Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley - Welcome To Jamrock (Tuff Gong/Universal)

With 'Welcome To Jamrock' Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley already delivered this year's strongest single and the rest of the album is also of the same quality. Damian and his brother, producer Stephen Marley, have simply catapulted the reggae genre into the 21st century. The album contains only a few pure reggae songs and is more a mix of the best reggae, r&b, hip-hop and dancehall currently have to offer. Where his lyrics are concerned Jr. Gong is never commonplace or vulgar, not even in a pure dancehall tune like 'Hey Girl'. Marley classics like 'Exodus' and 'Pimper's Paradise' are reworked without losing sight of Bob's legacy and message; you even get the feeling that during the recording of these tracks, Tuff Gong was listening in the studio, occasionally nodding in agreement with what his sons were doing. Ironically, 25 years after 'Zimbabwe', Bob's ode to Zimbabwean independence, son Damian openly critics the politics of Robert Mugabe in the song 'Road To Zion' (albeit through guest vocalist Nas). Already in the first week of its release, 'Welcome To Jamrock' worked itself into the top ten of the Billboard charts in the US and earned Damian a MOBO-award. Yours truly wouldn't be surprised if a Grammy will soon follow.


Added: Mar 8, 2005