[VP Records, 2011]
I was lucky enough to catch this guy live last year when he was out touring in support of his previous release Escape From Babylon to the Kingdom of Zion. The club in which he performed was packed and Alborosie delivered, putting on a high-energy show full of roots vibes and dancehall looseness. There can be no doubting that the man born Alberto D’Ascola in Italy did right by moving to Jamaica to embrace Rastafari and reggae music.
Alborosie’s records’ successes attest to just how much forward momentum he has in his favor as he continues to win over the worldwide reggae massive. His gruff but bubbling singjay style bounces easy atop roots statements “I Wanna Go Home,” “Grow Your Dreads” (something Alborosie has certainly done), “Jesus Is Coming” and “Tax War” as well as mixing it up nice with Etana on the lovers rock tune of “You Make Me Feel Good” and sharing some “One Blood” sentiments with Junior Reid on “Respect.”
You’d be correct in assuming that the gun-shaped guitar Alborosie brandishes in the accompanying photos means he’s got militant concerns in mind, but for better or worse he’s not above occasionally getting a bit loopy. Witness the slaphappy “Camilla” (apparently a new term for herb) for a good example and skip the forced-sounding “Ragamuffin” (the only unappealing track on the album). The disc ends strongly with “What If Jamaica,” a nyabinghi/dancehall/mento mash up that envisions a more utopian island home from which Alborosie shall certainly continue his runnings. I don’t fully understand the distinction between the “good” and “right” revolutions advocated in this album’s liner notes, though the varied, hard-hitting reggae it contains clearly points to victory on both fronts.