Dub Kweli
Max Tannone
No Label
Free Digital Download
December 19, 2010

Track list
  1. Your Gospel
  2. Country Of Loving
  3. Ms. Good Lady
  4. Panta Move
  5. Garvey Gets By
  6. More Or Less Dub
  7. Words High
  8. Mourning Unknown
  9. Listen Fe
  10. Away Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
Although we hardly ever review remix albums or so-called "mash-ups", we thought that Max Tannone's earlier this year released "Mos Dub" set was truly worthwhile reviewing so it could be checked out by reggae fans with an open ear and mind. Released in August 2010, "Dub Kweli" is the sequel to "Mos Dub" and again it's a collection of tunes that shouldn't be overlooked.

The term "mash-up" describes the result of mixing together two or more records to create a whole new track and that's exactly what NYC DJ and producer Max Tannone does to full effect. Known from the mash-up album "Jaydiohead" for which he combined the vocals of Jay-Z and the music of Radiohead, Max Tannone expertly and respectfully combined the vocals of hip hop star Dante Terrell Smith-Bey aka Mos Def with classic reggae riddims and vocals of Jamaican artists like The Slickers, Johnny Osbourne, Big Youth, Dawn Penn, Michael Prophet and the Wailing Souls, for his "Mos Dub" project. For its follow-up he followed the same procedure, only this time he chose hip-hop artist Talib Kweli to rap against a backdrop of dubbed out reggae beats.

As was the case with his Mos Def project, it's astonishing to hear how Max Tannone has managed to mix down Talib Kweli's raps in such a way that it all sounds very natural on top of reggae riddims. Again the producer has dug deep in the vaults of Jamaican producers such as Herman Chin Loy, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Prince Jammy, Glen Brown, and Henry 'Junjo' Lawes. Don't read the following part of this review if you want to find out yourself what reggae riddims and/or songs are featured on this set. However read on if you are anxious to know these things before you are going to listen to the "Dub Kweli" album.

Rocksteady meets hip hop -- and it works very well -- on the wicked opening track "Your Gospel". Talib Kweli's "Hostile Gospel Pt. 1" from the 2007 released "Ear Drum" album is combined with Keith & Tex's "Stop That Train" and its deejay version "Draw Your Breaks" by Scotty. For "Country Of Loving", Max Tannone drew another track from the aforementioned "Ear Drum" album, namely "Country Cousins", which features Talib Kweli alongside U.G.K. & Raheem Devaughn. It's mashed up with Michael Prophet's "Sweet Loving" from his 1981 released LP "Gunman" and Scientist's "Ghost Of Frankenstein" from the acclaimed dub album "Rids The World Of Vampire Curse". Next up is "Ms. Good Lady", the nicely done combination of Lee "Scratch" Perry & Prince Jammy's "Black Princess Lady" from "Dub The Old Fashioned Way" and Mos Def feat. Ghostface's import single "Ms. Fat Booty Pt. 2" together with the "Life Is Good" 12inch single from DJ Deckstream feat. Mos Def & Talib Kweli. The classic "Drum Song" riddim that underpins Lee "Scratch" Perry's "Black Panta", taken from "Upsetters Dub Blackboard Jungle", combined with Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek's "Move Somethin'" makes a great effort of "Panta Move". However it's outmatched by "Garvey Gets Out", which is made up of Talib Kweli's "Get By" from the 2002 album "Quality" and Burning Spear's "Marcus Garvey" plus King Tubby & Errol Thompson's "Marcus Garvey Dub".

Another winner is "More Or Less Dub", actually Talib Kweli feat. Dion's "More Or Less" meets Rico Rodriguez "This Day Dub", that appeared on "The Man From Wareika". The solid "Words High" is the result of combining Jah Marcus' "Words" from "Words In Dub" with "Get Em High" from Kanye West feat. Talib Kweli & Common. "Mourning Unknown" is the highpoint of this set, featuring Talib Kweli & Hi-Tek's "Good Mourning" and the Herman Chin Loy produced and engineered untitled second track from Side B of the "Aquarius Dub Vol. 4" LP. Next drops the great "Listen Fe", Talib Kweli's "Listen", again a track from the "Ear Drum" album, combined with Skin, Flesh, and Bones' 7inch single "Butter Fe Fish". The set is rounded off in real fine style with Zap Mama feat. Talib Kweli & Common's "Yelling Away" and Glen Brown & King Tubby's "Dub Happening" from "Big Dub: Glen Brown Meets King Tubby - 15 Dubs From Lost Tapes".

Just like "Mos Dub", this 10 track "Dub Kweli" set has been bootlegged on vinyl.

"Mos Dub" is available for free download here.