Born A King
May 4, 2014
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3/4|
Hot on the heels of the VP Records released Sizzla compilation "Radical", a set of rare and previously unreleased Phillip 'Fatis' Burrell produced Sizzla tunes from the period 1992-2003, there's a brand new album called "Born A King" that hits the streets. The albums from Sizzla's vast catalogue that are produced by a producer from outside Jamaica can be counted on the fingers of one hand and so it's justified to state that this Mista Savona produced collection of tunes is a rare event.
We first heard of Australian producer, musician, songwriter and engineer Jake Savona aka Mista Savona in 2011, when France based Soulbeats Records put out an excellent sampler entitled "Mista Savona Presents Warn The Nation". This album included Sizzla's outstanding tune "Why Does The World Cry", delivered over an awesome refurnished version of Studio One's classic "Drum Song" riddim, which was given a Middle Eastern flavor to top it off. That tune now returns in all its glory on "Born A King", a well varied album with some truly glorious moments not least due to Mista Savona being a producer with an open and creative musical mind, who unlike many Jamaican producers isn't afraid to go beyond the boundaries of what commonly is qualified as true reggae/dancehall music. However, this doesn't imply that musically Mista Savona goes in a totally different direction. Tunes such as for example the album opener and title track "Born A King", "I'm Living" and the aforementioned "Why Does The World Cry" incorporate enough elements that are rooted in reggae music, but here they are used in a refreshing way.
"Born A King", with a short nyabinghi intro and rockers style drumming, is a great opener with Sizzla spitting his fiery lyrics over a compelling riddim. It's followed by one of four combination tunes, the "Champion Sound", a truly remarkable tune featuring veteran singer Errol Dunkley, which although the title suggests otherwise isn't a soundbwoy tune. This one is a real killer!! Next comes "Blessed", a dancehall song with a driving riddim and seamless blending of bhangra, dancehall and hip-hop elements, creating a completely different vibe than the previous two tracks. "Blessed", actually one of the first songs recorded for this album, earlier appeared on the third installment of preview EP's to this album.
After the "Interlude" drops "I'm Living", a song of sheer beauty delivered by Sizzla at his very best. It's obvious that the riddim with its real nice melodica parts must have inspired him to the max. Can't get enough of the song and its riddim!! It's simply great to hear it over and over again!! This can also be said about the matching "Why Does The World Cry" and "Give Jah Praise", which sees Sizzla excel alongside the late great Alton Ellis, whose contribution is limited to a few lines from the singer's "Chant Rasta Sound" (included on "Mista Savona Presents Warn The Nation"). Worthy acoustic versions of "Got What It Takes" and "I'm Living" round off an all in all astonishing collection of Sizzla tunes.
"Born A King" has great depth, with Sizzla regularly outdoing himself, for which credits have to be given to Mista Savona.