Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Here Come The Kings
Morgan Heritage
VP Records
CD
June 28, 2013

Here Come the Kings - Morgan Heritage Track list
  1. Man Has Forgotten
  2. Here Come The Kings
  3. Holla
  4. Call To Me
  5. Perfect Love Song
  6. The Return
  7. Looking For The Roots
  8. Love Stoned feat. Shaggy
  9. Girl Is Mine
  10. Dem Ah Run Come
  11. Ends Nah Meet
  12. Stand Up
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Make it work. It is the same for everyone, but when you do listen to a great deal of music, in particular, you are guaranteed to come across someone who although they make a type of music you typically enjoy, do not make a brand of it which resonates for you. Normally when such a thing happens, you probably don't even pay too much attention to it - as someone pops up with a popular song, you hear it and don't like it and then you hear it again and completely dismiss it, but it becomes an entirely different dynamic when that person (or that group) fits so perfectly into your normal listening routine that you encounter their work, in one way or another, very consistently. Over the years I have definitely run into this situation a few times and, if you read my work to any consistent degree, you know that the largest example of it comes in the form of the wonderful music of the unstoppable Midnite. Midnite is a perfect case to look at for me because in the midst of becoming a big fan of the likes of Pressure Busspipe, NiyoRah, Tuff Lion and so many others from the Virgin Islands scene, I was virtually forced to acknowledge their music and, simultaneously, the fully devastating abilities of the group's frontman, Vaughn Benjamin. But it wasn't until rather recently, until the past couple of years or so, where I really began to comprehend exactly why that music had the impact that it did for so many people (I had to grow up, basically) and am still comprehending it.

There have been others also for whom my appreciation really was just a matter of time (biggup Nasio) and others still that I have yet to 'come around' on (biggup both Ziggi & Julian Marley), but the particular instance with which we deal today is even more unique than any of those as, though entirely and EVER present, I've never really been that big of a fan of Morgan Heritage! This is so despite them being around from since I was a young teenager or so (I'm now a 'young' thirty something) (if it is possible to be such a thing) and also grabbing some of my attentions and affections along the way. The Morgans have been excellent producers and along with steering excellent work from some of the biggest names in the genre and some of my lesser known personal favourites, such as Prince Theo, their credits extend all the way to producing at least one of the most widely accepted greatest songs of the modern era, 'Jah Jah City' by Capleton and even more. Yet, despite making (literally) great music (which includes some good songs of their own I should say) ["Uncomfortable babylon shall be from this day on!"], keeping great company, having a live show that you could be very blind and very deaf and still appreciate and becoming genuine stars of the genre (the 'second family of Reggae music, without question)... I just always thought that something was missing... or something like that when it actually came to MORGAN HERITAGE MUSIC.

So have I found it? It is a very interesting stage of this situation that I finally begin to pay most attention to what they do when the news reaches a few years back that the Morgans, essentially, are going on hiatus for a few years. The first time I recall hearing about it - it was a matter of them not only pursuing solo opportunities, but also preparing for an album which they said would just take a really long time to complete as well. That was in 2007 or 2008 and now it's 2013 and the generally album-heavy Morgans haven't done a full new project together in half a decade. In that time, as I've said, I've probably paid more attention to them than ever before and a big credit for that goes to Mr. Gramps Morgan. If I recall correctly it was their initial plan that everyone would release albums, but only Gramps ultimately did and he did so wonderfully (twice) with first the outstanding "2 Sides of My Heart" in 2009 and then again early last year with the excellent "Reggae Music Lives". I'd never heard Gramps like that and he was damn impressive both times. Oft-Morgan Heritage frontman, Peetah, also had great successes as a soloist, working consistently with some of the biggest names in production in Reggae music and, really, becoming an active fixture in recording over the past few years. All of that (and some other stuff I'm going to tell you about in a minute) really made me have to reconsider my stance on Morgan Heritage's music over all those years and, it just happens that in the middle of doing that - look who's back.

