The Rootz Warrior
Warrior King
Rootz Warrior Productions / Irie Sounds International
Digital Release
April 14, 2016

Track list
  1. His Majesty (He's Worthy)
  2. Stand Up In The Fyah
  3. Rastafari Protect I
  4. Ain't Giving Up
  5. Heartbreaker feat. Richie Spice
  6. Your Love Is Amazing
  7. I Wouldn't Do That feat. Beres Hammond
  8. President Yahya Jammeh
  9. The One For Me (Acoustic Mix)
  10. Same Source
  11. Moonlight Bright
  12. Watching You
  13. Greater
  14. Sign Of The Times (Swab Dubstep Mix)
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Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Shortly after the start of the new millennium, Warrior King (born Mark Dyer) appeared out of the blue and set off a collective "Shuba Shuba" craze with his hit "Virtuous Woman" within the worldwide reggae community. His 2002 debut album with the same name as his successful debut single immediately came up trumps with the classic title track and other solid tunes including the terrific "Never Go Where Pagans Go" and such chart toppers as "Jah Is Always There", "Rough Road" and "Empress So Divine". But then things, astonishingly, went quiet. He disappeared from view as suddenly as he had turned up.

It wasn't until the release of his 2005 album, the autobiographical "Hold The Faith", that he again started to attract attention. It then took four years before the follow up album, "Love Is in The Air", was released, measured against Jamaican standards a very long time. Compared with his previous albums, Warrior King and reggae fans didn't have to wait that long for his fourth studio album ("Tell Me How Me Sound") to hit the streets. All in all it's obvious that Warrior King built his good reputation with quality, not quantity, as it took him almost five years to come up with his long-awaited new album called "The Rootz Warrior".

Executively produced by Warrior King under the Rootz Warrior Productions label and James 'Dr. Suess' Lord of Irie Sounds International, the 14-track "The Rootz Warrior" features musicians such as Computer Paul, Kirk Bennett, Everton Pryce, Lamont Savory, Dean Fraser, Nambo Robinson, Hopeton Wiliams and Sly & Robbie alongside guest producers Colin 'Bulby' York, Sheldon 'Calibud' Stewart, Crawba Genius, One Blood, Category 5 and the brothers Sam and Joe Hitchcock out of New Orleans.

The riddims here, a mixture of fresh originals and relicks of all-time scorchers like Israel Vibration's "Rudeboy Shufflin", Ernest Wilson's "I Know Myself", The Three Tops' "You Should Have Known" and Keith & Tex's "Tonight", are played by real musicians, which does the singer's warm-hearted and genuine lyrics justice. Lyrically the songs featured here deal with cultural and romantic issues. Things get started with "His Majesty (He's Worthy)", an impressive ode to Haile Selassie delivered across a flute dominated nyahbinghi riddim. The message conveyed by this tune is as crystal clear as the singer's voice, the vibe as serene as it is enthralling. A great opener that preceeds the solid roots & culture single from 2012 "Stand Up In The Fyah", the truly excellent "Rastafari Protect I" and "Ain't Giving Up", a song that urges fellow Rastafarians to keep the faith, especially in times of struggle. Other tunes full of consciousness that are also worth hearing are "Same Source", a call for unification, and "Greater", which deals with black pride and the competitive world... "Anything that you can do, Rasta can do it too and do it greater, greater and greater". However, these two tracks are outmatched by the superb "I Wouldn't Do That", which sees Warrior King teaming up with Beres Hammond on a reworking of the latter's 1996 single for the Fat Eyes label. A critical note has to be made about the next track, "President Yahya Jammeh". What went through Warrior King's mind to include a tune that hails up this president of Gambia as a great leader, a 'freedom fighter'? How can you write a song about someone and not seeking knowledge about this person, who according to facts that can be traced and checked is nothing less than a criminal, a despot, a dictator? Inexplicable!!!

The first lovers piece to come up on this album is the decent "Heartbreaker", a tune done in collaboration with Richie Spice. It's followed by "Your Love Is Amazing" on Irie Sounds International's "In Love" riddim, one of Warrior King's many real nice love songs for the Empresses, the Queens, the Ladies. The acoustic "The One For Me" features Steven Henry on guitar and is a love song of sheer beauty. Musically "Moonlight Bright" sounds real good, but in the end lyrically it isn't that interesting. Luckily it's followed by the Computer Paul produced "Watching You", which makes a far better impression, not least thanks to the strength of the revitalized "You Should Have Known" riddim. The album closer, "Sign Of The Times (Swab Dubstep Mix)", is the only track to break the album's otherwise uniform mold.

"The Rootz Warrior" is a fully convincing follow-up album to Warrior King's previously released sets and arguably his best work to date.