A Jr. Gong thing again. His new 45 “Holiday” just struck me because compared with the Nas collabo I ran a few weeks ago, it really shows how versatile he’s gotten since Halfway Tree. The hook, even though it’s powerful, sets you up you for the standard (insert first name) Marley tribute to Bob band-style vocal. But then the riddim cuts out and you just hear Saddam throat cut off/ The dollars ting go soft in a straight Supercat, Warning! Warning, ducking bottles at Sting circa 1991 flow. I could spend some time breaking that down several ways—for one, as a measure of ‘Cat’s still-crazy influence. It could be enough that the two top selling reggae artists in the world—Damian and Sean Paul—both owe the largest part of their swagger to you. But when Bob Marley’s heir is looking at you as the blueprint to update his father’s vision for the 21st century, that’s big.
Serious One Drop Blend:
Damian Marley, “Holiday”
Collie Buddz, “Serious”
Vybz Kartel f. Gaza Kim, “Teenage Pregnancy”
Jahdan f. 77Klash, “She Said”
Download: Ghetto Palms One Drop Blend
On the other hand, Marley doesn’t just ride the old-time deejay train but hits a different style and pitch on every verse, while staying in rainbow country on the hook while always managing to sound like himself. Collie Buddz pulls a similar trick on “Serious,” channeling a Barrington/Michigan & Smiley era bounce while still remaining totally current and original. But that’s kind of his thing. More surprising is Vybz Kartel singing his heart out over slo-mo Clocktower drums on “Teenage Pregnancy,” anchored by the total rawness of Gaza Kim’s answering vocal. Auto-tune dies another little death every time a tune like this releases.
Which brings us to Jahdan and 77Klash, “She Said.” I’ve been a Klash and JD fan for years and yet a tune like this makes me feel like I’ve been sleeping all along. Total genius, 2000tone to the core, this is the punky lover’s rock anthem fools have been trying to make for years, like U2 Rattle and Hum type power chords, put through the Sleng Teng machine. Even the writing and vocal delivery has a sort of Cure-ish, John Hughes movie appeal to it. Jahdan does the bloodclat thing but you can just tell from the Scallawah feel of the bassline that Klash was involved in the building of the riddim as well as the furious chat attack.