Zareb (Ranford Mc Gurdy) was born and raised in Clarendon, Jamaica. When he was a young man of sixteen he realised there is nothing more for him than a life as one of the common craftsmen, working with steel or as a carpenter. But this kind of life didn’t meet Ranford’s expectations. That’s why he made for Kingston, to escape of country life and to experience the world. It was a hard time, living on Kingston’s streets with no assets and no job. One day one of his friends took him along to one of the many music studios in town. There Ranford, naturally more of a withdrawn personality, found a way to express himself, his thoughts and feelings. Singing became his passion. In the beginning he covered songs of his musical idols Half Pint and Junior Reid, but soon he developed his very own style and created his own lyrics. He felt he finally found his determination and so he spent more and more time in studios, as for example at Kilimanjaro’s, Anchor or Tuff Gong. That’s how he got the first chance for a very own song recording on the Stereo One Label. Using his then artist name Mr. Flash he recorded several songs with his friend and Macka Tree Crew-Member Fantan Mojah. This called the attention of many soundsystems and producers. Bobby Digital, Lion Vibes and Calibud wanted to work with him as well. Tracks like “Rastafari Is The Ruler” are the results of this collaboration. The scene was crazy about this one and celebrated it as big tune as well as another tune called “Authentic Love”. Combinations with Jah Mason and Perfect followed until he felt it was time for a next step.
This was 2006 when he changed his name into Zareb. He didn’t want to leave his career to chance and intended to work specificly on it to make his way as a respected artist in the long run. At this time he met producer and label manager Ingo from Pow Pow, who worked on one of his productions in Jamaica. Immediately the vibes between both musicians were right and the idea of a joint project, Zareb’s debut album, was born. Since that time there were numerous live-shows with Fantan Mojah all around the world. Zareb used the chance to refine his voice and stage presence. He now looks forward to the start of his album “Authentic Love”, which is his first outright creation with a spectrum of songs that allows him to express all aspects of his personality and presents him as a matured artist, ready to enter the world of reggae music.
This album opens with the strong “Love Surround Me” on which the influence of Junior Reid is very clear, sung over a strong mid tempo roots riddim with great female backing vocals, it’s followed by the first combination with long time spar Fantan Mojah, the album’s title track “Authentic Love” over Delperies’ ‘Hard Drugs’-riddim (that they recorded as Fantan Mojah & Singer Flasher) and “Burn Dem Red” over ‘Overstand’ one of the great riddims of executive producer Ingo Rheinbay for his Pow Pow Movement. Jah Mason joins Zareb for the great combination “Can’t Stop Us”, before on “Nah Go Mek It” Zareb solo attacks the synthesizer dominated ‘Rasta’-riddim from Dolla Sign Productions (originally released as “Vanity Lovers”.
“Jah Is The Only Way” is the tune Half Pint would record over a classic (Barrington Levy inspired) riddim if he were in an as fine form currently as Zareb is, followed by the beautiful “Can’t Hold Me Down” with its great deejaying as a contrast for the superb sweet singing, though once more the layers of synths are (too) dominant in the mix. Bobby Digital contributes his production skills to – the as Mr. Flash recorded (and as Junior Reid sounding) – “Jah Is Faithful” over his great ‘One For The Road’-riddim and then Zareb is once more joined by Fantan Mojah for the magnificent “Rastafari Is The Ruler” over Lion Vibes’ ‘Jah Glory’-riddim. “Always Give Thanks And Praise” is over a to me bit too balladish-riddim, though the tune still sounds good, with the vocals of Zareb once more hinting at Junior Reid’s influence before that other big influence Half Pint sipples through again in the great “Hungry Fi Done”.
Together with Fantan Mojah Zareb recorded yet another great tune for Lion Vibes as Mr. Flash, “No Mercy” over their ‘He Prayed / Dub Organizer’-riddim, that is sheer brilliance, as is “Daily Bread” over Soul Vybz’ ‘National Front’-riddim, laid for this French label by Mafia & Fluxy and the Firehouse Crew. Zareb also delivers a great take on ‘Mikey John’ Johnson’s ‘Nine Eleven’-riddim with “What A World It Would Be” and together with Perfect he shines on Yellow Moon’s ‘Fyah’-riddim in “Born And Raised”. “How Can I Be Ungrateful” is the excellent fourth and last combination on this album featuring Fantan Mojah, as strong as the three already heard earlier, before this very promising debut album – that is a very fine second one artist album for Ingo Rheinbay and his Pow Pow Movement as executive producer after their success with Elijah Prophet’s “King Of Kings” – from an artist of whom we will surely hear more is closed with the very fine love-gone-wrong tune “Call Me” over what sounds like an update of Culture’s ‘Hand A Bowl’-riddim.