Kalonji Records / VP records
March 17, 2012
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 4||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
Just a couple of weeks after the release of "The Chant", comes another studio album from Sizzla entitled "In Gambia". Releasing two brand new albums of an artist at almost the same time is unusual, but not in case of Sizzla because this was more or less common practice during the first five years of his musical career. With the heavily promoted, but unbalanced "The Chant", Sizzla didn't leave a very strong impression and thus it was with due reserve that we started listening to the 12 (never before issued) tracks of "In Gambia". The latter was partly recorded in Gambia and produced in Jamaica by Karim 'DJ Karim' Thompson.
Just like "The Chant", this "In Gambia" set is inspired by Sizzla's recent visits to Africa, which brought him to countries such as Zimbabwe, Ghana, South Africa, and, of course, Gambia. However, the mood and vibes created here are totally different, not least due to the varied musical backdrops that underpin Sizzla's vocal and lyrical delivery. The riddims incorporate uptempo African beats, 'one-drop' reggae, R&B and Hip Hop elements, dancehall throbs and acoustic guitar sound. It actually comes across as a kind of sampler of Sizzla's musical worlds.
The joyful sounding "Welcome To Africa", with its African sounding backing and real nice female backing vocals, is a very appealing album opener. Then we get big Jamaican roots vibes with the outstanding "Blackman Rise", which is followed by the slow-paced "Woman Of Creation", a solid tune on a somewhat bombastic sounding riddim. The auto-tuned opening of "Nothing Cah Wrong" is a bit out of place, but after that this effort makes a nice impression. A completely different vibe comes with the moving "Feed The Children", a tune that keeps you involved till the very end. Almost the same can be said about the matching "Too Much War". Both tracks deal with some of the main trials and tribulations many African people have to go through since many, many years. Although the tracks that make up the second half of this album don't fully match the previous six tracks, there are still a few tunes worth hearing including "Let It Grow", the combination with Jesse Jendah, and the fiery dancehall tune, "Branded African", which rounds off a decent album in fine style.
The 12 songs on "In Gambia" don't knock you out immediately, but grow on you a little more every time you hear them.