ALBUM REVIEW: Irie Souljah – Immigrant

By Liam Monaghan

Incoming! The new debut album from rising European starlet Irie Souljah has arrived. The 13-track album Immigrant was recorded in the Jamaican town where Souljah resides. This work is the product of his new life on the Caribbean island, where he has been warmly welcomed by the local community as well as established Reggae artists and up and coming stars of the so-called ‘Reggae Revival’ scene who have been involved in this album project.

Immigrant consists of 10 tracks and 3 dub versions, written and produced by Irie Souljah who dedicates this work to all the people who have to leave their countries to search for a better life. With immigration, asylum and migration becoming even more of an issue in light of recent events around the world, Souljah is one of the artists to specifically spend time expressing his views. Irie Souljah toured with Cocoa Tea across Europe June 2015 and fans would have been able to hear some of the tracks from this album. Irie Souljah and his Kingston based band the Black Army are already preparing for their new European tour, beginning early 2016.

Released on Nice Time Productions. Post-produced and remixed by Genís Trani (Reggaeland) in Barcelona. Mastered by Alex Psaroudakis (M Works Mastering Studios) in Boston. The album has works from some renowned Reggae musicians such as Sly & Robbie, Bongo Herman, Style Scott.

Now let’s get into some of the tracks on the album…

Learn and Grow
Learn and Grow is the first track on the album and what sets it apart from other records at the moment is apart from the fact its actually good, Souljah possesses a distinct voice which has a long vocal range. Very catchy chorus with a simple riddim works well with this track. Its clear that Souljah’s sound is individual and unique but he’s a part of the modern batch of Reggae artists. The style of the riddim and the bubbling effects and the tightness of the track reflects on recent albums from other young artists. A solid first song, enjoyable!

Who Is The immigrant?
At a time when the world is in chaos with mass migration because of wars and materials, it was only a matter of time before an artist wrote an educated song on whats happening. Another simple riddim from Souljah but the music isn’t really important in this track; it’s the words that matter. “Who is the immigrant? We’re living in the same land sharing the same sun”. Lots of interesting points raising the question, what is an immigrant… are they a ‘bad thing’, why is it such a big deal. Overall a nice song with backing harmonies but a thought provoker.

Jah Jah Children Rise Up Ft Jesse Royal
I was very very very excited to hear this record seeing Jesse Royal jumping on it. Royal’s delivery style works well with Souljah’s as a nice contrast. The riddim is built with dub like splashes which encourage a two step or foot tap at least. The grit of Royals voice and the softness of Souljahs is a recipe for an easy listening record.

Elevate Your Thoughts
Riddim reminds me of Micah Shemiahs Eezy Breezy, a nice horn line with a wandering bassline and subtle upbeat guitar stabilising the riddim. I personally would say this is a summer record, a festival anthem. Strong messages stemming from Rastafari but the messages aren’t pushed down your throat, Souljah explains the concept of thinking and enhancing your life. A catchy tune!

Far Away
What I get from this record is a relation to the title and theme of the album, immigration. The riddims built on keys and a upbeat drum structure, vocal breakdowns are apparent throughout which gives Souljah a clear space to deliver his messages, towards the end of this record a step in the quickness and an almost like rap style leads nicely into the next track featuring one of Jamaica’s Key rappers, Kabaka Pyramid.

Inna Di Mood
A more original approach to this record, not much happening FX wise, but allowing Souljah and Kabaka to get their messages away. A nice song, an easy listen, it would have been nice to see these two go at it with some quick spitting on a harder riddim however the song works similarly to Jesse royals collab with the contrast in voices,

Rastafari
Doesn’t take a scientist to work out what this track is about! Souljah preaches about Rasta and Jahs love and Haile Selassie. A nice riddim, ticks the boxes of a modern Reggae record.

Mama Don’t Worry
An ode to Souljahs Mother here, feels rather personal. This song paints mental image of Souljah one side of the world perusing his dreams (presuming music) whilst his mothers at home missing him, however, this songs about thanking his mother for looking after him and bringing him up, ‘Don’t worry im alright, I know you’re missing me’. A relatable song to many people around the world, probably one of the best records on the album.

Guidance
‘All we need is guidance and protection in our own way’ sets up the theme of the song. Souljahs explaining that in Jah he found guidance in life. A nice song with a catchy hook, which leads, is up towards the end of the album.

Middle Of The Street
This riddim has come out of nowhere! Feels very much like a dancehall riddim. This is what you would expect Souljah to have done more of in this album. It’s a lively tune with some interesting words. A solid way to end the album.

The album has been good throughout with 2 collaborations with great artists. Souljah is destined for big things in 2016.

 

Artist : Irie Souljah
Productions : Nice Time Productions
Release Date : November 2015
Available on IrieSoulJahMusic.com

Tracklist :

1. Learn And Grow Intro
2. Who Is The Immigrant
3. Jah Jah Children Rise Up feat. Jesse Royal
4. Elevate Your Thoughts
5. Far Away
6. Inna Di Mood feat. Kabaka Pyramid
7. Rastafari
8. Mama Don’t Worry
9. Guidance
10.Middle Of The Streets
11.Learn And Dub
12.Jah Jah Children Dub
13.Rastafari Dub (Melodica Version)


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