Album review
Now That I Am Here
TOPP Entertainment / Warner Music Germany

Tracking list

  1. Prelude
  2. Skit
  3. Whatever You Want
  4. Hot Girls featuring General Degree
  5. From The Moment... featuring Lady Saw
  6. From The Moment... (Coda) featuring Lady Saw
  7. Highssgeliebtes Gras featuring D-Flame
  8. Here For You
  9. Questions featuring Vanessa Mason
  10. Skit
  11. Dolly featuring D-Flame
  12. Living In The City
  13. Skit
  14. Chee Woee featuring Jah Meek
  15. Long Time Ago
  16. We Nah... featuring Gentleman & Daddy Rings
  17. Skit
  18. I & I featuring Max & Afrob
  19. Pick Dem (When Dem Ripe) featuring Harry Toddler
  20. Skit
  21. Loud featuring Spectacular
  22. Waterloo
  23. My Oh My featuring Lexxus
  24. Be Who You Are featuring Richie Stephens
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3

At the end of the nineties the German reggae/dancehall scene saw the rise of its own stars with Gentleman being the first to have a serious impact in his homeland, and also abroad. The next up-and-coming star is named Tolga (who did some noteworthy collaborations with Gentleman), who has managed to get a major deal with Warner Music Germany for the release of his debut album "Now That I Am Here". Grown up in Waldorf near Frankfurt Tolga actually started his career as a dancer and rapper with the hiphop collective Progressive. In 1994 Tolga meets Jah Meek - a Jamaican roots singer who settled down in Germany - who plays an important role in his development as a singer. Jah Meek takes Tolga to Jamaica, for the first time in 1997, and from then Tolga gets more and more convinced that Dancehall is the musical style that fits him best. Back in Germany he gets linked up with the Pow Pow sound system, meets Gentleman and slowly starts to establish his name, mainly through such combination tunes like "Ready Fi Di Ride" with Gentleman and "Heat Of The Night" with Gentleman & Richie Stephens. Another combination with Gentleman entitled "Lion" actually marks the start of a fruitful association with his present producer Pionear. The latter is the driving force behind Tolga's debut album, which took approximately 18 months and several stays in Jamaica, before it was finished. Pionear not only produced the bulk of the material on "Now That I Am Here", but being a multi-instrumentalist gets also the credits for creating most of the fresh riddims on Tolga's fine debut set. On his debut set Tolga gets some help from topnotch Jamaican dancehall artists like General Degree, Lady Saw, Harry Toddler and Richie Stephens alongside German-based artists like D-Flame, Jah Meek and Max & Afrob. Besides the production skills of Pionear this album features production work from Richard "Shams" Browne ("Waterloo", the answer version to Goofy & Beenie Man's "Dark Glass" across the infectious "China Town" riddim), Lady Saw ("Long Time Ago" over the "Stallion" riddim) and Roger & Shorty (the wicked "We Nah").
"Now That I Am Here" is a well varied album with nuff entertaining efforts to put the repeat-function on your CD player in motion. Check for example the wicked combination with General Degree over the "Bitch" riddim entitled "Hot Girls", previously released on single. Also, "From The Moment", the Salsa-flavoured combination with dancehall diva Lady Saw, turns the heat up, as does "Whatever You Want" and Pick Dem (When Dem Ripe)" with Harry Toddler. More enjoyment is caused by the rootsy combination with his teacha Jah Meek entitled "Chee Woee", "Long Time Ago", "Waterloo", and the combination tunes "We Nah..." and "Be Who You Are".
A promising debut set, well worth checking out!

Teacher & Mr. T.