Raised By The People
Machete Music - Cinco Por Cinco
May 22, 2006

Track list
  1. Intro / Hay Que Bueno
  2. Dale Pa' Tra (Back It Up)
  3. Algarete
  4. Guaya Guaya
  5. Que Te Pica
  6. Layaway Love
  7. Rosalinda
  8. Taramelo
  9. Tocame
  10. Mas De Ti
  11. Ella Se Fue
  12. Castigo
  13. No Problema
  14. Jah Mexi Cali
  15. Mano Y Mano
    Bonus Tracks
  16. Verme (Carribean Mix) feat. Baby Ranks & Jabba
  17. Chevere (Remix) feat. Voltio
  18. Bailar Reggae
  19. Bun Out Bad Mind
  20. (Open Invitation Track For The People) Hay Que Bueno Remix
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 4 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4/5
Former Born Jamericans vocalist Norman Howell a.k.a. Notch together with Edley Shine formed that dynamic hip hop-reggae duo, releasing two very successful albums on Delicious Vinyl ("Kids From Foreign" in 1994 and "Yardcore" in 1997, before Notch decided to branch out on his own after more than 5 years in 1998. He's since been voicing brilliant tunes over hardcore dancehall riddims, but also branched out voicing brilliant tunes "The Richest Man in Babylon" and in 2005 "Amerimacka" for lounge/downtempo duo Thievery Corporation, releasing roots-reggae and reggaetón tunes as well over these last couple of years. And now his (long-overdue) debut album "Raised By The People" has been released last year on his own Cinco Por Cinco label in collaboration with major Univeral's Machete Music susidiary. And kicked off by the "Intro" seguing into "Hay Qué Bueno", the Puerto Rican DJ Blass reggaetón remix of the tune Notch recorded in 2002 over the still recognizable 'Outlaw'-riddim by Robert 'Dubwize' Browne, followed by the by Napoles produced "Dale Pa Tra (Back It Up)" it's into the very impressive by Stephen 'Di Genius' McGregor for his Big Ship produced dark hardcore dancehall/reggaetón hybrid of his 'Power Cut'-riddim for "Algarete". Almost all tunes on this album have had more than fine additional (vocal) production by Pedro 'SP' Solanco for his SP Music / Scarlito Ent.

"Guaya Guaya", produced by DJ Blass is pure reggaetón again, but "Que Te Pica" produced by Laden is clearly more merengue than reggaetón influenced and Black Chiney's Supa Dups also digs into merengue territory for his production of "Layaway Love" in which the melody of Calixto Ochoa Campos & Wilfredo Martinez Matos' "El Africano" is used, before the smootch-voiced singer Notch delivers the wonderful reggaetón lovers ballad "Rosalinda" for Chasebeats & Eli Rivera's Xquiste Music Productions. "Traemolo", driven by a heavy bassline, produced by Jose '2 Ton' Batista and co-produced by Supa Dups alongside Khan is like the DJ Blass produced "Tocame" pure reggaetón, before Alex Torres, leader of the 13 piece NY based latin-orchestra carrying his name, takes over for the production of "Mas De Ti" based on and containing a sample of the urban-gospel original "Under The Influence" by Anointed's Mark Heimermann. Black Chiney's Supa Dups is again at the controls this together with Notch himself for the great Fania salsa styled "Ella Se Fue" with beautiful piano by Efrain Davila and horns by Kenneth 'Scooter' Wahlum III, Keyon Harrold & Saunders 'Slide' Sermons, all in Notch' mix (like his vocal style influenced by his admiration for Pinchers) of 'Spatoinglish', his blend of Spanish, Patois and the 'Queen's English', resulting in yet another irresistable latin tune.

"Castigo" is dominated by Pedro Lopez' beautiful accordion playing lending this song, produced by Toy Hernandes for his Sones Del Mexside alongside DJ Blass a true Mexican vibe, followed by the Supa Dups & Khan produced "No Problema", that not only uses a sample of Ray Barretto's 1968 (Fania) tune "Acid", but throughout Notch' lyrics are delivered using the melody of Horace Andy's " Girl I Love You". The rootsy yet mexican trumpet dominated ganja tune "Jah Mexi Cali" produced by J. Marty for Beat Doctorz LLC is followed by the spanish guitar coloured Supa Dups production "Mano Y Mano" finishing the regular CD. On the first bonus track his hit tune in the Spanish speaking North & Middle America's "Verme (Carribean Mix)" alongside Baby Ranks & Massive B's Jabba can be heard, followed by the "Chevere (Remix)" (by Supa Dups & Eli Rivera) alongside reggaetón superstar Voltio and the excellent "Bailar Reggae" over a Lu Tek arrangement of Jammy 'Jam 2' James' 'Arriba'-riddim. The only true hardcore dancehall scorcher featured on this album is "Bun Out Bad Mind" over Supa Dups' 'Drumline'-riddim, before the wicked "Hay Que Bueno (Remix)" over a rearranged version of M.I.M.S.' "This Is Why I'm Hot" with a Mexican trumpet added closes this very entertaining debut album by Notch. Surely worth checking, even if the 'reggaetón'-stamp would normally turn you off there's a big chance you'll still more than appreciate this "Raised By The People" album and if reggaetón doesn't turn you off, there's all the more reason to get this album. (Not to mention that I still hope for two more Notch albums, one compiling his dancehall tunes after going solo and one collecting his downtempo/nu-dub/roots songs.)