What do you get when you combine today’s most promising Jamaican reggae singer with one of Europe’s finest production and publishing houses? We get a killer album, “Jamaica Jamaica,” the fifth studio release of the young Micah Shemaiah and an outstanding example of the perspective and future of roots music, which is suppressed in the mainstream by various shunts that cry out for the hunt and the authorization of those hustlers who hold the money and industry in their hands. Micah and Evidence from Geneva decided to show that music can be both modern and traditional, fresh and creative, and not idealess and inflated with no goal other than to raise the price in the market.
“Strictly roots!” sings this recently hoarse and extremely authentic vocalist in the song “Roots Blockbuster” over the legendary Real Rock riddim, proving once again that he is one of the few young artists from Jamaica who have remained faithful to the true reggae sound from the 70s and early 80s. The real question is, why aren’t more such performers on the island where it all started? Shouldn’t it be bubbling at the source… so from the “source”? Unfortunately, the truth has a bitter taste, and today, there are only Micah, Earthkry, Chezidek, and, let’s say, Aza from those who survive in the roots tradition with some flirtations with rub-a-dub. Or as hinted by Mr. “Infallible” in the song “Neva Miss,” which completes the mentioned cult riddim: there is no mistake with this young team.
But that’s where we get a partial answer to the mystery of the lack of such vocalists: being true to roots is to hit with the bitter truth, no matter how heartbreaking the truth might be, and that can be painful, both for the authors and for their pockets. However, Micah is not afraid to present the real situation in Jamaica instead of telling fairy tales for tourists and embellishing them for the industry. Corruption, poverty, hard life, young people who run away to crime (or rather, crime finds them), and the call for “healing the state” is all that strikes the listener already in the first and title track. Riddim nails it, but the lyrics are never heavier and more realistic. It’s no different with the next two songs, “Why You Killing Dem So,” which talks about violence, inequalities, and systematic oppression on the island, and “Run Things,” which illuminates exactly the dark mainstream path that many people take and forget the light and the source, they forget that ”Jah runs everything!”.
And so, instead of an album that at first seems like another super advertisement for Jamaica that will attract European tourists, Micah hits with truth and ferocity with full basses and production that was put through the fingers of several skilled producers while only in the second part of the album he ”drops the ball” and for those who survive the initial shock of reality, provides more love themes in “Left My Heart In Mobay,” a more spiritual approach in “Never Fall I” and an uplifting of sound system culture in “Stereo.” And, if something is certain, then it is that this album brings a handful of sound system material, which will be playing on sounds all over the world starting this summer. Best of all, with the lyrics and singing in these tapes, Micah will by no means let us forget where he (and we) come from: “Never forget where we come from” (“Many Miles”) and that the masses will move their hips to songs about the reality of music and the island where does reggae come from.
Written by: reggaeneracija
todayDecember 3, 2023 21 1