. While liking the movie i have to admit that it was not without it's share of problems, the pacing was veeeery slow and things took forever to happen. In total the movie and it's 4 parts took approximately 4 1/2 hours, this is way too long. Whit tighter editing im sure the movie could have clocked in at 2 hours (or perhaps 2 1/2 hours).

Technically it was a bit rough in some places, when someone on the movie screamed or yelled the sound got distorted and it was kinda hard to make out what was being said. Speaking of that, while the movie was in English the accents they spoke in sometimes was kinda extreme, my wife often did not understand a word but having had plenty of African friends i where able to get most of what was being said. As said i enjoyed seeing what Nigerians did whit such a typically American horror movie script and all the typical characters where there, the nice and humble ones as well as the more rude and arrogant one who where the first one to meet his faith.

However, one thing you don't see in most American movies of this kind is the strong emphasis on Christianity that is being put in 99% of all Nigerian movies. There was plenty of praying and talking about Jesus and god in this movie. Personally i have no problem whit this but folks whit a phobia against Christianity may find this very annoying. If you're not cool whit this, just forget about Nigerian movies in general and horror themed movies esp. as they are more inclined to include a Christian message.

Whit the nature of this movie im sure all of y'all are eager to know about the special-FX in this movie, did it have any gore and blood, any sex or nudity? Well, it did have a few ritual offering scenes, some chopped of limbs and the end where they tries to escape from the village and get attacked by demons the village witch conjures up offers some violence. Still, if you're out looking for a bloodbath this movie will disappoint. So will it if you expect any graphic sex, sure some of the characters have sex but is more implied than shown in graphic detail.

All in all i did enjoy this movie but it was terribly slow and i don't know whether i liked it because i like African culture so much and decided i have to like it or if it was because it was a good movie. I have not seen tons of Nigerian productions (so my base of reference is not that good) but i know that there is better movies out there than this one. It showed great promise, somewhat delivered but in the end "Mountain of Evil" could have delivered way more than what it did. A recommendation whit reservations.



March 21, 2010

Rise Up Reggae Star

I decided to delete my upload of "Rise Up REggae Star" as someone complained and was goin to report it, i dunno wheter it's just someone whit a bad sence of humor or wheter to take it serious but i decided that it was better "to be safe than sorry". Notice that this was a recording of a  foreign tv-show not legaly available here in the USA and is covered under "the berne act"

"There is a section of the American copyright law known as "The Berne Act" that Clearly states: films unreleased in the United States, including original versions of films altered and/or edited for release in the United States, are NOT protected by American copyright; thus, they are considered public domain."

This documentary is not available anywhere for purchase and can be streamed from the bbc site so i don't think any harm was done but either way, it's gone.

March 14, 2010

Swedish Reggae, Free legal downloads



Y'all up for some free. legal mp3 downloads? Diegojah is a Swedish reggae/dancehall whit Hispanic roots who has released high quality, free music online for a while now. This is good enough to be commercially released but 100% for free. Go to his myspace page and check out the "Discography" section for several free albums available.

http://www.myspace.com/diegojahrebel

February 27, 2010

Professor Major - Meditation


Another music review while waiting for my African movies to arrive, as iv'e said before on here it's very pre-mature to declare the Reggae scene in Britain dead. While not being UK born this Jamaican imigrant is one of many reasons why i think it's very much alive. His brand of upbeat singjaying manages to stand out from the usual "Bobo Dread" artists who inhabits this subgenre and feels very fresh whit it's equal mix of love songs and RastafarI tunes.

We start out whit the title track, "Meditation" who is an introvert reflection over the trials and tribulations of his atempt at an career as an professional musician ( I shurely hopes he manages to become a household name among diehard Reggae fans because this guy got more talent than tons of his peers). It's like most of the songs on this album very catchy and whit a distinctive roots sound. Chances are this will find it's way into your head and stay there for weeks to come.

