Black Star
Anthony B
June 12, 2005

Anthony B - Black Star Track list
  1. World A Reggae Music
  2. Praise Jah
  3. Poor Man's Cry featuring Jah Cure
  4. I Understand
  5. Give Thanks featuring Ras Shiloh
  6. Never Sell Out
  7. Watch Over My Soul
  8. Black History
  9. Come Free My Mind
  10. Don't Buss Your Gun
  11. Rastafari Crown
  12. Sunshine
  13. Start It Now
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3 Backing : 3 Production : 3 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 3
In "Intro" Anthony B welcomes us to "the future with echoes of the past" setting the tone, accurately -- for the rest of the album indeed fulfills Anthony B's exclamation, with a pounding mix up of steppers, roots, ragga, ska and a touch of bashment.

"World A Reggae Music" fuses old and new skool with one of the best b lines of the year -- slow, sticky, sensual and threatening in good measure, with a hollow snare sound contrasting the bass purge. Turn up the bass, turn off all the treble on your stereo -- and enjoy.

Jah Cure -- who has been sounding decidedly mawkish and bland of late -- puts in a good performance here on "Poor Man's Cry", waxing mystic and prophetic -- " "I wish the future could be the past, and the past could be the future" he chants cryptically.

"Never Sell Out" hammers out a digi rendition of the thunderous "Warrior Charge", the groundbreaking Aswad tune. In a time when far, far too many producers are cynically churning out so called "relicks" of old rhythms to turn a quick profit out of new buyers' enthusiasm, this cut is an inspired version -- and certainly well worth a listen.

"Black History" opens with an old Blue Note cymbal hiss, before breaking down into a Skatalites shuffle -- Very convincing it is too.

Some of the compositions here are sincere, charged affairs -- others are though, it must be said, just about treading water, with repetitive lyrical themes and rehashed production values--but arguably that could be said about a lot of contemporary Euro and JA digi roots, which as a genre, seems to have reached its heights of inventiveness in the late 90's in the works from Xterminator -- (The days when JA studios produced music as strong and innovative as "Fiya it is Burning" from Prince Malachi, and works as moving as "Black Woman and Child" by Sizzla or as heavy and electrifying as "MLK in dub" from Xterminator are, sadly, behind us it seems. But we live in hope!)

This is overall, however, an aggressive and exciting album -- which is sure to please Anthony B's followers.