Photo by Big Magazine and Storm Saulter.
Jesse Royal is equal parts revival and reinterpretation on Royally Speaking, a new hour-long mix released through Major Lazer and affiliate Walshy Fire. The St. James-born, Kingston-raised singer rides skanks and riddims as often as he interpolates American hip-hop. Tracks like “Modern Day Judas,” “Clear My Head” and “Butterflies” posits Royal as a preserver of roots reggae, while a three-song stretch of “Good Morning,” “D.O.A (Dreaming of Africa)” and “Baby Let Me Be” samples Arrested Development, Lil Wayne and Common, respectively. But the theme throughout the project is patience; Royal’s restrained lyrics touch on eventual liberation from various vices and oppressors. “Slowly but surely you get your portion,” he wails on the mix’s midway point. Though many of the songs have been previously released, Royally Speaking blends as a smooth introduction to the reggae artist.
Download: Jesse Royal’s Royally Speaking Mixtape