The hotly anticipated "Here Comes The Kings" becomes the first new full Morgan Heritage album from 2008's "Mission In Progress" (although they did push "Journey Thus Far", a greatest hits album, in '09). Once again the project finds them working alongside VP Records (who, oddly enough, did not do Gramps' solo albums) and it almost seems as if they never took that break. Though this album (unsurprisingly) has probably had more of a buzz surrounding its release than most of their others, and already has far more educated fans of the Morgans calling it at least one of their best, musically it isn’t a deviation at all from what they do. To my ear, Morgan Heritage has always made this kind of 'flashy' and very modern Roots Reggae music. There are constant elements of R&B and Hip-Hop in their work and it makes for a mix which, while may not have made a fan out of me originally, isn't something which I have totally ignored. Furthermore and personally, I look forward to moments like this. Falling in love with Midnite's music has given me additions to my own personal collection which I now have the ears to hear and if I can do the same with Morgan Heritage (and they have a lot more than I don't have), it would be fantastic! I also definitely enjoyed the first single (or what I think is the first single) (more on that later). The album features top notch names on the production side such as Don Corleon and, of course, Shane Brown andddddddd, as they do occasionally, last year VP put out what subsequently became a beautiful EP for the album called "The Return", which would feature a trio of nice songs from the forthcoming album. Alllllll of that has happened and now all that remains is to see whether or not the five years actually worked their magic made a fan out of me of Morgan Heritage.

Well it surely is due to more than just the passage of time, but this album is sublime from beginning to end. Another interesting aspect of the album is that the Morgans kind of take advantage of the moment - of their break. So at times throughout the project you run into these moments where they almost seem to coyly and collectively announce their re-arrival. Such a moment would definitely be the dually riding opener for "Here Come The Kings", Man Has Forgotten where not only is it the Morgans, themselves, who may've been forgotten, but also righteous thinking and righteous ways alike.
"A weh dem think it did over 
Through wi take a little break fi put some time inna di youth dem who wi call di young soldiers
Now its time wi rally up and tek wi rightful place -
Kings wid di crown 
Show dem who ah really run di place 
Jah Jah rule yah
Yu fi know seh a no mi, a no you 
Jah Jah rule yah
Millions in yah crew yuh still lose 
Cah Jah Jah rule yah
Men has forgotten bout God -
Flying hard on di wings of evilous kings"
This tune is a big winner and it blends a wonderful bit of spike and edge to the vibes with a riddim which may actually have been constructed on another planet because that thing is sensational! The equally impressing title track comes through next and it is another song which kind of plays itself on their 'return' (more on that in a second), but here it is a matter largely concerned with the music, especially. It is another tune like the opener, however, where the vibes are high and are wrapped in this very intelligent and cleverly arranged package where the return is not only because Morgan Heritage is back, but because... someone is speaking sensibly again - a concept which is revisited on this record. Holla wraps up the first quarter of the album and it kind of caught me by a surprise, but if you think about it, it is very fitting. The main subject on the tune is actually about the rising of the first Black US President, Barack Obama and you think that it was years ago and it kind of seems odd to, kind of all of a sudden, begin doing it now (biggup Cocoa Tea) (biggup The Mighty Sparrow) (biggup Franz Job and about nine-hundred-thousand others). However, like I said, it's been half a decade from their last album, so it isn't a top which they've gotten the opportunity to address directly. It is a nice tune, lyrically one of the album's best - and I also love how they let that beautiful track continue on after the song's final vocals. A very nice start.

