Gangsta For Life ~ The Symphony Of David Brooks
VP Records - Groove Attack/Walboomers Music
CD / LP
July 6, 2007
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3/4|
Easily the fastest riser and highest
climber of the 'young turks' of hardcore dancehall, this "Gangsta For Life
- The Symphony Of David Brooks" album has been and will be the most
eagerly anticipated dancehall debut this year, surpassing Busy Signal's
"Step Out" album and the upcoming Aidonia debut album in terms of
pre-release hype. Mavado a.k.a. Real
McKoy burst onto the dancehall scene with his hitsingle "Real McKoy" over
Craig Daseca's 'Anger Management'-riddim and has rocketed to the sky ever
since. Born 26 years ago as David Constatine Brooks at the Victoria
Jubilee Hospital, in Kingston, Jamaica, Mavado has lived the ghetto life
all his life. Growing up in Cassava Piece was never easy for Mavado or his
family, with his grandmother often playing the maternal role. It was in
the church that Mavado was first given a microphone to sing by his granny
at the age of 4. From then Mavado was a permanent fixture on every church
function and rally. He attended Charlie Smith High School in Arnett
Gardens, where his father hailed from. As the teacher left the room, the
desktop would be beaten and Mavado would deejay the lyrics of Cutty Ranks
and Bounty Killer.|
Upon leaving school Mavado found work at a liquor store, but lasted just one day as he always knew music would provide for him. Close friend Flex, recognizing Mavado's singing ability and unique way of composing lyrics, encouraged Mavado to visit recording studios in Kingston. Flex used to ride from Grant's Pen and pick up Mavado on his bicycle every morning and on to Junior Reid's studio, which at the time was a haunt of Bounty Killer who quickly recognized Mavado's talent. Unfortunately issues in the community meant Mavado couldn't touch the road as often as he once did and the link weakened. A couple of years passed and fellow Cassava Piece resident and close friend Foota Hype - one of Jamaica's hottest juggling DJs and a Bounty Killer protegé - introduced Mavado to another Kingston studio and as fate would have it, also a haunt of Bounty Killer. It was there that Mavado began to voice on riddims and hooked up with Predator, whose career was also rising.
Artist/producer Bucanneer recorded Mavado's "Bawl" on his 'Middle East'-riddim and has also played an integral part in Mavado's development. Mavado's talent was also instantly recognized by his manager Julian, who took Mavado to record for Sly and Robbie, DJ Karim and others. His real break came in 2004 when he was introduced to talented production trio Daseca and recorded "Real McKoy" once again. The chemistry was perfect and has gone from strength to strength since. Mavado laced the 'Red Bull & Guiness'-riddim with the anthem "Weh Dem A Do?" and the momentum has shown no signs of slowing up, with follow ups like "Dreaming" and "Bawl Dem A Bawl" over TJ's 'Bill Back'-riddim.
Tragedy struck Mavado’s life last year when his Rastafarian father, with whom he was very close, was murdered overseas in Switzerland. After much haggling with the Swiss authorities, his father's body was sent to Jamaica early this year where he was laid to rest. Mavado has composed a moving tribute to his much-loved father, the here included "Sadness". Mavado’s non-compromising lyrics reflect the environment he grew up in and as his logo suggests he is a 'Gangsta for Life'. With the absence of a hardcore singer in the dancehall business, the public has quickly taken on to this young ghetto youth, who has some of the biggest songs playing in any dance right now, now almost all captured on this fascinating debut album "Gangsta For Life - The Symphony Of David Brooks".
This album after it's "Parental Advisory" which rates this album g for gangsta and it's "Angriest Introduction" with Mavado's signatures anywaaaay and gangsta for life really kicks off with the brilliant solo and combination tunes over Daseca's 'Anger Management' and 'Angrier Management'-riddim, his breakthrough 7" "Real McKoy" and "Full Clip" featuring Busy Signal fit into a one tune medley, allegedly because of licensing problems, followed by the big anthem "Weh Dem A Do" over Delly Ranx' & Stephen 'The Genius' McGregor's 'Red Bull & Guiness'-riddim, before after the prayed skit "A Father's Prayer" more extremely powerful and violent lyrics are delivered in his inimitable 'singer almost sounding like a DJ'-style by Mavado in "They Fear Me" and "Dreaming" over the riddim with the same name 'Dreaming', both produced by Daseca, the production trio consisting of Craig 'Serani' Marsh and the Harrisingh brothers David & Craig with in between another skit giving us the "Definition Of A Gangster".
"Don't Cry" is a tune for his mother, telling her mama even if dem kill me don't cry over the Jammy 'Jam2' James for Nikki Z' Goldie Lox Productions built stripped down version of the 'Dreaming'-riddim, followed by the skit "Cassava Piece Radio" in which Mavado answers the critics of his topics and lyrics, before the magnificent "Dying" on which producer Craig 'Serani' Marsh joins in as singer over its clearly R&B influenced Daseca produced 'Dying'-riddim. Following "David's Interlude" is another Stephen 'The Genius' McGregor produced scorcher, "Top Shotta Nah Miss" over the 'Power Cut'-riddim, one of several Mavado tunes aimed at his opponent in a feud that already inspired many tunes from both sides, Vybz Kartel. Yet another skit "Joey D. Ratt" takes us into "Last Night" singing about his gun-toting in an extremely convincing way over TJ (White)'s update of Dave Kelly's 'Showtime' called the 'Show Off'-riddim, before "A Snitch's Eulogy" is the continuation of the predecessing "Joey D. Ratt" skit and another brilliant Stephen McGregor production is featured, "Amazing Grace", shot fly through face, the best tune recorded over the 'Tremor'-riddim, which was unfortunately lacking on the Riddim Driven album.
O'Neil 'Foota Hype' Thomas is the producer of the impressive, rather melodic "Touch Di Road" that however is as violent as most of the tunes on this album, before incorporating a fake police bulletin wanting dancehall artist David Constantine Brooks a.k.a. Mavado for 5 murders in "Me & My Dogs" over Trevor 'Baby G' James' great 'Gang War'-riddim, followed by the skit of an all points bulletin "APB". "Gully Slide" over Dane 'Fire Links' Johnson's 'Air Waves'-riddim maintains the dark and harsh hardcore vibes and that hardcore guntune vibe isn't even disappearing in the extremely slack "Squeeze Breast" like di trigger of ma gun, making his mark as a slack lyricist in the tradition of (his enemy) Vybz Kartel in a very impressive way over the Michael 'DJ Liquid' Brissett produced 'Bluetooth'-riddim, before reggae's greatest new female songbird Alaine joins him for the beautiful straightforward lovesong "Heartbeat", being a Daseca productions once more. "Sadness" is a magnificent heartfelt tribute by Mavado to his slain father over a wonderful Bobby Digital produced live played powerful one drop. The last tune to close this absolutely brilliant debut hardcore dancehall by one of the biggest newcomers in reggae and dancehall is "Born & Raised" a reality tune closing this album in style over an (also because of the excellent backing vocals) gospel-tinged hardcore dancehall riddim. Mavado's "Gangsta For Life - The Symphony Of David Brooks" is THE dancehall album for 2007!