Reggae music has seen a proliferation of compilation albums in recent years,
often featuring numerous artists singing over only on or two riddims. Greensleeves'
Rhythm Album series is one such example, having released more than 16 such albums in the
span of less than one year. More times than not, these compilations fall flat with their
unremarkable computerized rhythms or artists whose conventional chants and lyrics render
one song indistinguishable from the next.
A big exception to this trend is the newest release
from Strong Foundation records, "Jah
Love". This album features a dozen roots artists skillfully singing
and toasting over several well-rounded and meticulously crafted drum and bass selections.
After listening to just a couple of bars from the opening track, listeners will
immediately know that the producers invested a great deal of time and energy, giving the
album its wonderful vibe.
The album contains selections by well know conscious
roots performers such as Yami Bolo, Sugar
Minott, Norris Man, Rocker-T
and Daweh Congo, along with selections by newer artists
like Fiji, Ipa and Natty Bi.
Each of the singers appearing on this album
obviously labored to distinguish their song and to capture a genuine feel for that artist.
My favorite selections are Yami Bolo's "Jah
Love Is Always There", Daweh Congo's "Jah Name",
and Rocker-T's "Fiyah Dem", followed closely
by the Norris Man and Ras Shiloh
songs. In fact, every selection on this album has caught my attention at some point or
other, which is why Jah Love is the very first compilation album ever to
reach the number one position on Ireggae's Top Ten. Big up to Strong
Foundation for this crucial release, and for making it available on vinyl as a
double album for the DJ massive.