Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Self-Reliance
Hi Kee
Truesounds
CD
April 2, 2011

Hi Kee Track list
  1. Woman Of Virtue
  2. Goodness Gracious
  3. Higher Heights
  4. Give Jah Thanks And Praise
  5. Kutchie Cup
  6. Pretty Like Gold
  7. Catch Up The Fire feat. Mykal Rose
  8. Fire Blaze
  9. You Shouldn´t Do It
  10. Better Love
  11. Self Reliance
  12. Babylon Your System Collapse feat. Luciano & Brigadier Jerry
  13. Signs Of The Time
  14. Rasta Love Nice
  15. Refugee feat. Sophia Squire
  16. Stress Free
Rate this album!
Cast your vote below.

Essential -Votes: 7-
Very Good -Votes: 3-
Good -Votes: 2-
Average -Votes: 0-
Disappointing -Votes: 0-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 0-

Total votes : 12
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Jamaican artist Hi Kee -- currently residing in Catania, Sicily (Italy) -- is a rather unknown name in the international reggae scene. He grew up in a small community called 'Pepper District' in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, and gained experience by building his own songs and DJ-ing on local sound systems like Tic Tac, Hi Grade CD Sound, Cosmic and Revelation Sound. His first song called "Pretty like Gold" was recorded in a studio in Mandeville/Manchester, Jamaica, in 2004, and although the tune received airplay throughout Jamaican radio stations it wasn't released on 7" vinyl due to due to lack of funds and knowledge.

However, Hi Kee continued to search for partners to produce his music and in doing so, he became educated about the Jamaican reggae industry. He has performed in lots of studios and countless stage shows all over the Island. In January 2009 he signed with LT International, an artist management company, and since working together, Hi Kee has recorded quite a few singles, most of them gathered on this debut album called "Self-Reliance". So it's obvious that a variety of production houses are on board including Finnish label Maasto Records, Bassrunner Productions and House of Riddim from Austria, Germany's Rootdown Music, New Zealand's Reality Chant Productions, The Scrucialists from Switzerland, and Westmoreland based Highlight Records.

The album kicks off with Hi Kee's first single, "Woman Of Virtue". The latter is a fine effort which he recorded for the a Finnish label Maasto Records. It's followed by his second single called "Goodness Gracious" on the "Kings Highway" riddim, released by New Zealand's Reality Chant Productions. But things really get started with "Higher Heights", a solid tune from the same production house, for which Hi Kee's utilizes a vocal style strongly reminiscent of Prezident Brown. He continues to do so for the next track, the standout "Give Jah Thanks And Praise", and the majority of the tracks to come. We don't have a problem with that as Prezident Brown has been one of our favourite artists since he emerged in the mid-90s.

"Kutchie Cup" is a nice ganja tune, which was released as a single by the Westmoreland based Highlight Records, but it is outmatched by the great "Pretty Like Gold", actually the first tune he ever recorded. The song is underpinned by a modern roots riddim with just the right amount of horns built by The Scucialists, and after Ginjah's killer "Unification" from 2005 on the riddim, it's a joy to hear Hi Kee delivering his insightful lyrics over this awesome backdrop. "Fire Blaze" is a roots winner across the mighty "Prison Break" riddim for Bassrunner Productions. Next drop two tunes, the decent "You Shouldn't Do It" and the above par "Better Love", in which Hi Kee asks for treating your woman nicely. "Self-Reliance", a lyrical statement for the independence of the individual and their daily struggle with all aspects of life, belongs to the standouts, and so does the wicked "Signs Of The Time". The infectious Ska-fueled "Stress Free" on Rootdown Records' "Kookoo" riddim rounds off Hi Kee's debut album in fine style.

So far we haven't mentioned the three combination tunes, but that doesn't imply that they should be ignored. On the contrary... In particular the collaborations with Michael Rose (the awesome "Catch Up The Fire") and then Luciano & Brigadier Jerry (the outstanding "Babylon Your System Collapse") are entertaining efforts and truly worth giving them a spin more than once. Also "Refugee" on the "Tek A Train" riddim, done in combination with Sophia Squire, is a well done collaboration, although it doesn't reach the heights of the other two pairings.

All in all this is a worthwhile debut from a new voice fresh out of Jamaica! Recommended to check him out.