I was somewhat surprised to see just how familiar I was, already, with quite a bit of "Here Come The Kings" (and, unless I'm really overlooking something, that is a definite leader for Album TITLE of The Year). The first three track are knew to my ears, but recently, of course, we've all become quite familiar with a tune which I'm sure the Morgans and VP are hoping we pay a special amount of attention to - the aforementioned single, Perfect Love Song. This GORGEOUS selection comes damn close to living up to its loftiest of titles, but I don't necessarily think that it is the best of its kind on this album. Still, it is a fine choice of a tune to receive a push here and it is excellent. There's also The Return, which was the title track from the previously mentioned EP (DUH!) and is another highlight from this album. Like we talked about earlier, this is another piece where Morgan Heritage ties its own return to the comeback of a rational and clear-thinking style of music. They're right also. Certainly them making music is a boost in the arm of the entire genre of Roots Reggae music - especially when it sounds this good. Dem Ah Run Come is, I'm almost sure, a remake of an older song by the same name that MH did (if it is the same exact composition then I owe someone an apology because I never recalled that tune sounding THIS good). It is a kind of a complex praising number with a HUGE vibes and a historical sentiment as well. The result is, easily, one of the best songs here. The piece which directly follows, Dem Ah Run Come, however, is my choice as the single best moment on the "Here Come The Kings" album. The MASSIVE social commentary, Ends Nah Meet, over what has to be considered one of Don Corleon's finest creations AT LEAST in recent times, the sterling "Scriptures Riddim".
Tell me if you going through this:
Working hard, day and night, and still can't live a good life 
Tell me if you going through this:
Di money weh yuk mek dun before it reach yah hand, mi friend
Tell me if you going through this:
Nah no money fi gas star, so you caan to drive yah car
Tell me if you going through this:
Everyday ah wonder if no better life no deh deh fi you!
Dem seh things a better, but we caan seet
Caan seet!
Wi caan
Dem seh money ah run right ya know, but pockets still ah feel it
Still ah feel it!
Caan sleep unda it because wi stress out
Every month landlord ahgo kick out
Because ends nah meet
People ah end up pon street 
Change is what wi need
Tell me if you going through this:
Working nuff overtime and still caan pay yuh bills pon time
Tell me if you going through this:
You work, you work so hard - still caan feed di youth dem a yah yard
Tell me if you going through this:
Tears run from yuh eye when you look ova yah life at night
Are you going through this?
Everyday ah wonder if no better life no deh deh fi you!
Dem seh things a better, but we caan seet
Caan seet!
Wi caan
Dem seh money ah run right ya know, but pockets still ah feel it
Still ah feel it!
Caan sleep unda it because wi stress out
Every month landlord ahgo kick out
Because ends nah meet
People ah end up pon street 
Change is what wi need
So many times you are on your last dime
People see your smile - don't know what you're going through inside
Working so hard, but still ends nah meet
Sometimes you ah believe, no better no deh deh fi real yeah!"
BOOM! I don't know that I ever paid as much attention to this tune that I did as it is presented on this album and it is beautiful and a stirringly moving commentary on the state of things. Charged (and succeeding at) with following that song is another one you might know, Stand Up, which also appeared on the "The Return" EP. I LOVE this song and, again, had it not appeared on this album, I might not have ever known it. The piece is one about instilling and exhibiting pride in your culture and your way of life and it really does that and makes you smile and feel good. The final song here that I already knew of was the remake of Girl Is Mine which, I think, was originally a Michael Jackson song. This isn't my favourite song on this album, it isn't even really close, but it is decent, nonetheless and you'll probably enjoy it a lot more than I do.

As for the remaining new[er] songs on "Here Come The Kings", they also feature some really strong moments, including the only official combination on the album, the fine Love Stoned, which features superstar Shaggy (someone else who I've grown in appreciation of as I've gotten older). This is another nice love song, it may not be "perfect" but, for what it is, it's also fairly close and a sure standout on this album. Still, to my opinion, taking the honours as the biggest lover's piece on this album (and my Wife's absolute favourite moment on this album) is the running intoxicant that is Call To Me, which is also produced by Don Corleon. This tune simply will not find its way out of your head and you probably won't want it to either. And lastly, check Looking For The Roots which, again, goes back to the theme of the Morgan's return ["if you're looking for the Roots, dem know where to find wi!"]. I immediately went towards this song on the album and it did not disappoint even slightly! Though it does has a similar direction to the other tunes, what separates this one, first of all, is its sound which is full addictive, but it also has this kind of 'intense-calm' about it (if that makes any sense at all and I'm sure it doesn't). What I mean is that you always get the feeling in listening to this song that it is building to something and whatever that something is, it is reached later in the song as its final minute or so is dazzling and it impresses on a level backed by substance as well. A big, big tune!

Overall, what we have is another album which was definitely worth all of the hype that was built ahead of it. A big credit goes to Peetah, Gramps and then Lukes, Mr. Mojo (who also enjoyed quite a bit of success as a soloist) and Una as well for pushing a project which, at least from the quality of it, doesn't seem like they took a hiatus at all. If they didn't mention the break so much, you'd probably think this was the first Morgan Heritage album in about five weeks and not five years. However, as I alluded to, the fact that they do acknowledge it and discuss it openly is a very compelling face of "Here Come The Kings". And they build that in a very clear and clever way, while avoiding these kind of lame and clichéd spots of overdoing it in my opinion. Also very nice is the total SOUND of this album. It is definitely one of the most sonically pleasing albums of the year thus far and though I've never been their biggest of followers, I can confidently say that making music of that type, which literally leaps out at the listener and is, seemingly, perfectly assembled for the live performance is one of the trademarks of the Morgans' sound. While it has taken me far, far too long and I will probably never be amongst their greatest of fans, everything that has happened in regard to Morgan Heritage over the past few years has definitely made me take note and they just put a crown on all of it with this wonderful new album. Not to be missed.