Next up is, "African empress" which start of a 6 song marathon dedication to proud, righteous nubian women. It's love songs for shure but whit a little more substance than your average R&B song and sung/chanted from a more spiritual perspective. They all sounds very rootsy and while all of them are good enough to listen to whitout skipping i'd say song 5, "You alone in my life" are the best of the 6. He has a flow that almost reminds me a lil bit of older toasters like "U-Roy" or perhaps "Tony Rebel", a very good and uplifting song!!! Perhaps 6 songs dedicated to the same subject is a little much but he does them good and get's away whit it.

By the time we reach track 8, "Nazarite vow" Proffesor Major is back in a more RastafaraI frame of mind  and tells us about how it realy does not matter what Babylon does or tries to do to him cause he's a Rasta and has taken the Nazarite vow. I like the trumpet in this song and enjoys this cd's return to a more spiritual vibe. Skip a few (excellent) songs and we get "Soon come", one of the albums highlights whit it's wonderfully repetitive chorus and lyrics about how Rastaman don't wear fashionable clothes like "Calvin Klein" etc but rather sticks to his turban and robe. What follows is the albums last song, "Ragga muffin" which is just one of many amazing and upbeat roots tracks on here, as always "Professor Major" has a flow to die for, he realy, realy has mastered his vocal talents.

Well, as you might have noticed i have nothing but praises for this album, it took me like 5 seconds of listening on cdbaby.com to make me realise i had to have this album. It seems to be a professionaly made cd-r and the price is a lil bit high (15$). In most cases i would be a bit dissapointed if i had spent that much on a cd-r but whit music this great i don't care. Lets just hope that "Professor Major" releases more albums, i would hate for this to be his only release.

February 16, 2010

African movies


A coupla million years ago I mentioned that i would start reviewing African movies on here but it never happened for some reason. I've just ordered a couple of Ghanian and Nigerian movies like "Spade" who seems to be an attempt at an American styled action movie and "Mountain of Evil" who seem to be a more horror themed movie and a few other titles.

I'm getting more and more into world cinema and is very excited to get these movies, one thing i think is very important is to order from a place only dealing whit legitimate releases. The African movie industry certainly is not Hollywood and needs all the financial support it can get. It's easy to find sites that sells bootlegs or to watch these movies free from streaming online sites but avoid that like the plague.

Go to sites like www.africamovies.com who guarantees that all the movies they sell are originals.

February 12, 2010

Future of this blog

Seem as if blogs not sharing 1 million mp3 files ain't being shown that much love or have that much reader participation, it would be cool to get some conversation and feedback going. If no one are that into the blog or what is on here I'm probably going to cut down on postings. It's not dead though, I'll keep things up.....

February 4, 2010

Outernational: A story about Trinity Sound System

 
As we all know by now, "Reggae" is a highly international genre nowadays and the days when 99% of all good Reggae came out of Jamaica is gone (although Jamaica still dominates). The culture of Jamaica has inspired millions over the globe, wheter it is music, religion or as whit the content of this book, "soundsystem culture", In this book we get to follow one of Sweden's premier soundsystems, "Trinity" and the 3 West Indian immigrants +1 Swede who runs it.

The focus of this book is on photos whit accompanying texts in both English and my native Swedish language, there is not a whole lot to read but whatever is there is well written and interesting whit individual chapters on the 4 members and some of their escapades such as a gig at a motorcycle club and a German club in Wupertal.One of hte guys in here, "Daddy Boastin" got his own musical career and has been a favorite of mine for over 10 years, something that def. ad's to the books value for me.I would not have minded more written content but whatever is there is good.

Technically speaking it's of an very high quality whit excellent color reproductions, great photos and the paper it's printed on almost feels like thin plastic sheets, have not come across anything like them in any of my other books. It's of course a hardcover book, no flimsy paperbacks on this book. Well, to sum things up, a nice and interesting book for anyone interested in Reggae culture worldwide, esp. if you're Swedish.

