Thursday, March 24, 2005

Natty King and Jahranimo

Natty King
No Guns to Town
Listening to Natty King, it's not surprising that he cut his teeth singing Luciano tunes. Like Luci, he's committed to positivity and has a terrific voice. But Natty King is a bonafide singing sensation himself, with two huge number one hits, the reality tune "No Guns to Town" and the capitalist-questioning "Mr. Greedy." No Guns to Town features the big tunes (plus bonus videos for both hits), link-ups with Sizzla, Chinna Smith and Trinity, as well as the lovely romantic track "Love Me." The umpteenth reason why folks should take a listen to new, conscious reggae. 9/10

Jahranimo Real Life (Lightning Ball)
Someone needs to tell Vancouver-based Jahranimo that he doesn't need hip hop in his reggae - especially since he's otherwise quite nice. 7/10

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Beenie Man and LKJ

Beenie Man
Kingston to King of the Dancehall: A Collection of Dancehall Favorites
Since the Jamaican music industry is completely single-driven and artists are bloody prolific, rockist demands for solid, consistent albums are rarely, if ever, fulfilled. But when you've got a guy like Beenie Man with 50-plus number one hits, a compilation is going to kill. Kingston to King is a series of these top-ranking tunes (plus a DVD with a featurette and a bunch of videos), presenting Beenie Man's uncanny ability to spit out lines that get stuck in your head ("zim zimma," anyone?). With all the controversy surrounding Beenie's homophobic lyrics, it's good - and heartening - to remember that the most popular tracks are all good fun. 8/10

Linton Kwesi Johnson
Live in Paris with the Dennis Bovell Dub Band
LKJ's dub poetry is brilliant and bloody prescient - "music blazing sounding thumping fire" indeed. 9/10