Heartbeat Europe
December 2, 2007

Track list
  1. Tivie
  2. Sergent 2 Togo
  3. Faya Burn
  4. Crying
  5. Free Your Mind
  6. Bruits De Bottes
  7. Aïe feat. Dezunam
  8. Oussabe
  9. Rant De Choses
  10. Ain't No Sunshine
  11. Death Row
  12. Nyabinghi
  13. In The Place
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 3/4 Production : 3/4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
African artist Kajeem (born in 1969 in Treichville, Abidjan, Ivory Coast) delivers a new cd entitled "Positif", actually his fourth full length album ("N'Gowa", "Revelation Time", and "La Voix Du Ciel") being its predecessors) and, to our knowledge, the first one that gets an European release.

While listening to an album from an African reggae artist it's quite often we get mixed feelings, and Kajeem's "Positif" is no exception. One of our main objections is the language in which they perform their songs. Only very few (think the late Lucky Dube) utilize proper English, but most of the times African artists deliver their lyrics in French, in their native language, or, indeed, in English, but the latter is sometimes hard to understand because of a typical accent and bad pronunciation. Furthermore they fuse reggae with African music, which sometimes is a real "hit or miss" thing.

On this set Kajeem expresses himself in French, English, Spanish and Baoulé, his native language, which makes it impossible to understand what he's singing about when you don't master these languages. A minus because lyrics are an important part of conscious (reggae) music. Musically it's something else. Kajeem possesses a powerful, distinctive voice which sometimes casts a spell and throughout blends very well with the variety of riddims laid by real musicians. He can handle a roots reggae song with ease as he proves with e.g. "Sergent 2 Togo", which comes across a remarkable reworking of Bob Marley's "Heathen" riddim. But also dancehall oriented tunes such as "Faya Burn" and "Oussabé", as well as the hip hop effort "Bruits De Bottes", he performs seemingly effortless.

All in all a nice album, but due to the language problem only accessible for a small audience.