Various artists album review
Riddim Driven ~ Lion Paw
VP Records-Walboomers Music
February 7, 2004

Tracking list

  1. Hail Rastafari - Morgan Heritage
  2. It's Gonna Be More Terrible - Richie Spice
  3. My Life - Warrior King
  4. I Will Survive - Turbulence
  5. Stop Your Bad Mind - Nadine Sutherland
  6. Asking For A Love - Maria
  7. Searching For A Love - Jah Cure
  8. Treat Her Like A Lady - Natural Black
  9. Don't Wait - Chezidek
  10. Only Jah - Bushman
  11. Equal Rights - Luciano
  12. Jah Jah World - Anthony B
  13. Can't See Me - Chuck Fender
  14. The Prayer - Brian and Tony Gold
  15. Lion Paw Version - Mikael 'Mikey John' Johnson
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

VP Records, after scoring with the 'I Swear'-riddim from Fifth Element Productions and recently with Stephen 'Gibbo' Gibson's 'Hard Times'-riddim in their Riddim Driven series, now release Michael 'Mikey John' Johnson's latest riddim for his Lion Paw label as the next roots/one-drop installment in this successful one riddim series. Lion Paw made it into the big league in 2001, when Warrior King topped all reggae charts worldwide with "Virtuous Woman" delivered across a revitalized version of Culture's 'Zion Gate'-riddim, picked as the second riddim early 2002 featured in Jet Star's Riddim Rider series as "Trod'n To Zion". The successing 'Tribal War'-riddim in 2003 was an excellent roots excursion as well, and here comes another wonderful collection of roots tunes on the riddim Lion Paw released in the fall of last year. Strangely enough, this compilation is not named after the riddim, but after Mikey John's label Lion Paw. It might be VP Records' policy as a NYC label to avoid being drawn into controversy because of the name of the riddim, as the appropriate name of the riddim stems from the lyrics of Richie Spice's tune, and is worldwide known as the 'Nine Eleven'-riddim. A great roots riddim, just listen to the fabulous bass, and the at times mid 70s Bob Marley & the Wailers guitar in the background, with superb tunes on it. Morgan Heritage start to give us the strong "Hail Rastafari" with beautiful harmonies, before Richie Spice's "It's Gonna Be More Terrible" than the great nine eleven bombing which is an apocalyptic warning, not some extremist's call to arms, as eleborated in one of the next lines it's gonna be more terrible than the great ethiopian famine giving the riddim it's now replaced name. Warrior King shows he has lost nothing of his "Virtuous Woman" magic in the upful "My Life" is my life / i only got one life to life / i&i will live it upright / regardless of the circumstances. One of the best singjays currently around i.e. Turbulence delivers the great conscious "I Will Survive" with female backing vocals reminiscent of those Fifth Element Productions used for most of the 'I Swear'-voicings. The great underrated and underrecorded Nadine Sutherland delivers the absolutely smashing "Stop Your Bad Mind", followed by another excelling female singer, Maria with her "Asking For Love" thanking baby, i asked heaven for a love / and they sent you / you're so beautiful and true / now i know just what to do. Jah Cure delivers a wicked piece of Lovers Rock with i've been "Searching For A Girl" like you and like earlier on the 'Tribal War'-riddim Natural Black delivers a tune for the ladies as well with his "Treat Her Like A Lady" that is strictly more (well) sung than DJ-ed. Chezidek's "Don't Wait" (too long) warning a girl not to take too long, promising i'll wait just as long as you don't let me wait forever, before the lyrical focus is back at consciousness for sound-alikes Bushman and Luciano with their "Only Jah" can save the day and the even stronger "Equal Rights" by the latter and Anthony B's fierce "Jah Jah World". Chuck Fender proves on "Can't See Me" that he might often be just discarded as the opportunist saving his career by joining the Fifth Element Crew, but surely has a delivery making him a force to be taken into account. Great singers Brian & Tony Gold deliver praises to the heavenly Father in the superb "The Prayer", producer Mikey John's "Lion Paw Version" show how well built and produced this riddim is. A riddim that is amongst the better (in a year that had a flood of good) roots riddims of 2004, with only strong tunes on it, and it feels like a mishap that the other strong tunes on this riddim by Ultimates Shines and Blu Fox have not been included on this album. Nevertheless, everyone who enjoyed listening to the 'Hard Times'- and 'I Swear'-riddims knows "Lion Paw a.k.a. Nine Eleven" is the next riddim he must obtain.


/ Souljah Green Beret Productions