February 1, 2010

Irie Up review

 

  
 


Finally got the "Irie Up" magazine in the mail and after having read it carefully I have the following to say about it. It's most def. good, you can tell that this is a "labour of love", coming from folks who are deeply immersed in the scene. It has a heavy focus on Soundsystems and the international, non-Jamaican part of the culture. There's features about German, Polish, Serbian and New Zealand Reggae and plenty of nostalgia about "the good old days" and a feature about reggae shops in Paris, France.

Over all i would say it's a high quality production (whit great layout and color pages) that is much recommended for the Reggae fanatics, if you just have a minor interest in the genre you might not like it quite as much as the die-hard fans out there. While being great and much recommended it's not 100% perfect, it lacks a bit of structure and I would have loved to see more artist features  and real articles that doesn't feel as much like a typed out conversations. More reviews would be great as well, there is some scattered through out the magazine but I would have preferred a regular review section.

But over all I would say this is a great effort and a very nice first issue, it has the enthusiasm of a "fanzine" but feels way more professional. Make sure to support "Irie Up", buy your copy of it and make sure to spread the word around, we need at least 1 English spoken magazine about Reggae. Iv'e scanned a few pages of the magazine so that y'all can make an informed decision on whether you should buy it or not, I have blurred out some of the texts though as I don't wanna share too much whit y'all. This is not a bootlegging blog.

January 25, 2010

My music

Iv'e been messing around in "Sony AcidPro" for some time now, doing beats/instrumentals or whatever you wanna call them but have not found anyone to sing or rap over them yet. Would love to hook up whit all artists out there, collaborate some and perhaps whip up a mixtape or a compilation or something....

There are no money involved what so ever (I charge nothing and won't pay u anything) so it's a "strictly for the love of music" project where talking about, check out my beats at my soundclick page and holla if you're interested.

http://www.soundclick.com/krikon

Lyrical Soldier - True soldier




There's plenty of tiny little places in the middle of nowhere here in New Mexico, one of these are Carlsbad who is about 1 hour away from where i live in Roswell. It's from there that "Lyrical Soldier" comes from. Knowing that my all-time favourite NM Rap album comes from a Carlsbad act i was excited to pop this one in the cd-player. Things start whit an intro where he says that he may not get rich and famous of this album but that he's not going nowhere and that this album might make it easier for the next artist to drop something.It's made like an short song whit some dramatic violins and sounds quote good for an intro (violins is something we will hear plenty of on this album).

First song is "Ride whit us", one of the most commercial songs on this noncommercial album. The beat is based on this simple toy piano loop (slightly reminiscent of the "forgot about dre" beat) and is an boastful track about coming up, trying to make it in this industry. Next is the nylon string (and toned down) laced "From the start" which is a "remembering a easier past" typa song but way deeper than just mentioning worry free days in the ghetto and how everything is tougher now. Lyrical Soldier is basically covering the same grounds as many before him but goes way deeper in exploring the underlying thoughts and feelings.behind the things he says. That's one thing i like about him, he has quite an dept to his lyrics and are able to turn what could just be rap cliche's into something more meaningful.

On a more lighthearted vibe we get "My Cd", a boastfull track where "Lyrical Soldier" let folks know that it doesn't matter if they are hating because the streets respects him and producers keep on giving him beats to rap over just on the strength of how he spits. The woman who sings the chorus makes it catchy and it kinda has some sorta cross-over quality, whit some luck and the right marketing im shure this could be quite a hit. On a way more serious level we get "True soldier" a coupla songs further in the cd and it's not what you might think at first. This is not a dedication to the thugs and O.G's populating our city streets, see "Lyrical Soldier" served in Iraq and this song is dedicated to all soldiers shipped overseas to do military service and who got their fellow soldiers back in thick and thin. It's backed by an "thugged out" beat whit a groovy piano and autotune processed synth. If you think he's blindly patriotic pro-war you better think twice though, he's getting quite critical on some of his closing tracks.

