California Green
Black Judah & Snoop Dogg
Atomic Records / Zojak Worldwide
Digital EP
July 5, 2011

Track list
  1. Don't Give Up
  2. California Green (Explicit Version) feat. Snoop Dogg
  3. California Green (Clean Version) feat. Snoop Dogg
  4. Hands Up
  5. Inna Da Ghetto feat. Anthony B
  6. Mercy Please feat. Warrior King
  7. Do Your Best (includes hidden bonus track)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
California-based Black Judah, a duo consisting of Jamaican singer Sugar Black and American singer, songwriter, and producer Dylan Judah, have developed a brand of music, which is influenced by reggae, hip-hop and R&B.

Sugar Black, who formed an internationally known duo with Lehbanculah from 1997 up to 2003, discovered his passion for music as a child. He combined his talents and motivated spirit to become the youngest apprentice of the Black Star Sound System at age twelve. He began recording for Tony Rebel's Flames Production and released a series of very fine singles on a variety of labels including 321 Strong, Hamony House, Kings Of Kings, Shocking Vibes and Pow Pow. Sugar Black has continued to record and perform over the past decade by being the driving force in the creation of two albums "Black Attack" (2000) and "Souljah Story" (2005).

Dylan Judah began his musical career as a young drummer in his teenage ska band, Caught in the Act (C.I.A.). With C.I.A. he opened shows for artists such as No Doubt, Bunny Wailer and The Skatalites. Dylan Judah ventured to Jamaica and lived in apartheid stricken South Africa where music is the core foundation of people their communities. He explored the townships outside the cities to play and absorb the vibes directly from the roots of Reggae music. He lived in the mountains above Negril in Jamaica where he was embraced by 'the yard culture' with no running water or electricity and far from tourists.

The first effort we've heard of Black Judah, was the 2008 released single "Mercy Please". The latter, an up-tempo tune that spent three weeks at the #1 on Richie B's Jamaican Reggae Chart, instantly made a very good impression. And now, about three years after that worthwhile effort, the duo comes up with the digitally released "California Green EP", the forerunner of their soon to be released full length album. The EP contains 7 tracks (plus a hidden bonus track), all worth hearing. Of course, there's their first hit "Mercy Please", done in collaboration with Warrior King, as well as brand new tunes like the much anticipated title track with a guest appearance of hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg.

The EP opens in great style with an uplifting modern reggae tune called "Don't Give Up". Lyrically this song is pure consciousness, while both singers showcase their vocal talent and ability to the fullest. Next drop two versions of the herb tune "California Green", which not surprisingly have a strong hip-hop vibe. However this doesn't imply that this very entertaining, solid tune will not appeal to the reggae aficionado. We have doubt if this also goes for "Hands Up". For "Inna Da Ghetto" Black Judah has collaborated with Jamaican reggae dancehall star Anthony B. Again they go into hip-hop territory, but in contrast with "Hands Up" this tune carries a dancehall vibe due to the involvement of Anthony B, who has some experience in voicing these kinda riddims. Just like the opener, the beautiful "Do Your Best" is a joy to hear because of its lyrics and the vocal delivery of Sugar Black and Dylan Judah. The bonus tracks clocks in at 06:59. After inspiring spoken words about our environment, there's another version of "California Green" (now without Snoop Dogg) to enjoy.

Don't let the fact that this EP contains a few hip-hop vibed tunes prevent you from checking the "California Green EP", because there's nuff musical niceness included to keep you involved.