Modern Roots
Norris Man
Nordic Steel
July 23, 2012

Track list
  1. Dutty Babylon
  2. King Of Your Soul
  3. My Lady
  4. The Youths Of Today feat. Advance
  5. For You
  6. Give Thanks For Your Love
  7. The Crown Of True Glory
  8. End Of Your Days
  9. The Lion And The Lamb feat. Rebellious
  10. Caesar's Place
  11. Make The World Go Right
  12. Gimmi The Weed
  13. Cyan Diss Rastaman
  14. I'm My Own President feat. Iman Russ
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 3/4 Production : 3/4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
In March 2000 VP Records released Norris Man's debut album "Persistence", which featured some of the artist's hottest singles like "Bad Road", "Let Jah Lead The Way", "Hold On To Your Faith" and the title track "Persistence" just to name a few. The album got good reviews and it was even said that... "Persistence is destined to be a classic album and Norris Man a legend." During the following years Norris Man experienced that, despite being very talented, it ain't easy to become a real driving force in reggae music. After the solid "Persistence" set, the man with the soothing yet spiritually enlightening voice released 7 full length albums of varied quality of which the acclaimed "Home & Away" (Greensleeves 2006) and the overlooked "Cultura" (Isalyeikie Productions 2006) were Norris Man's most consistent sets.

After his 2008 released album "Know The Road" on the Lustre Kings label, not that much was heard from the cultural artist until early 2012 Swedish label and producer team Nordic Steel announced the release of a new Norris Man album called "Modern Roots". Christopher Campbell aka Norris Man spent some time in Sweden between 2011-2012, where he met up with his long time friend (and nephew of Bounty Killer) Omar "Advance' Williams, who was in the final stages of his own album "Game Over" with Nordic Steel. While in Nordic Steel studio Norris Man recorded the tune "Give Thanks For Your Love" on a still to be released riddim called "Blinded". He kept coming to the studio and recorded on anything Nordic Steel gave him, and so they formed the album "Modern Roots".

Nordic Steel consists of three members - Henrik "Spitfyah" Persson, Jens "Jatrix" Landegren and Iman "Russ" Esmaeilpour. Spitfyah was brought together with Jatrix and Iman Russ through now internationally known artist Million Stylez around the year 2000. At the time Million Stylez, Jatrix and Iman just came out of the hiphop group Soundaddicts, and Spitfyah came out of being a selector together with the now well known Dj Flash out of Stockholm Sweden. Soon after they formed the Nordic Steel producer team, while Million Stylez countinued as artist on his own road. Nordic Steel has since worked closely with artists like Jah Knight, Rebellious, Richie Riott, Munga, Turbulence, T.O.K., Ce'Cile and more.

"Modern Roots" contains different musical styles, from roots to dancehall to hiphop, which gives Norris Man the opportunity to stretch his style. Unfortunately there are several efforts included here which make clear that this doesn't have to be an advantage. The album opener, "Dutty Babylon", comes on a riddim with a hiphop vibe and definitely needs several spins to appreciate it more than expected after first listening. "King Of Your Soul" is an awesome modern roots piece with Norris Man vocally and lyrically at his very best. This one -- along with "The Youths Of Today" (done in combination with Advance), the beautiful "The Crown Of True Glory", the matching "End Of Your Days", the great "Caesar's Place", and the combination with Rebellious called "The Lion And The Lamb" -- surely belongs to the standout efforts.

Although about 9 out of 14 tracks range from decent to great, overall opinion is that this album lacks consistency to cause real excitement.