Things turn quick and dramatic on this cd, want proof just check out the next track, "Summertime" whit it's oldies soul/doo-wop sounding backing that could have came straight out of one of "Capon-E"'s "Dedicated to the oldies" albums. It's a very smooth and relaxed song full of lyrics about partying and chillin in the hot New Mexican summer breeze. While i gotta admit it's catchy as hell and very good it's also the most cliched song on the album, about a million of these songs have been made already and this one does notdiffer from any of these. I'm however a believer of that it's more important to do what you do good than always be 100% original, the wheel can only be invented so many times.... But as said, still a good song.

Skipping a few more songs we come to track 12, "Broken dreams" and as you can guess it's way more serious than the previous song that i mentioned and is about how folks tend to be quick to criticize you although they don't give a fuck about you. It's quite deep and emotional and dramatic whit some mellow strings and a dark melody. The song "Fake" surprises me, it starts out as being about selling out in order to get mass appeal and how he refuses to and quickly turns political, dealing whit discrimination of Latinos and racial prejudice, all this over some pretty smooth guitar vibes. This is one guy who has spent quite some time thinking bout stuff.

Things quickly gets even more political on the last song, "The masses" which is about the hypocrisy of USA, war criticism and observation on how America has money to bomb places, build prisons but not to feed the poor. As an soldier you would think he's unadulterated patriotic, flag waiving and pro war but things ain't quite that easy. I feel he's very much against this Iraq war while at the same time being very supportive of our troops and it's individual soldiers.

Well, as usual i could go on writing line after line but i will try to avoid my urges of verbal masturbation. I gotta say i liked this album, it provided some food for thought, complex lyrics, interesting subjects and some honest raw emotions. I liked how this album had an hardcore street feeling to it without ever being gangsta, "Lyrical Soldier" keeps it positive while at the same time showing he's not to be messed whit.

He's for sure lyrical but i would not say in an typical East-coast backpacker way, he do have his metaphors and rhymes but it's not because of any clever wordplay his lyrics are good but more for the dept and relevance they showcase. If you want something that is both street and thought provoking i def. recommend you to go and get this album, if you need easily chewed, Radio friendly rap, search elsewhere.

Lutan Fyah - The king's Son



 The King's SonThere seems to be an an never ending supply of young, militant chanters out there who never misses an opportunity to regurgitate old "Bobo Ashaniti" cliche's. Don't get me wrong, im a major fan of this subgenre (and buys quite a few singjay albums) but feels as if the scene can get a bit overcrowded sometimes. There is however always room for more "Lutan Fyah", even if he recorded songs in a tempo that made "Sizzla" seem lazy. I like his softer sounding approach to the genre and his less aggressive (but uncompromising) lyrics. A new album from "Lutan Fyah" is always a cause for celebration if u ask me.

First up is the tender love song "My love is running over", a soft and emotional song where he confesses how much he loves his woman. I've always liked his love songs and have been able to relate to them on a personal level. I guess I'm kinda a sensitive guy who has never been into this "Let's get laid" macho attitude so many men seem to have and judging from his songs "Lutan Fyah" is neither. For the next track, "Currupt life style" the tempo is upped considerably and the lyrics changed in favor of an more cultural vibe talking bout the virtues of the bobo lifestyle, Prince Emanuel etc...

More utempo Roots vibes are served on "The motherland calling", a duet whit the before mentioned "Ras Shiloh" and they complement each other very, very well, i could absolutely see the 2 being in a group together. Next up is the title track "The kings son" wich serves us more uptempo vibes and is among my favorites on here, it's a catchy song and Lutan's flow is quite perfect, needles to say the lyrics are top notch as usual.

A coupla songs later on we get "Jah works must be done" which is another stand out tune and a slightly more melancholic sounding one although it never reaches quite the "sufferers music" depths it could. It's basically a motivational tune tellin us to keep things going when everything seems dark because gods works still must be done no matter what. Towards the end of the album he returns to the lovers style that started the album up whit "Loved by you", a sweet and warm track about the heartaches of a love gone wrong. It's another one of "Lutan Fyah"'s signature love songs which i like so much.

