Album review
Rise To The Occasion

Tracking list

  1. Rise To The Occasion
  2. All Is Well
  3. Give Me A Try
  4. Give Praises
  5. The One
  6. Don't Trouble Us
  7. I Was Born
  8. It's Burning
  9. Nice & Lovely
  10. Know Yourself
  11. In The Mood
  12. Come On
  13. These Are The Days
  14. Fire Blaze
  15. Hype
  16. True Love
  17. All I Need
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Sizzla's fresh album "Rise To The Occasion" sees him largely teaming up with current hitmaker and thus one of the hottest producers in Jamaica, Donovan "Vendetta" Bennett, whose cutting edge productions for his own "Don Corleon" label on such riddims as "Mad Ants", "Krazy" and "Good To Go", have fueled many a crucial bashment session recently. Here Don Corleone utilizes his own musical talent and that of Paul "Teetimus" Edmund, Daniel "Blaxxx" Lewis, Paul "Wrongmove" Crosdale, Craig "Leftside" Parks, Nigel Staff, veteran guitarist Earl "Chinna" Smith and Shiah Coore (son of Third World member Cat Coore) to forge a set that first causes mixed feelings and then, in the end, proves that Sizzla has made a musical move that makes no sense. Sizzla emerged as a roots sensation in 1996 with his debut album "Burning Up" and then established himself as one of the most anticipated and best cultural chanters with an array of scorching sets in the second half of the nineties. Together with Jamaican artists such as Luciano and Anthony B, to name just two, Sizzla Kalonji became a major force in developing modern cultural music With the growing popularity of hardcore dancehall music in the next millennium, many cultural deejays - including Sizzla - jumped on the bandwagon in search of wider recognition and, in our opinion, an easy way of making money. However, it's a mistake trying to break such a fundementalist like Sizzla to a wider audience by making his music part of a world where long term musical values are put aside and imaginative, off-the-cuff creativity, and gratuitous excitement is the order of the day. Since his first hardcore outings his long-time fans have already made clear that they don't understand and appreciate it. And most likely his often fiery lyrics and mostly raw vocal delivery will annoy the majority of his desired new audience. Anyway, here Sizzla does his thing over a variety of original street beats including "Egyptian", "Mexican" and the earlier mentioned "Mad Ants" and "Good To Go". It's these kind of hit riddims, underpinning songs such as "All Is Well", "It's Burning", "Come On", "These Are The Days" and "Hype", that make "Rise To The Occasion" bad at times. Unfortunately most of the other tracks aren't just as good, although tunes like "Fire Blaze" and "I Was Born", the latter across the "Acoustic Soul" riddim, prove to be decent efforts too. At times this set really gets annoying in particular when you're treated to songs with a strong jazzy vibe like "Nice & Lovely", "Know Yourself" and "In The Mood".
Hopefully Sizzla very soon realizes that he's on the wrong track, otherwise he surely will lose a lot of devoted reggae fans!

Teacher & Mr. T.