Queen Ifrica
VP Records
CD / Digital Release
March 17, 2017

Track list
  1. Trueversation feat. Damian Jr Gong" Marley
  2. That's How It Is Sometime
  3. Love Is Not Blind
  4. Pleasure To See
  5. Lie Dem Ah Tell
  6. Grabba
  7. Medical Marijuana
  8. Good Man
  9. Black Woman
  10. Climb
  11. All That I'm Asking
  12. Battlefield
  13. I Can't Breathe
  14. Ask My Granny
  15. Rebellion
  16. Better Than Amazing
  17. Let's Get Silly
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Total votes : 3
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
Back in 2007 Tony Rebel and his Flames Productions released Queen Ifrica's debut album, the very well received "Fyah Muma", which was one of the better Reggae albums of that year and featured almost all of her big material up to that point. The "Fyah Muma" set did quite well and the album and the material that was put out after its release garnered the attentions of the people at VP Records, who signed up Queen Ifrica and then, in 2009, released her sophomore album entitled "Montego Bay".

Almost 8 years after the release of the "Montego Bay" set and returning to the scene after a 6 year hiatus, Queen Ifrica finally comes up with her long awaited and much snticipated third album entitled "Climb". Apart from the previously released songs "Trueversation", the collaboration with Damian "Jr Gong" Marley, "Love Is Not Blind", "Lie Dem A Tell", "Ask My Granny" and "Let's Gert Silly", this album features tunes never heard before. Heavily involved in the creation of this album as producer, arranger and songwriter is Patrick Barrett aka Tony Rebel, who took her under his wings when she emerged in 1998. Also involved are well known veteran producers like Donovan Germain and Clive Hunt along with Rickman "Jamplified" Warren, Alton Brown (Dirty Worx Entertainment), Michael "Finga" Stewart, Donald Thompson & Joseph Francis (Bucktown 61 & One Camp Records), Conrad Scarlette (I'Core Productions) and Jordan McClure & David Hayle (Chimney Records).

It's obvious that a collaboration with Damian "Jr Gong" Marley attracts the attention of fans world wide and "Trueversation" has been well received by many. However the album opener isn't our favourite track, even though its message surely appeals to us. It's the hip-hop tinged riddim that, even after several spins, turns us off a bit. The solid That's How It Is Sometime", a summation of the songstress' genuine approach to her life and music, comes across a relick of the Jackie Mittoo Studio One classic "Hot Milk", which is also known as the "Murderer" riddim. The addition of strings gives the refurbished riddim a real nice touch. Next comes a head nodding lovers piece called "Love Is Not Blind", known from VP Records' sampler "Strictly The Best Volume 50". This tune lend its name to Penthouse's very entertaining "Love Is Not Blind" riddim from 2014. The tempo goes up for "Pleasure To See", a intoxicating danceable message song in which Queen Ifrica tells us about importance of oneness and unity. Despite it's strong social commentary, the dancehall track "Lie Dem A Tell" doesn't get us really excited.

"Grabba", a song with a dark mood in which she speaks against the use of tobacco, grows on you the more you hear it. A totally different mood and a more positive vibe are experienced while listening to the solid "Medical Marijuana". The mellow "Good Man" is a nice tune, outmatched by the next two uplifting tunes, the outstanding "Black Woman", which clocks in at 7:21 mins playing time, and the beautifully sung title track "Climb", in which she encourages perseverance during hard times. Another Jackie Mittoo classic instrumental from his Studio One days, the 1968 released "West Of The Sun", has been revitalized for the solid lovers lament "All That I'm Asking". Fast forward from affairs of the heart to again roots music full of consciousness with first the massive "Battlefield", and then the soul-tinged "I Can't Breathe", which rails against ongoing police brutality in the US. The single "Ask My Granny" across 13th Tribe Production's "Tapalapa Riddim" tells the undecorated truth about the day-to-day struggles and come up of the common man and woman. Big social commentary fi sure. The Ska flavoured "Rebellion" name checks uprisings across several contintents that have secured rights and improved the lives of many marginalized individuals. A serious reality tune worth hearing over and over again. The last two tracks of this album aims at the romantic souls who will surely enjoy listening to the wonderful "Better Than Amazing" and "Let's Get Silly" on Chimney Records' 2012 released "Tropical Escape" riddim.

All in all not a totally amazing new album, but nevertheless a very convincing and satisfying collection of tunes.