Album review
Word Sound & Power
Macka B
Jet Star
April 4, 2005

Tracking list

  1. Word Sound & Power
  2. Mi Noh Bizniz
  3. Gandja Ladies
  4. Jamaican
  5. Good Good People
  6. Whe Dem Deh feat. Freddie McGregor
  7. Far Away From Babylon feat. Queen Omega
  8. Musical Liberation feat. Bounty Hunter
  9. Children Children
  10. Those Days
  11. Stop Fight Rastafari
  12. Step Up
  13. When U Get It feat. Rasites
  14. Hail Up
  15. Racism
  16. Giving Praise
  17. Rastaman
  18. Deep Bass Voice
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 3 Backing : 3 Production : 3 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 5

The album opens with "Word Sound and Power", a powerful rhythm, built on one of those "b" lines Channel 1 were making just before digital took over -- sparse and lean with fragmented synth stabs, like the old Style Scott/Michael Palmer discomix "Modelling Girl" from circa '84. The rhythm is built by Crucial Tony Phillips, one of the foundation corner stones of the original ONU Sound team back in the late 70's/early 80's.

"Good Good People" is built around a digital snare, eerie synth hook and an upful lyric -- "How come everybody wants to be a bad boy " Macka mockingly chastises in this pertinent lyric. "We should big up the good people in the communities, the ones that know we have responsibilities,the ones that try their best to make changes,the ones who try to make it better than how it is. Don't you see how the media just want to big up badness" he continues.

"Whe Dem Deh" features Freddie McGregor over a binghi paced rhythm from Mafia and Fluxy. "When will people realise they can see with their open eyes" chants Freddie in this conscious invocation.

"Musical Liberation" is a hammering version of Daweh Congo's/Cave Crew/Gussie P's powerful "Iration" tune from the late 90's. It features DJ Hunta, who chants in a harsh Anthony B style.

"Step Up" is driven by a falling syn drum tone and a lyric emphasising higher aspirations: "Step up! Stop wasting your time, just move up to higher heights and step up. Climb up everybody and try to progress with righteousness. Look at your life if it's in a mess, and step up. This is no time to jest. "

"Hail Up" is Macka B's bashment paced chant but inna conscious style -- "Too much screw face in the place. People have to start hailing up each other. This is more than just a new dance -- this is communication."

"Racism" is a re-cut of an old Burning Spear tune from the "Marcus Garvey" period, built by Cave crew and ex Creation Rebel, Tony Phillips.

In "Rastaman" Macka showcases his command of poetics and pertinent narrative "I won't partake in their ideology. Get to know yourself . Solve your own mystery. Going against ( the worlds' ) flow takes a lot of bravery. Break the cycle."

This album features a serious all star cast : Jazzwad, Crucial Tony Phillips, Mafia and Fluxy, Cave Crew , Bigga Morrison, Bubblers, Sly and Robbie, Dean Fraser, Bammie Rose, Winston Francis and Black Steel. But it must be said, the focus of this album is very much on the lyrical content -- Judging from such an impressive cast of singers and players and producers, one would expect heavyweight drum and bass, but it is not really the case.

Having said that, the intention of this album is obviously the message -- Macka B's lyrical metaphor and narrative -- and the album delivers in that respect.

If you are looking for intelligent lyrics and uplift rather than pounding, original beats, this is an album worth checking out.

Professor Barnabas