Review: Queen Ifrica – Climb Album

Queen Ifrica the ‘Fyah Muma’ has just released her long awaited third album Climb on VP Records. The album is a long overdue follow up to the 2009 ‘Road to Mobay’ which her fans will embrace eagerly given the fact that she has taken the time to deliver an album that fuses the principles of her Rastafarian faith which are present throughout over a series of one drop, roots, dancehall and even ska rhythms.

By DJ745

Queen Ifrica, or Ventrice Morgan is the daughter of ska music legend Derrick Morgan who grew up in Montego Bay beginning her career in 1995 by partaking in a local talent contest at Club Inferno in Mobay before then taking the first artistic steps towards sound system performances where she attracted the attention of Tony Rebel and the Flames Production team.

Climb, consisting of 17 tracks recorded with a number of key producers including ‘Clive Hunt’, ‘Donovan Germain’ and ‘Jordan McClure’ debuted at the number 1 position in the Billboard Reggae charts immediately after release and has received rave reviews from fans across all four corners of the globe.

Lead single ‘Trueversation’ features the only collaboration on the album alongside ‘Damian Marley’ and has an accompanying video directed by Antwan Smith on location at Art & Sol Studio in Miami which is gaining momentum on social media channels day by day. What makes this song so special is that Queen Ifrica’s birth father ‘Derrick Morgan’ along with ‘Jimmy Cliff’ were pivotal in introducing Damian’s father to Leslie Kong’s ‘Beverleys Records’ way back in 1962 to record ‘Judge Not’ which originally appeared under the artist name of ‘Bobby Martell’ on the 7” pressings. ‘Trueversation’ rides a hip hop fused rhythm with Ifrica and Marley spitting lyrics back and forth ‘intellectual attraction awakens the right senses so I love it when we talk like this’.

Ska infused ‘Rebellion’ is a righteous outcry against the Babylonian system namechecking events in history including ‘Coral Gardens’ and features a rhythm that is a throwback to the fast paced ska rhythms that first emerged out of Jamaican studios as a precursor to the ‘Rocksteady’ era. A firm favourite of the WorldAReggae crew!

The spirit of keyboard king ‘Jackie Mittoo’ is alive on ‘That’s How it is Sometimes’ over a lively cut of ‘Hot Milk’ with the additional of strings with Queen Ifrica calling on listeners to ‘learn your lessons, count every blessing’ and to learn from the struggles of life we all face on a day to day basis in a positive way. Staying with the influence of ‘Jackie Mittoo’ is ‘All That I’m Asking’ sung seductively over a rhythm known in reggae circles as ‘West Of The Sun’ and its origins date back to 1971 at ‘Studio One’.

Title track ‘Climb’ follows a similar lyrical content to ‘That’s How it is Sometimes’ with Ifrica refusing to stop trying and continuing to rise upwards no matter what life brings to her. Perseverance is the key.

A hard dancehall beat sees Queen Ifrica unleash her lyrical prowess on the fiery ‘Lie Dem Ah Tell’ almost chanting ‘Lie dem ah tell she Jamaica mash up’ and sees her unapologetic in attacking Jamaican policies on foreign investments in tourist hotbeds such as Ochy and Mobay.

‘Never never give in to Babylon no matter what them try’ chants Ifrica on ‘Grabba’ denouncing the use of tobacco which leads into ‘Medical Marijuana’ with a lively rhythm over a topic that seems to be gaining momentum globally and brings new life to the lyrics of ‘Peter Tosh’ who famously took police beatings for his cries of ‘Legalise It’.

Two former singles on Climb ‘Love Is Not Blind’ from Penthouse Records featuring ‘Dean Fraser’ on saxophone oozes sheer quality- the production and attention to detail and ‘Let’s Get Silly’ from Chimney Records which has become an anthem in it’s own rights with lyrics including

‘Lets act silly, play around like children in di park
Lets act silly, touch di filli in di dark
Lets act silly, life is way too short to hesitate
Lets get busy, lets act silly’

and show the more melodic side of Queen Ifrica and has become a staple in her live performances across the globe including her annual appearance at Rebel Salute in Priory, Jamaica in January each year. New love songs ‘Good Man’ and ‘Better Than Amazing’ also falls into this category and are both prime examples of fine Jamaican lovers rock.

Black Woman’ comes completed with an extended dubwise outing and is the longest song on the album at 7.21 minutes and sees Ifrica urging women to look at their own morality and take a stance against negative expression and be wise in how they portray themselves. Absolutely loving the dubwise treatment given to this song and feel Clive Hunt may have a part to play in this production on Climb.

Former single ‘Ask My Granny’ sounds like a tribute to both her mother and grandmother and is all about survival even in the darkest of times when life is at it’s hardest.

Police brutality is the subject of ‘I Can’t Breathe’ and is a serious song covering the subject of police racism with a chorus line inspired by a historical song ‘Swing Low, Sweet Chariot’

‘Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home
Swing low, sweet chariot
Coming for to carry me home’

The overall production, song writing and diverse range of lyrical themes and rhythms all combine well together to make Queen Ifrica’s third album ‘Climb’ a fine release for 2017 and well worth adding to your musical collection. It surely is an album that is current but will be played in years to come too.

Available on all music formats on VP Records