Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Inna Red I Hour
Abja
I Grade Records
CD
February 2 - 2004

Track list
  1. Red I Tune
  2. War
  3. Crucial Confessions
  4. Rise Up
  5. Rebel I Lion
  6. Lion Walk
  7. Love Jah
  8. Chances
  9. Love Potion
  10. Pass de Kahn feat. Yahdanai
  11. Play On
  12. Still Have Love
  13. Love Jah Dub
  14. Lion Walk Dub
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
The cd "Inna Red I Hour" is the promising and powerful debut album by Abja. He's a a multi-talented singer, singjay, songwriter, and producer hailing from St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. From there Laurent “Tippy” Alfred runs his renown I Grade Records label, and the latest branch, Abja is destined to make an excellent impression on the (roots) reggae massive with his debut set.

While "Inna Red I Hour" is the artist's first full-length release, he has been polishing his studio skills and sharing his gifts with audiences in NYC for several years, as a former vocalist and producer with the Survival Soundz crew out of Brooklyn. Abja also appeared on I Grade Records’ first compilation album, 'Weep Not', released in November, 2002. His tune – "Crucial Confessions" – received widespread acclaim and radio play throughout the US, Caribbean and Europe.

This album is a showcase for Abja’s insightful and poetic songwriting through his mystical, wailing vocal delivery – somewhat reminiscent of Steel Pulse’s David Hines, yet retaining his own cadence and style. Vocally and lyrically, the album is a diverse collection with songs ranging from the blazing rockers anthem, War, to the heavyweight roots/hip hop blend Lion Walk to the acoustic ballad, Still Have Love. But there's more good stuff here. Two of our favorite tunes are the heavily skanking one drop songs Love Potion and Play On typical I Grade Records tunes ! Furthermore we kept on spinning Still Have Love and the compelling tune Crucial Confessions. The combination tune Pass de Kahn, here Yahdanai joins Abja, is a refreshing reworking of "Pass The Kouchi". Rise Up is a wonderfully jazz flavored mid-tempo rootical tune, while Rebel I Lion is another standout piece. For good measure they have included the dubs to Love Jah and Lion Walk.

The album was produced and mixed by Laurent “Tippy” Alfred of I Grade Records. The riddims consist of mostly all-live instrumentation; the players of instruments include some of the best from St. Croix’s rich roots reggae movement – I Grade bassist Kenyatta Itola, drummer Jamaki Knight, drummer “Batch” of Sound V.I.zion Records, Midnite drummer Dion “Bosie” Hopkins and Midnite bassist Phil Merchant. Legendary guitarist Tuff Lion plays on several songs, bringing his trademark roots skanks and searing blues leads to the project.

We're sure that the album’s many moods will appeal to a wide range of listeners, but fans of true roots rebel music will be more than satisfied with every cut on this 14 track debut album.