Over all this is another high quality album from one modern Root's Reggae's brightest shining stars, i like it how Lutan Fyah manages to show a softer, more humble side than many Bobo dj's while still being just as unrepentantly Rasta as the most militant out there. For those of y'all who want an happy sounding Roots album this is a perfect choice. Much recommended.

The King's Son

January 21, 2010

Hi Fructose




Just got my first magazine of "Hi Fructose" and i gotta admit, I absolutely love it. Guess it's kinda similar to the better known magazine "Juxtapoz" since it covers the same kinda "under the counter culture", lowbrow art. Still, it's no copycat magazine and the quality of the printing, paper etc is excellent and very much do justice to the gorgeous paintings it covers. Y'all gotta have a look at it, shame that back issues are expensive and rare. Will absolutely get the book collecting the first 4 magazines.


January 18, 2010

Musically Mad




Been wanting to see this ever since it came out and finally it happened, it's a documentary about the soundsystem culture in England and features interviews from a whole heap a big names and plenty of material from dances and more. It's a very interesting subject that is made even more interesting to me knowing it's made by people from my native country Sweden.


My first impression after finishing it is that it is very well made, the folks behind it had a thought of what they wanted to accomplish and did not just put together random clips and interviews and threw it out there. The almost 60 minutes we get is the result of 4 years of fliming and almost 80 hours of material. Interesting material who did not fit into the documentary is provided as extras, a very good initiative indeed but im sure there's enough interesting material left to fill a dvd box-set.

However, what's in the movie itself feels pretty darn complete, we get interviews whit tons of big names, clips from more current dances as well as classic material from the early 80ies and material dealing whit the more technical side of things such as pre-amps, builders of speakers etc.... One thing that hits me is that many of the veterans in the game seems to be kinda pessimistic about the current situation, there are less places to perform, the youths ain't that into the culture anymore etc...

That's kinda funny because coming from a place and time where Reggae was 100% unpopular iv'e always looked to England as second only to Jamaica when it comes to Reggae and keeping "up-to-date" whit releases and stuff i still sees plenty of good things coming out of England. But I speak from a fans point of view, i dunno nothing about sales, promoting events etc.....

The true test of a music documentary is whether it will be of interest to people who is not fans of the music or the scene it documents (like how i absolutely loved "Heavy Metal in Bagdad" or "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" without being into that kind of music) and i would say that "Musically Mad" should appeal to anyone whit an interest in music. If you're into Reggae it's an added bonus and an must.

January 14, 2010

Irie Up, new reggae magazine in English


Seems as if the future for Reggae magazines written in English has been very bleak lately, the English verision of "Riddim" started out great but went down way too quick, "Reggae Report" has been dead since forever and "The Beat" is not around anymore. In the midst of all these bad news comes "Irie Up", i have not been able to buy my copy of it yet but it sure seems very promising  and is something that is most def. worth supporting.

From checking out the info on their page it seems as if "Riddim Up" has an very international focus, something I highly welcome as there are great acts from all over the globe nowadays. Here in the US you can get it from almighty "Ernie B's Reggae" and it should be easy obtaining it in Europe as well.

For more info, check their page (which is under construction, rite now there's an temporary blog up).

January 11, 2010

3 M Crew - Rollin'


A couple of years ago i saw this groups first cd (when they went under the name Money Makin Mexicans) at my local Hastings store here in Roswell, the cover looked atrocious and I did the mistake of "judging the book by it's cover" and never got it. Not that they have much competition (when it comes to acts on a more professional level, whit albums released) but they are one of Roswells finest Rap acts and when I saw "Rollin' ", their second release I decided to not make the same mistake twice (because the cover is just as ugly this time around as well).

