Food For Thought
Iqulah Rastafari
Salem House Records
CD / Digital Release
March 31, 2015

Track list
  1. Back In The Day
  2. Jailbreaker
  3. Generation
  4. It Is I
  5. Tormented Souls
  6. Strength Of Life
  7. She's Always There
  8. Judgement
  9. Hail Far I
  10. Grown Man Cry
  11. No War
  12. Liberation
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
IQULAH RASTAFARI. "The High Priest Of Reggae", "Rasta Ambassador". Fitting descriptions given to one of Roots Reggae's most dynamic and humble messengers. A man who lives as he sings. He has just released his sixth album in his thirty year career. "FOOD FOR THOUGHT" is well worth the wait and is poised to be one of the memorable offerings of this millennium...

Iqulah Rastafari (Raymond Topping) hails from St. Ann, JA. In 1966, he witnessed Haile Selassie I speak forever changing his life. Along with 14 Rasta youths, he fled the city and lived in the hills for years; living from the Earth and living in true Rastafari tradition. Eager to spread a musical message, he formed IQULAH in 1984 with a base at Runaway Bay. The group quickly had a strong following with an initial lineup that included drummie Tuffest Beckford and guitarist Phillip Porter (legends fe real). Their 1988 debut, "Rasta Philosophy", featured the likes of Judy Mowatt & Marcia Griffiths and made an international splash. The follow up, "The Mission" (1993) cemented his credentials. By this time, the group was touring internationally (first Reggae band to play in Estonia) and have spread Royal message throughout The Far East, Indian Ocean, Europe and throughout Africa. The 1997 live set, "Rasta Live" shows the pure and sheer power that is Iqulah. After a brief hiatus to lecture and set up the International Rasta Centre (JA), he returned in 2004 with "Rasta 4 Eva". This is a man who has performed in front of 80,000 strong at Maskel Square (Ethiopia) and was the only Roots unit to perform at the 2010 World Cup (South Africa). On Feb 14, 2015, he performed at the famed "9 Mile Music Festival" (Miami) and just performed to thousands in South Africa this month. He maintains farms in California and Jamaica and is the International Chaplain for The Ethiopian World Federation. True Rasta ambassador all the way. Big respect to DOUGLAS VAUGHN and JOHNNY TOKEN!

"Food For Thought" is an intercontinental project with recording and production taking place in London, JA, California and South Africa. A unity of The Giddeon Family (London, CA), Andahnet Family (JA) and Ananzia Family (South Africa). The bulk of tracks were laid at London's Dr. King Studios with Paget King (bass,keys), Stephen "Marley" Wright (guitars), Brian Gustave (drums), Itiko Horns, Sarah Graham (Iqulah's wife-cello) and the legendary Sarah Tobias (sax, flute). Outstanding guitarist Johnny Token (mainstay of the California Roots scene) adds great licks. Strength Of Life was recorded at Ghetto Sound Studio (South Africa) with veterans Wakhile Xhahlisa (bass), Ricky Bushula (keys) and Iqulah (percussion). Liberation was vibed at Rastafari Andahnet Centre Studio (JA) with riddims by Sarah Graham, Iqulah with harmonies from "Original Spears" featuring Daddy Lookup and Rupert Wellington (legends). Chief engineer Douglas Vaughn does a remarkable job at the controls. (Note: this is his first Roots project and his expertise is undeniable). Great assistance from Johnny Token, Ras Keen, Sarah Graham and Ras Fred.

Back In The Day shines like blazing fyah! Iqulah is utterly graceful and seasoned over an engaging riddim. "Seen fragmentation of our culture by colonialism". His delivery and observation reflects wisdom and overstanding. Jailbreaker is solid anthemwise. Johnny Token's licks slice just right and Sarah's cello adds great dimension. Progressive track that's up top! Generation is pure triumphancy. Poetic observation that we can all learn from. Proud delivery over a top notch riddim peppered with Mr. Token's licks and Mr. Wright's picking. Well oh well! It Is I is a Dubby atmosphere that shows the talent of Douglas Vaughn's mixing. Every element is intertwined just right! Iqulah has a flowing charisma that permeates Heart and Soul in a very mystical manner. Tormented Souls is a masterpiece indeed. A powerful track that depicts the truth about divulging in toxicity to deal with Life. A song of Marleyesque proportions with pure intelligency. Strength Of Life features the vibes of South Africa's Ananzia Family. Royal vibrations that complements Iqulah's undiluted emotion and wisdom.

She's Always There is a beautiful ode to his Empress Sarah presented with pure conviction over a dynamic riddim. Love songs are plentiful but this one is really TRUE! Judgement is undiluted reality and philosophy. Sarah's cello flows throughout this thunderable consciousness. "Redder Fire Judgement... Non Partial Judgement". Serious reasoning happening here! The magic continues with the horn driven Hail Far I. Iqulah proudly exalts praises unto The Most High with flow of a mountainous river. Pure and undiluted. Grown Man Cry is a show of versatility. A Niyabinghi driven piece with majestic flute overtones. A piece of Hope and Reality delivered in the interest of JAH. No War has a polished edge that works well. Iqulah wails triumphantly about the unjustification of war business. Great riddimwise and other wise. Liberation is incredible! The harmonies of Winston Rodney's former co-singers is truly significant and adds a slice of Mt. Zion. Iqulah opens up his reflections of Life in manners and respect that will not be forgotten. Absolute gem!! This is RASTA MUSIC!!

IQULAH RASTAFARI's "Food For Thought" is a work of JAH Art. A deliverance of true and thoughtful works from a messenger that has linked with an ensemble that believes in his vision and values. One can feel the flow and respect that happened during these sessions. If you're fortunate enough to witness Iqulah and The Giddeon Family live, that is a true blessing. All the while, pick up a copy of this musical reflection of Rastafari message and you will be amazed. Truly pleasing to Heart and Soul. GO DEH!!