you liked Zema's album Stranger in the
gates, you will absolutely love this one,
because it contains everything that
"Stranger" lacked: a full band
with well known members such as Haile Maskel
and Zacky Bernard (Twinkle Borthers), an
all-stars list of guest appearances (Ras
Michael), more songs, and more dubs, mixed
skillfully by Scientist. Where the music on
Stranger was catchy, the vibes on this one
rock hard! Again, Zema comes up with a
varied style of riddims, but they all stay
with the realm of High Quality Roots Reggae.
You can hear that the musicians are all very
experienced. The dubs are mixed by the
legendary Scientist, I wish that he would
have dubbed all the titles, because they're
really more than worth it!
The album starts of with "Open
Up", a solid track with a nice guitar
riff reminding me of Black Uhuru in their
"Anthem" era. After this comes the
title track, a heartical call to the
hypocrites who like to judge their brethren
and impress others by calling themselves
"leaders". Third title is a cover
of Johnny Osbourne's "Give A Little
Love", which in my opinion is much
better then the original (sorry, brethren
Johnny). Or take the next one,
"Somebody Wrong", created after a
traditional, with special guest appearance
RAS MICHAEL, who can be considered as the
conga specialist of Reggae Music. Track 5 is
called "How Long", with nice
(male) backing vocals. It's a heartical
sufferer's prayer that I'm sure many can
relate to. Next up, "Praise You".
In a one drop stop style, this a righteous
track filled with praises to the Most High.
It comes with it's Scientific Dub mix,
skillfully mixed in the style of Scientist
Dubs Culture Into Parallel Universe.
"Their Own Sight", the next track
on the album, is a Steppers Beat over a
really powerful lyrics based on an ancient
prophesy. Also this track comes with an
accompanying Dub Version by Scientist.
Followed is the song called "Gain The
World", again in a One Drop style. A
crucial One Drop style, because the drummer
really knows how to play this rather
difficult rhythm. One Drop continues in the
next track ("Who We Are"), that
Zema wrote together with Twinkle Brothers'
keyboard player Zachy Bernard, her husband,
by the way. There's a little guitar solo in
the track as well. The last vocal is my
absolute favorite: "Praise Before
Battle": a rub a dub tune that I played
five times in a row when I first heard it. I
just can't get enough from this one, it's so
strong, both lyrical and musical. Too bad
there is no dub from this one on the album.
Speaking of dubs, I already mentioned
them, Scientist has dubbed two tracks on
this album. They remind me much of his Dub
album from Culture's Payday, also reviewed
in the Dubroom.
All in all, I consider this to be one of
the better recent roots reggae releases. The
sistren is gifted with a great voice, sweet
yet strong, schooled yet heartical. Zema
belongs to the absolute top of female Reggae
Singers, and I am not alone in this opinion.
In every critique and review I read, the
writers are talking hailing up the album.
This is a must for your Conscious Reggae