Album review
Red Alert
Charm-Jet Star
December 29, 2003

Tracking list

  1. Your Love Is
  2. Life
  3. Beautiful
  4. Bring Your Lovin'
  5. Slew Them
  6. Love You
  7. Burn The Herb
  8. Stay Clean
  9. Better Tomorrow
  10. Alert
  11. First Thing
  12. Boom Boom
  13. Long Way
  14. Blessing
  15. Shi Want Mi
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Sizzla is already a reggae icon with nearly twenty albums to his name, all unleashed in the past ten years. The story of Sizzla, real name Miguel Collins, is now too well-known to repeat here, but rest assured he didn't have it easy when first starting out from August Town, near Kingston, and before recording breakthrough albums for ace producers Phillip "Fatis" Burrell ("Praise Ye Jah") and Bobby Digital ("Black Woman & Child"). Since his emergence in the mid-nineties his distinctive singjay lyrics have dominated the dancehalls. But towards the new millennium his lyrics started to cause more than their share of controversy as he began to juggle more worldly lyrics with his fiery brand of roots, reality and culture material. Meanwhile Sizzla also started to voice over a diverse range of backdrops for a variety of producers, as if testing his abilities at every turn. However, long-time fans and reggae connoisseurs alike strongly expressed doubts about Sizzla's vocal and lyrical delivery underpinned by hardcore dancehall beats. Nevertheless he continued to explore a wealth of different styles. "Red Alert", the brand new Sizzla selection from Jet Star, is probably a good representative of his more recent career, since it features prime examples of his current outings. This cd contains fifteen tracks - previously only available on import 7" single - recorded for producers such as Leroy "Sugar Roy" Moore, Clive Kennedy, Steely & Clevie, Glenis Gooden, D. McMurray and Delon Reid. Many mainly dancehall tracks are featured here including the wicked "Love You" over Fireball's "Ranchik" riddim, the explosive "Slew Them", the awesome "Alert" and the ferocious weed song "Burn The Herb". Here you'll also find controversial efforts like First Thing" (..."First thing, woman haffi gimme pum-pum..") and the homophobic tune "Boom Boom". Sizzla can be captured in fine form on excellent tunes that trace back a path to the past like e.g. the album opener "Your Love Is", "Life", "Blessing", "Stay Clean" and "Beautiful", the latter on an update of the old Techniques riddim "I'm In The Mood For Love". Roots music in its purest form can be heard when playing the superb "Long Way" (aka "African Children"), which finds Sizzla chanting over nyahbinghi drums and flute.
"Red Alert" is worthwhile checking out, particularly if you want to experience the versatility of Sizzla.

Teacher & Mr. T.