Review: Mykal Rose – Rasta State

By Liam Monaghan

Legendary Mykal Rose has released his latest solo album Rasta State on VP Records who have had a great year in putting out great albums such as Alborosie’s Freedom & Fyah, Jah Cure’s The Cure. There’s 15-tracks to feast on, which ticks all the boxes of a Mykal Rose album. Rose’s incredible voice features over roots rhythms mustered by legendary producer King Jammy. In the past Rose has collaborated on tracks with everyone from Shabba Ranks to Damian Marley but interestingly there is no collaborations on this album.

African Queen
I’ve no idea why but the riddim reminds me of watching old school Halloween films with haunting organs popping in and out, either way this track is a nice way to start the album. The riddim is consistent throughout which gives Rose a platform to deliver his lyrics. Overall a nice track, the riddim is soft, harmonies are nice and there’s a salute to his African Queen.

Big fan of this track, Rose’s sampled the Real Rock riddim and the horns are blazing out! Very catchy hook on this and you’ll find yourself nodding and actually saying ‘Judgement Judgement’. A good track, Mykals voice sounds as clear as ever and the lyrics are insightful and full of meaning. A good listen.

Golden Throne
We’d all love a golden throne; I know I would. However Mykal’s sitting on his. Discussions of what the United Nations are doing wrong and mentions of Mussolini get dropped also. The riddim is a little darker on this track with that subtle bubbling sound that was prolific in Black Uhuru’s music particular Stalk of ‘Sensimillia’.

Gimme The Herb
I think Mykal has one of the best voices in Reggae music. He has the vocal scale and softness down to a tee which many artists cant find in their vocal box. It doesn’t take a genius to work out really what this track is about but Mykals stood in his weed field weeding his weed…cannabis appreciation is the message. Nice track though with a good hook.

Rose’s powerful voice really shines on this track. This track is all about positivity and coming together in times of trouble along with a small dose of Selassi appreciation. This is a nice track built on a basic riddim with a gritty bassline and weighty keys with what can only be described as wooden xylophone strikes throughout. Nice track.

Hail H.I.M
My dream last night was about Ali Baba with the fourty thieveeeeees! Another great sample choice here. I like the boldness of the record and Mykals powerful voice really compliments the weighty riddim in the background. The hook is huge, Hail Him! Rings thoughout.

Woe Unto Those
More of a rootsy vibe on this track. “too long they have been keeping black people down, they are trying to bring back slavey and those days are gone and forgone” interesting powerful word from Mykal on this track. It a track definitely with a focus on lyrics and messages. A nice track to listen to but more of an insightful one.

Reply From The Queen
The traditional Woiiiiii from Mykal kicks of the track and throughout and I have to say personally it feels like a Black Uhuru record. The riddim, the type, the upbeat guitar strokes and bassline all match the structure of Uhuru. Lets not take anything away from Mykal with this track; it’s a great track with his booming voice making neck hair stand to attention.

Not a salute to Desmond Dekker unfortunately, but another chilled track from Rose, its interesting how throughout the album the riddims have been fairly similar but not boring. They don’t sound the same and the small subtle differences within the tracks keep things fresh. Mykals voice just keeps you hanging on and you pay attention.

Deep riddim and strong messages in this track as Rose paints us an image of poverty and a hard time on the wandering road of life. The riddims quite minimal but that keeps focus on Mykals message. It’s a good listen and theres not too much to say apart from follow the story of the track.

Free Education
Something which millions believe in is free education. I myself have been filmed discussing Education and the cost of it here in the UK and it’s a joke to be fair but anyway lets not get bogged down in that. The message is clear, we need more free education around the world and it needs to be more accessible to children who cant just get to school.

Pease And Love In The ghetto
Roots and foundation with this riddm and Mykal delivers a somewhat love story. As we edge to the end of the album It would be nice to see Mykal reach for something a little different but I imagine its not just a ‘safe song/album filler’ it’s a good song! Just in a full album play, mix it up.

Inna Di Saga
The finish line is upon us and this tune has a nice rapid guitar plucking hook which gives the riddim its identity. Mykals voice is just explosive but so clear which really adds power to tracks and this track is another story that Mykal paints us so well! A nice track.

Love Love Love
It is what it says in the title, Love Love Love “ all I need is love love love to comfort me” a classic Rose love song in this track. Theres some weird sounding 1990s game console effects that pop up but its those that bring that subtle difference I was talking about earlier on. A nice track.

Anything You Want Gal
A huge track to finish the album. Upbeat and weighty, this is the track that would smash a live performance. A really enjoyable song, with the riddim being soft, whilst Rose delivers his amazing voice across the top. The track is a nice way to finish the album. A nice album overall, it would be nice to see Mykal experiment a little more with tempos as his voice could feature on so many different ranges of styles and genres but nonetheless a great album of music.