Yaadcore – Reggaeland
01. Bee With Me
02. Ready Now feat. Pressure Busspipe & I Wayne
04. Police In Helicopter (Vocal Mix) feat. Jah9 & Subatomic Sound System
05. Money On Trees
06. Ghetto Youths
07. Nyquill (Spliff a light Spliff) [Remix] feat. Richie Spice
09. La La Laa feat. Sarah Couch
10. Say That You Love Me
11. Play God feat. Lee Scratch Perry
12. The Calling
13. Ball Game (Knock It)
Have you ever heard the old saying “slow and steady wins the race? While that adage holds weight if you’re regaling children with the tale of Aesop’s Fable, (Google it kids) it’s not necessarily the most apropos statement in terms of the music business and the lofty expectations of both fans and the industry itself. Now more than ever, the process of slowly introducing an audience to a new group or performers has gone the way of Motown charm schools, and Dick Clark showcases, making way for Tik Tok, Instagram, and promoting your own music via social media. It’s an add water and stir kind of business, and reggae music is not impervious to this type of “artist development”. Recent years have seen numerous singjays and dancehall artists come and go to various levels of success.
Well, if you miss the old days of an artist cultivating a name and persona, building a brand before striking out, look no further than internationally acclaimed Yaadcore. Born Rory Cha in Mandeville, JA, this jack of all trades, master of the vibe, built a devout following as a selecta for his own Dubwise Massive. Capitalizing on his popularity among the “set and sound”, Yaadcore has taken the plunge and blessed the masses with his debut album Reggae Land. With perfect timing, fans are now privy to one of the best debut albums in recent memory.
Lofty praise? Yes! But with the first few notes of the album’s slow, head-nodding opener Bee With Me, Yaadcore’s, ganja seasoned voice lets you know he’s fully bout that Rasta business. Grooving through my listen, I couldn’t help but give props on Yaad’s choices of artists by which to collab with. Ready Now, features both veteran and new jack contributions from I-Wayne and Pressure Busspipe over a horn-driven gem of a track. Jah9 absolutely blazes the hook with a well-placed ode to John Holt on Yaad’s stellar redux of Police In Helicopter, and one of my favorites on the album, Say That You Love Me featuring Jamaican pop singer Sarah Couch is sure to garner Yaadcore fans across multiple genres as the track is pure fire and versatile enough to blur the lines of r&b, pop, and reggae. Richie Spice, and legendary producer Lee “Scratch” Perry (RIP) also lend contributions on Nyquill and Play God respectively.
Classic Roots Sound
Don’t think for a second though that Yaad needs help to carry the album. He does just fine on the braggadocious Ball Game in which he lets reggae heads know that he’s here to stay in this game, a fact which I fully concur with. The album’s title track is a perfect vehicle for Yaad’s very, monotone, stream of conscious delivery that’s spread all over this rookie effort to powerful effect, and the hazy cut, Shrooms reaches uncharted territory touting the “medicinal” qualities of the kind of mushrooms that don’t go on a steak. My favorite track, however, and perhaps the album’s standout is Ghetto Youths. Referencing Marcus Garvey, Tenor Saw, and Marley all on the same song, Yaad manages to pull the listener into the beautiful struggle that is life in Jamaica for the poor and downtrodden. Neither condemning nor condoning, his lyrics let the uninitiated know that the home he loves is more than all-inclusive resorts and legendary Olympic sprinters and that there are scores of Jamaicans on both sides of the moral compass, longing for a better life. Throughout Reggaeland, it’s clear that Yaadcore is unapologetically true to the classic roots sound that has been the conduit for struggle, liberation, and self-consciousness. This fact coupled with Yaadcore’s stellar musicianship possessing a very “dub-centric” sound, makes this album a flat-out gem, and I’m certain, a top contender for album of the year.