First up is the title track "Rollin' " which is one of the strongest songs on the album. smooth and catchy whit a very melodic beat and lyrics about chillin', ridin in your car and having a good time ( a theme which is dominant for the album). It reminds me of "thugged out" rappers more relaxed songs, the ones they make videos to and try to get a "cross-over" radio hit whit. I really like it. They continue whit the slightly different "Call 'em up" who has a stripped down beat mostly consisting of a drums and some computer bleeps, not much of a melody on this one. Reminds me a lil bit of Snoops "Drop it like it's hot", it could work perfectly on a strip club as it's basically about women shaking their stuff and partying. It's not a bad song but personally i like more beefy, melodic beats. After this it's a quick return to the riding tracks whit "See me" which is all about driving, partying and getting your money on. It has a funky, melodic beat and a catchy chorus, not bad at all.

On a more crunk, aggressive sounding tip is "Po' some liquor in it" who whit it's energetic vibe is a welcome change from the relaxed, chillin typa songs that's been on here so far (not that i dislike these sorta songs but variety is always a good thing). It's very energetic and in your face whit a aggressive chorus chanting "...po' some liqueur in it...", and yeah, it's all about getting drunk and would be the perfect choice for your party, just before you get ready to go to the club. Like that 3m Crew show some versatility on the flow and beats choice. There is more crunk vibes on song 7, "3's up" wich is also one of my favourites (along whit the first song) on here. The chorus has this whistling sounding loop and the rap is again a little more aggressive than on many other songs here. As far as lyrics goes it's of a boasting nature, telling the listeners how tight and untouchable "3m Crew" is.

There is a bunch of other songs on here such as the latin sounding "Get whit ya" ft. Dj Smooth and one of the 2 bonus cuts "Ride whit me" who is something of an anthem for Roswell and the only song where they realy makes a point of being from Roswell and New Mexico. A really needed song if you ask me, the album would not feel complete without an song representing the city of Roswell.

Over all i would say that this is a great album, the production and mastering sounds very professional and the rappers got a good flow. One could mention that this is a very one dimensional album as far as lyrics go, they are all about having a good time, partying, getting women and cruising. There's nothing deep on here, nothing personal or anything political, everything is very lighthearted. I do feel however that it's a conscious decision, some groups choose to be deep and serious and some choose not to and criticising them for it would be unfair. As always whit NM rap, i have no idea how you could get this album (if you're not in Roswell), it's not even advertised on their myspace page. If you however do come across it, buy it because it's good and just perfect for getting that party started or that crowd up on the dance floor.

Art I like




I just got the latest issue of "Juxtapoz" and thought i should write a post on the subject of art, even though I've always enjoyed drawing and "doodling" on papers I've never thought that i would seriously get into art, to the point where i have favorite "painters"  and buys art magazines and books. There is simply so much garbage and pretentious nonsense out there and nice museums are like "one in a million" experiences. When i say im into art I do not mean the self important scene where intellectuals admire a few untalented paint splatters on a canvas and tries to come up whit forced interpretations of them to show how smart they are.




There's this "lowbrow", "pop art" movement out there who produces amazing things, everything from more serious works to silly, playful stuff. I'm talking about painters like like Shag, Joe Ledbetter, Mark Ryden, Yoko D'Holbachie etc... There is about a million more artists worth to mention but the ones above are some of my favorites. Some good sources  to get your feets wet and start to discover more would be books like "Weirdo Deluxe" or "Pop surrealism" or magazines like "Juxtapoz" or "Hi Fructose" . Hope this post opened up your eyes and inspired you to develop an interest in art, there's some amazing stuff out there just waiting to be discovered.


Syster Sol - Domd att bli bedomd




Despite (or maybe because of) being a small nation Sweden has always been very keen on picking up international trends and styles and make it their own. One of our biggest international exports is our music, groups like Roxette, Abba, Ace of Base etc have had quite some success, not that i like any of the groups mentioned or that Swedish Reggae have had a huge international impact but still....

When it comes to Swedish Reggae there is like 2 different camps, the one who tries to put a Swedish perspective on the music, inspired by it's Jamaican roots but not interested in trying to sound like it and then the ones who tries to emulate it as much as possible whit patois accents and all. Im not going to take sides, i like both styles and i guess this is leaning more towards the "Swedish perspective camp" whit her highly original and kinda nasal way of singjaying.

