Warrior Empress
Askala Selassie
Stingray Records
Digital release
June 11, 2016

Track list
  1. Holy, Holy
  2. Warrior Empress
  3. Rocky Road
  4. Rise Up feat. Ras Charmer
  5. Hard Work
  6. Hard Work Dub
  7. I'll Wait
  8. Jamaica Land
  9. Rebel
  10. My Life
  11. My Life Dub
  12. This Old World
  13. This Love feat. Ginjah
  14. Love You Always
  15. Warrior Empress Dub
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Total votes : 3
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Although her EP "Put Jah First" was released in 2011, it wasn't until 2015, the year Jamaican producer Anthony Senior of Al.Ta.Fa.An Records sent us the single "Warrior Empress", that London-based reggae songstress Askala Selassie came on our radar. That single is now the title track of Askala Selassie's anticipated debut album, which was created in collaboration with Stingray Records' producer & studio engineer Carl 'Dillie' McLeod in his West London based Big House Recording Studio. This implies that the tracks coming from this collaboration have a crisp and clean vibe due to Dillie's highly acclaimed production and engineering talents and the involvement of great musicians like Paul Yebuah, Leroy 'Mafia' Heywood, Tony 'Ruf Cutt' Phillips, Philip Campbell, Trevor Fagan, Patrick Anthony, Henry 'Buttons' Tenyue, Kenton Brown and Ivan Christie. Apart from the aforementioned production works of Anthony Senior and Carl 'Dillie' McLeod, this set furthermore includes tracks produced by Big Neck Productions ("This Love" feat. Ginjah), Leo Bizzari ("Love You Always") and Genis Trani ("My Life" & "My Life Dub").

Her single "Warrior Empress", recorded at Tuff Gong studio with the Fire House Crew & Dean Fraser, already made clear that Askala Selassie is a much promising artist on the rise and that's affirmed with this 15-track album on which she not only fully shows her skills and talent, but also her versatility as she handles reggae styles like one drop, roots, dub or lovers rock with ease. "Holy, Holy", a short acapella song of praise, precedes the powerful sung title track. Although having played this tune numerous times, it's still worth hearing. And there are more tracks featured on this set that urge you to put them on repeat because they are simply great offerings. First of all there's the hard-hitting sound sytem killer "My Life" (plus its dub version), which comes across a wicked updated version of Horace Andy's classic "Money Money" riddim from 1974. Similar vibes come from the matching "Hard Work" and its dub. Another gem is "Rebel", a real roots scorcher delivered over a revitalized version of the riddim known from Ijahman Levi's "Moulding". Two collaborations included as well of which "Rise Up" with Ras Charmer is the one to check. And last but not least there's the heartfelt love song entitled "Rocky Road" with lyrics any lover can relate to. Musically, vocally and lyrically this one is candy for the ears. The tune has a jazzy feel and features the beautiful trumpet play of ex UB40 trumpeter Patrick Anthony.

Pretty much every song on Askala Selassie's pleasant and reliable debut album is a winner on some level. So reggae aficionados, in the end we can only draw the conclusion that you really cannot afford to not pay attention to this Warrior Empress.