Commanding seductive control over the music and the message, General Jah Mikey serves up a nourishing roots reggae release on his new album, Original Yard Food, produced by critically acclaimed Zion High Productions (6 months on Reggae Vibes Top 50 Album Chart with Glen Washington’s ‘Masterpiece’ 2012 album) and set to be released May 14 on the ZHP label. For those hungry for real reggae music, Original Yard Food showcases that authentic conscious roots sound, a powerful intersection between breezy lyrics and edgy riddim selections built by the Zion I Kings production team—Tippy I (I Grade Records), Jah D (Zion High Productions) and Moon (Lustre Kings)—or, on the other hand, hardcore message music matched by signature instrumental riffs played by Jamaica’s living legends like Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith (guitar), Dean Fraser (sax) and Nambo (trombone). The thirteen tracks on Original Yard Food include up to the time reggae one-drop riddims, electrifying deejay segments, dub breakdowns and even jazzy explorations. And here, General Jah Mikey’s husky tenor adds yet another layer of cool and deadly vibes producing a subtly sweet listening experience even on the most hard hitting reality tunes. Original Yard Food will be in stores and available via fine e-tailers everywhere courtesy of Independent Distribution Collective. For additional promotional materials please contact Joshua Chamberlain at [email protected].
Befitting the Rastafarian way, General Jah Mikey blesses the album with an ode to the ‘Most High’ on “Goodlife”. Indeed, layers of percussion (played by none other than VI reggae singer Ras Batch), bright chord progressions and a warm organ set a tone with nothing but good vibes. The vibes wheel and come again on “Hard Time Pressure”, where lyrics represent the flip side of a light, breezy steppers march led by Dean Fraser’s sax solo. Breezy or not, lyrics are serious business on Original Yard Food. “Love Yourself” leads with a chunky guitar but is made whole by the poetic ballad. And on “Set A Way” it’s easy to get caught up in Chinna Smith’s sweeping lead guitar or Nambo’s triumphant horn line but the lyrics are what urge people on, “So when you feel like running away, cant get a way, you cant run from reality”. Reality is the order of the day on the album’s first single, “Recession”, which matches a friendly melodica driven melody with the provoking parable of “the higher the monkey climbs, is the more he will expose”, driving the reality of the times home.
But don’t for a moment think Original Yard Food is a bitter pill to swallow. “Easy Squeezie”, where General Jah Mikey is always one step ahead of the riddim section (and try as they might the drum-n-bass just cant quite make up enough ground) is simply straight up fun. Forgetting your troubles is really easy on “Love That Is Real” whose jazzy percussion (highlighted by the almost free jazz segment in the bridge) creates a crescendo that’s impossible to pull back from. But General Jah Mikey makes sure you feel no pain, just listen to the lively percussion that surrounds and protects “Heartbeat Music”. He makes sure the energy never levels out, all the way to “Rise Up” at the end of the album. “From Way Back” is one that reaches out to the African Diaspora to connect with familiar blues harmonies which ultimately force you to “get up and rock out of your rocking chair, just dance away your troubles and fears”. Here, you could be anywhere the blues is played if you didn’t take note of ‘Jah’, ‘Rub A Dub’ and other key Jamaican slang.
This is Original Yard Food from Zion High Productions —innovative, creative, familiar and brand new all at once. “Inna Light” might appear to be a traditional reggae song on the surface but the freewheeling interplay between instruments, lyrics and most definitely post production where the melody kicks in and out demonstrates how General Jah Mikey can talk the talk and walk the walk, sometimes while boasting a fast chat UK style. It’s a cool and deadly, rough and ready flow where he truly does “Deal With [It] Crabit”, to borrow from the Jamaican slang meaning “rough”, now heard as it is alternating between the rough lower register and the ready for anything sweetness of General Jah Mikey’s smokey tenor. You’ll be able to taste it May 14.
2.Hard Time Pressure
4.Love That Is Real
7.From Way Back
8.Set A Way
9.Deal With It Crabit
11.Calling Ras Tafari
Zion High Productions
Zion I Kings
Independent Distribution Collective