Whit that being said, the backing is quite traditional, 70ies sounding but let's move on to the first song, "Nar vi kommer" (translation: "When we come") a happy, summer sounding song whit major crossover potential (although it's not a sellout song in any way). It's about how Syster Sol has other goals than what "Babylon" has and does not wanna achieve the same things or go the same ways. I guess the definition of "Babylon" here is more an secular, political one, this is not an religious, RastafarI reggae album.

Next up is "Reflektioner" is an very, very deep song about your inner life, your soul, emotions and how you can end up cause your own unhappiness due to look at yourself in the wrong way. It's the total oposite of the previous song whit it's slightly melancholic and slow sound, it's not bad but not my favourite on the album either as it's not all that catchy.

A couple songs later on comes "Vad hande sen" (translation "What happened then") a song which at first sounds like a song about failed love but is about false prophets and their hollow promises of a better tomorrow. It's an digital, uptempo song whit a rootsy vibe to it. Perfect for the dance-floor without being too trivial and adjusted to the club. The title track "Doomed to be judged" a deep song about the society we live in and how it tries to suppress us and our true selves, it's another uptempo roots song whit a good message about self realization.

Over all i would say this is a good album, it has dept, good production values and it feels very ready to take on the music industry and an wide audience without ever selling out. There are no major problems whit it but if i have to mention anything it would perhaps be that the lyrical content on here is very similar throughout the album. Whit a few exceptions it's basically 10 songs about inner struggle and (slightly abstract) criticism of our society and it's values and nothing more. But that's only if I'm nitpicking and tries my best to find faults whit it, "Domd att bli bedomd" is a  good album from an original artist i look forward to hear more from.

January 5, 2010

Blunt Familia - From Burque 2 Diego



Iv'e noticed that often when im lucky enough to get a New Mexico rap cd i tend to somehow not bother to listen to it, even if i like it and recognise the artist in question got skills. This was not the case whit this album though, it's been spinning non-stop ever since i got it. These Albuqurkee (where else would a NM artist come from, lol) cats sounds good for real and this cd is 15 tracks of str8 fire.

By looking at the cover one would asume that this is some hardcore gangstarap and except for the ocational "club banger" ones asumptions are correct. These are some badass chicanos whit their feets firmly rooted in the Burque streets and a heavy San Diego influence in their music (someone in "Blunt Familia" just have to have heavy ties whit San Diego, coming from there or something) that features guys like "Mitchy Slick" and "Smigg Dirtee" but also local acts like Juan Gambino and New Mexico R&B sensation David Wade among many others.

First up is "We run the streets" (ft. 'Boss Man Hogg") and yeah, that is the first track, there's no intro taking place in at a faux radioshow whit lame listeners called in or anything else. They start whit a song (amazingly there are no intros, skits or anything like that on here) and a good one at that, some sorta anthem for the southwest and NM. Been huming "....it's all the same, nothing change in New Mexico" ever since iv'e got this album. It's a fairly simple beat, not too melodic and works well whit the agressive flow and lyrics on here about what goes on in the NM and how "Blunt Familia" runs shit. A very good start to the album.

Next up is "Tha Mob" wich is not quite as good (although it's nowhere near bad), it feels like a song in it's own right but kinda has the lenght of a skit and a monotonous violin based beat. Okay but im not sad over the fact that it's as short as it is. Next up is one of my favourites on the album, "In tha southwest" wich deals whit the day to day struggle of living and trying to get somewhere in life, both as an rapper and individual. I realy like the chorus of this one, whoever does it sounds slightly like "Young Jeezy" although the beat is more of an eastcoast sounding, sample based one (okay, it's not suuuper eastcoast sounding but still....). Song 5, "Mob deep" has nothing to do whit the classic group of the same name but gives us mafia stories over a dark orchestral beat (whit a strong precensee of flute). It's one of only 2 songs whit no features on and "Blunt Familia" shows that they can hold it down on their own.

