Protoje – A Matter Of Time
Reggae Music has “gone international”. The universal acceptance is right there. It’s influence is evident in many genres. There’s been a push to release Reggae albums with the intent to mainstream the appeal by incorporating other genres. Talking about broadening the Sound. Well, this has translated with varying degrees of success. PROTOJE’s much anticipated fourth full length album, “A MATTER OF TIME”, aligns in this principle. No surprise; this was the talented artist’s intent. Discussion is needed to find out if the formula works.
Protoje (Oje Ken Ollivierre) hails from a musically rich family. His mother, Lorna Bennett, scored in the ’70s with “Breakfast In Bed.” He embedded himself musically from an early stage. His early involvements include cutting teeth on Vendetta Sound System alongside cousin Donovan Bennett (the world renowned producer Don Corleon). He started releasing singles and mix tapes in 2005 with good success. His full length debut, “The Seven Year Itch” (2010) showcased his undeniable talent in a big way. The follow up, “The 8 Year Affair” (2013) was GREAT! “Ancient Future” (2015) stands tall as a mature Reggae album. He mesmerizes audiences globally with his tight Indiggnation Band. Yes, he’s got the right ingredients to present engaging sounds. These albums have been presented in mostly traditional Reggae runnings. This man loves the timeless sounds of Hugh Mundell and Cultural Roots – real authentic sound! So, this new release ventures in a different direction.
Protoje wisely linked again with producer Phillip “Winta” James; whose vision made “Ancient Future” a resounding success. The bulk of the recordings took place at Tuff Gong Studio with joint production from Protoje and Phillip. Musician info is vague but he has worked with the best in the business.
Protoje – A Matter Of Time
“Flames” opens it up, with the help of the equally talented Chronixx. Who can forget their smash hit, “Who Knows” (2014)? A rather busy atmosphere with classical, Ethio-Jazz and Rock tinges. The strong flow and lyrical prowess from both artists are top notch, but the riddim seems too abstract. The hit single, “Blood Money” hits a great stride. A poignant observation of politricks, Protoje is in truthful locomotion over sensible Hip Hop beats. A song that legendary Dub poet Mutabaruka highly touted. This track demonstrates a skilled approach to widen appeal.
A Good Blend
“Mind Of A King” is a lavish production with vocoder in effect. Protoje’s skill set is undeniable; he injects pure energy and intelligence every time in his delivery. A song that blooms after repeated listening. A track that befits radio airplay. “Like This” is a good blend of Pop and Reggae riddim with adventurous production value. Protoje captures attention with catchy hook, line and sinker. “Bout Noon” shows a romantic side not found on previous albums. This was released as a single and hit the charts. There is a blend of numerous musical stylings that are mainstream radio ready. Objectively speaking, the atmosphere comes across too busy. Both artist and producer are in complete synchronicity, no disrespect intended.
The title track works well. The Hip Hop fueled riddim with nice organ riffs allows Protoje to stretch out and ride the vibes gallantly. This is a polished production that effectively meshes culture and Hip Hop. Has been tried so many times; this is how it’s done. The listener is treated to another combination with Chronixx. “No Guarantee” is a standout rewinda! Rock guitar slices through the engaging riddim; the duo firing on all cylinders! The Royal vibes continues with “Lessons”. Echoes of earlier albums with a solid riddim and tasty horn section. The artist’s skilled songwriting and arrangements exudes the undiluted message of Peter Tosh’s “Lessons In My Life”. No comparisons between both artists; Protoje has the essence of exalting truthful message music.
Smooth and Crisp
Thankfully, the hit single “Truths & Rights” is included here! The combination with rising singer Mortimer is essential. The question remains – when does this singer put out his own album? He appeared on “Ancient Future” with “Protection” and has elevated numerous albums over the past few years. This is the standout selection indeed. The smooth and crisp blend of different stylings is spot on with both artists Inna Heartical approach. Push that rewind button. The album closes with “Camera Show”. A brilliant piece of Roots music that’s craftfully arranged. “…is there no limit to the greed?”. Protoje is at his best with a powerful observation of the wicked cycle of Babylon deception. Boom!
Conclusion PROTOJE's "A MATTER OF TIME" was highly anticipated. Does it deliver with regards to artist/producer's vision? Yes it does. It's a gamble to embark on a direction that Protoje did and he pulls through. This is not a pure Reggae album, but the overall result effectively opens the gates for all music lovers to explore.