Review: Kabaka Pyramid Releases ‘Kontraband’ Album

16 Tracks in total, ‘Kontraband,’ the debut from Kabaka Pyramid does not disappoint.

Kabaka Pyramid - Kontraband. DIGITAL RELEASE [Ghetto Youths International, Bebble Rock Records].

I only heard 3 of the songs before the album’s release so this is a fresh, new experience. The album is reminiscent of Chronixx’s “Chronology” in its diverse representation of modern reggae music.

Hip-Hop influences are evident throughout but do not detract from the roots vibe. You can choose to bob your head and/or skank to the beats. Kabaka spits bars of knowledge with a cool, collected delivery. At times, he sing-jays on the riddims in perfect melody.  

‘Kontraband’ is a strong debut for Kabaka Pyramid and it bolsters his global appeal. The Damian and Stephen Marley executive-produced album features Akon and Stonebwoy out of Africa. Jr. Gong joins Kabaka to illustrate the story on the title track.

Pressure Buss Pipes from the U.S. Virgin Islands sings the hook on “Make Way,” the opening song of the album. Fellow reggae revivalist Protoje makes his mark with a succinct verse on “Everywhere I Go.” Kabaka teams with Chronixx on the mesmerizing and memorable “Blessed Is The Man.”

Kabaka doesn’t only chant a lyrical onslaught on Babylon. He considers the divine essence of black queens on “Natural Woman.” He opens up about affairs of the heart on “Kaught Up,” and “All I Need,” which features Nattali Rize. The different vibes on ‘Kontraband’ balance out. If you ranked this entry as one of 2019’s top reggae releases, I would say that’s accurate. 

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Top Lyricists | Reggae Lover Podcast Episode 91

This is episode number 91 of the Reggae Lover Podcast with the top lyricists of Reggae music today.

The selection features 20 lyrically potent songs. The concept was a suggestion by Kris Richards, a visual and graphic artist who enjoys listening to this podcast while he creates his art. He created the original artwork for this episode.  Visit @iandidea on IG to see Kris Richards’ magnificent works. A big shout out and thank you to Kris, representing Jamaica and the ATL. So far his feedback is that this mix is too short, and he has requested a part 2. I’m cool with it. I’ll go ahead and mix up a series of lyricist-based podcast episodes.

This mix keeps your head bobbing all the way through. If you came to the end and thought “wait… what… it’s over already?” then I know you will come back for more. Meanwhile, you have to go back and listen to this wordplay and these metaphors. Lyrics are layered with symbolism in the songs, especially those by Kabaka Pyramid. You have to go back and listen again to extract the true meaning.

Rebellious Nature by Agent Sasco kicked it off. Wicked Man by Busy Signal, Wadada by Jesse Royal and Kabaka Pyramid‘s Global Warning complete the intro. Listen to Can’t Breathe, Well Done, and also Liberal Opposer by Kabaka. He also features on The Flame with Proteje. Koffee, the 17-year-old sensation, makes her mark on Burning.

Proteje‘s creativity is on display with the one called Criminal and also Truth and Rights. Over Damian Marley’s On the Corner Riddim, you hear Chronixx with Ghetto People. Busy Signal’s Survival from the Return Riddim by Jukebox Productions adds to the vibe. Love Is All I Bring, the new Spragga Benz tune from Sting International fits in well. I was able to squeeze in 1999’s Wha Yuh Say Star which got left off of the Spragga Benz podcast.

Damian Marley flows on The Master Has Come Back and Road to Zion featuring Nas off the Welcome to Jamrock album. In the next edition of the lyrical opposer mix, you’re going to hear some more from Vybz Kartel. I’ll also bring it very current with 2018 material from these and other new artists.

artwork - Reggae Lover Podcast 91

Thank you to the listeners who have added ratings and reviews on iTunes. Shouts out to my very lovely wife who has been binge listening via the podcast app on her new iPhone. I’m honored to have you listen to my podcast. It’s all about us reggae lovers. We have to continue to spread the culture. I focus on the reality I want to see which is positivity. Positive energy and momentum arise from reggae music.

Shout out to my family at WRFG 89.3FM ATL. I’ll be dropping by the Global Drumbeat and Riot Radio shows this week to spread the word about Reggae Lover. I’m gonna drop 2 crazy guest DJ sets live on the air. I’ll be talking about the podcast because I want more people to tune in as we build this movement. I’m inspiring and healing people with reggae.

Look out for the episodes coming up where I’ll be chopping it up with guests learn when, where, why and how they fell in love with reggae. Diving into some of the stories will be lots of fun and I’m so very excited about that.

Review the podcast on Apple Podcasts and get a shout out on the next episode. Have any questions, comments, or feedback? I love to get requests and suggestions. I want to hear what you are interested in hearing. Hit me up. I will those mixes lined up for you. Get your own custom mix right here on the Reggae Lover podcast and be a part of the show. Thank you for listening. Keep your head up – keep it positive. Until next time, One love.

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