What follows is "Good 2 floss", a smooth, westcoast sounding track whit San Diego underground legend "Mitchy Slick", pefect to cruise to. A coupla songs further on, track 11; "Southwest hustlers" features classic latino rapper "Mr.Shadow" and "Obnoxious", it's very catchy whit it's repetitive loop and lyrics uniting San Diego hustlers whit Burque ones. I guess the 13th track on here, "V.I.P" whit NM R&B top dawg "David Wade" is the albums designated club banger whit it's chill lyrics and melodic backing. While it's competently made it feels a bit unimaginative but that is probably just as much due to me not feeling these type of tracks as it can be contributed to any faults by the producer or "Blunt Familia". The album ends at 15 tracks deep whit "Shine on" featuring one of the more prolific Burque rappers out there, "Juan Gambino". I only got 1 of his albums but my experience is that he often blends a heavy R&B vibe while still managing to keep it thugged out. This last cut fits him perfect as it's smooth and jazzy while at the same time being firmly rooted in the streets.

When talking about "NM" rap i often use phrases like "....unusualy good for being from NM" but saying anything like that when talking about these guys would be unfair, they are just plain good. Unless your'e in Albuqurkee this album will probably be kinda hard to come by as distribution for NM rap sucks to a point where it's tough getting any even if youre in NM but if you happen to come across "From Burque 2 Diego", don't hessitate to buy it. It's a good album whit a varied content, plenty of songs for the streets and a few for women and the clubs. These guys rep New Mexico and does it real good.

Ras Shiloh - Coming home


One of the biggest losses in contemporary Reggae has to be the very untimely death of "Garnett Silk" in the mid 90ies, he could have become one of the brightest shining stars of the genre. Luckily we still got "Ras Shiloh" who has a voice that is very similar to the dead "superstar-to-be". It's hard to tell from listening to him but he's American, born and raised in NY. This album from 07' is one of his most recent and best.

It starts geniously whit "We need more love" who calls out for "more love" and is very critical to how we treat each other nowadays and how he's "tired of walking the streets being afraid of my own shadow", the music is very smooth and relaxed without straying too much from a distinct backbeat. This is the kinda riddim that works just as well on an British "lovers rock" song as an more conscious one, an excellent start to this album and one of my favourite "Ras Shiloh" songs of all-time.

Next up, on "Voice of the people"  he criticize the governments of the world and how they oppresses "the voice of the people"  and how that will cause 'nuff negativity such as riots and social unrest. It features Rasta/12 Tribes super group "Morgan Heritage" and is a lil bit more uptempo than the first song, it's a good song whit an important message but fails to reach the heights of the first song. A couple songs later we get "The new rising day" whit Ragga artist "Bascom X", it's similar to the first song in content but ads a bit of dancehall vibes to the preachings of love and understanding, a great uptempo roots song whit a contemporary feel.

For those who want's lovers songs he continues whit "Need your love" and "Are you lonely" who are just as smooth and relaxed as these sorta songs should be, i think it's a nice touch when more conscious, rootsy artists ad a few love songs to their albums, it softens them up a bit, ads variety and iv'e personaly always enjoyed sappy love songs done to a backbeat.

 Don't think that "Ras Shiloh" strays from the more straight religious subjects on here, "Volume of the books" deals whit the words of the bible and on "Come down Jah Jah" he pleads for god to return to earth, all over some catchy uptempo riddims. Over all i would say that this is a very good and well rounded album where Ras infuses some of his own personality into his music and shows that he's more than just a "Garnett Silk" copycat artist. I may not have mentioned every song on here but this album certainly is one without any fillers, if you're into smooth, contemporary roots reggae whit a touch of "lovers rock" you would do very good in buying this.

 Coming Home   Only King Selassie   Babylon You Doom   From Rasta to You   Melchizedek Vibes Vol. One