Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Away From Babylon
Queen Omega
Charm-Jet Star
CD
March 6, 2004

Track list
  1. Jahmazing Grace
  2. Away From Babylon
  3. De Youth
  4. Friends For Life
  5. Ganja Baby
  6. Jah Jah Jah
  7. One Time
  8. Know The Business
  9. Looking For Love
  10. Mama
  11. Rise Natty Rise
  12. More Joy
  13. Greedy Bwoy
  14. 22 Questions
  15. Deliver Me
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Now twenty-three years old, Queen Omega hails from San Fernando in Trinidad. Encouraged by her mother (to whom she pays moving tribute on "Mama"), she began entering local talent shows from the age of nine, writing her own calypsos and even rapping on national television. Later on she sang backing vocals for local producer Kenny Philips, accompanying numerous top Soca acts both in the studio and on stage. Raised in a musical family, she’d grown up listening to soul artists like Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker and Whitney Houston, as well as jazz and the traditional music of Trinidad. Such foundations were to serve her well later on; her favourites however, were reggae and dancehall. Inspired by the teachings of Emperor Haile Selassie I, her song writing skills soon blossomed, with roots and reality themes coming to the fore as her love of Rastafari deepened. It was on a trip to Jamaica with the Solomon Band where she performed at the Caribbean Music Expo in late 2000 that she met producer Mickey D, who brought her to London the following year for sessions that resulted in her debut set, "Queen Omega". This was followed by several hit singles and a second album titled "Pure Love".
"Away From Babylon" is Queen Omega’s third and most accomplished album yet finding her still residing within Mickey D's Green House Family, employing the talents of Sly & Robbie, Computer Paul, Sista Band, The Ruff Cutt Band and Jazzwad to build the riddims. On this set she shows that she has learned alot and that she has developed her singing and deejaying style further since she emerged on the reggae scene. This makes "Away From Babylon" a more balanced and well varied album than its predecessors. Most of the tracks featured here are, of course, uplifting roots tunes, but this time you'll also find more dancehall-oriented efforts like e.g. "Know The Business" and the superb answer version to 50 Cent's "21 Questions". The album takes off with "Jahmazing Grace", a very strong take on "Amazing Grace" performed over the awesome "Heavenless" riddim. And there are even more great reworkings of classic riddims around including adaptations of The Abyssinians' "Abendigo" for "De Youth", "Scandal" for "Friends For Life", Jahiem's "Fabulous" for the excellent "Ganja Baby" (Queen Omega's proud and assertive defence of herb), "In Cold Blood" for the wonderful "One Time" and Bob Marley’s "Natty Dread" for "Rise Natty Rise". But the listener is also treated to some notable original backdrops such as those that underpin tunes like "Jah Jah Jah", the lovers-oriented "Looking For Love" and the truly superb "More Joy".
Overall opinion is that Queen Omega has delivered a strong album, worthwhile checking out.