Various – Ganjaville Riddim

by Sep 7, 2022Reviews, Various

Ganjaville Riddim

Release Info

Oneness Records
Street date
September 2022
Website Label

01. Alborosie – Chase Babylon Away
02. Luciano & Lutan Fyah – Settle Down
03. Eek-A-Mouse & Lee “Scratch” Perry – Ganjaville
04. Tribal Seeds – Irie Up
05. Mellow Mood & Pressure Busspipe – Free up
06. Chezidek – Herb Dealer
07. Queen Omega – Floating
08. Naptali – High Grade Marijuana
09. Oneness Band – Ganjaville Riddim Instrumental
Okay so, when I saw what was going on with the brand new creation of longtime Achis Reggae favourites, Oneness Records, the Ganjaville Riddim, I distinctly made the decision to ignore it completely (basically) until the full set was released and I could sink my paws into it fully! Well, today (or a few days ago by the time you read this), that is exactly what happened as Oneness Records has brought forth their latest creation and, just as you would have expected based on their history, it is EXCELLENT. The Ganjaville Riddim once again finds the Germany based imprint teaming up with the residents of Reggaeville (biggup Da Ville) for the third time following the Reggaeville (a truly ridiculous decade old at this point) (time FLIES!) and Maad Sick Reggaeville Riddims, respectively.

If you’re new to their work, the easiest thing for me to tell you is that Oneness Records does fine work, particularly when it comes to (….well, pretty much everything they do, actually) riddims and I go into each and every release expecting big results and if I have ever been disappointed I cannot remember it and this is not an exception. So, if you’re not doing anything else, let’s take a quick, track-by-track look at the latest from one of the greatest to do it, the Ganjaville Riddim from Oneness Records… with its DELICIOUS selection of artists.

{Note: Probably didn’t write these in order so the writing should be really ba…. even more terrible than it usually is}

Chase Babylon Away by Alborosie

As I’ve said in the past, I have never been the biggest fan of Italian superstar, Alborosie’s – but I know that I am well within the minority on that (though I do, however, give him full credit for dropping what is probably one of the best hundred or so songs that I have ever heard from anyone, ‘I Wanna Go Home’ [“FOUR-THOUSAND MILES AWAY FROM BABYLON!”]. Though that is the case, I have to admit that I was very curious in hearing his effort on the Ganjaville, ‘Chase Babylon Away’, with my thinking that if anyone could make an Alborosie tune pop for me, it would surely be Oneness; and, for once, I was right.

‘Chase Babylon Away’ may just be my second favourite tune that Alborosie has done to date (I may be overlooking something). He delivers a comprehensive ganja tune with social ‘textures’ [“I got an app pon mi laptop, ah show mi where di cops at”], which is a JOY to listen to. The tune has a very nice old school vibes to it (which isn’t something I could say about every song here in case you think that it is a product of the riddim, itself), which has always been a specialty of Alborosie’s. While I will not be a prisoner of the moment and suddenly start saying I’m one of the artist’s biggest fans, I am a fan of this tune as the Ganjaville Riddim puts one of its best feet forward to get us started.

Settle Down by Luciano & Lutan Fyah

As far as I know, the earliest taste we would get of the Ganjaville was its first single (well that goes without saying doesn’t it! DUHHHH!) (what would REALLY be interesting is if the first time we heard it was on its SECOND single!), the MAMMOTH Settle Down an almost over-qualified combination between the legendary Luciano and Lutan Fyah, a pair of favourites of mine, Yours and Oneness’ as well. As I said about this one when I first heard it, Settle Down is rather easily one of the strongest pieces that I’ve heard in the first two-thirds of 2022, from anyone. “COOL” is the word that most comes to mind when I hear Settle Down. It’s just a cool song and it definitely does have a bit of further reaching impact as, should you be looking for a soundtrack to play while you ‘settle down’, you could do FARRRRRRRR worse than this tune which was put together with the best interest of your nerves in mind.

Ganjaville by Eek-A-Mouse & Lee “Scratch” Perry

For your riddim title track a pair of legends come together as Eek-A-Mouse links with the immortal Scratch Perry on a tune that leaps out at the listener on paper. If you’re even remotely familiar with this duo, you can probably predict fairly accurately what happens during the actual song which is as much of a PERFORMANCE as it is anything. It’s BIG and dramatic on EAM’s end with Scratch providing a most interesting contrast with his signature fragile vocals. What results is, easily, one of the (if not THE) most compelling listens on the riddim and everything you knew it would be when you saw who was involved as the Governor-Generals of Ganjaville turn in a winner.

Irie Up by Tribal Seeds

US based band Tribal Seeds make, at least for me, a rather surprising appearance on the Ganjaville and it is a rather pleasant one. I know who they are, but their contribution here, Irie Up may just be the very first tune that I have actually heard from Tribal Seeds (if it is not, it is one a very small group for me) and I am damn impressed. I do not know the lead singer for Tribal Seeds (I’ve found a pair of names), but whoever he is a full credit goes to him because his voice works perfectly on the Ganjaville. It is an excellent blend of easiness and passion (nice backing vocalists on Irie Up as well) and he uses it on a piece which doesn’t lack at all lyrically either, particularly during its latter portions. A big tune which I hope a few unfamiliar heads like myself take a closer listen to.

Free Up by Mellow Mood & Pressure Busspipe

Alborosie isn’t the only Italian represnting on the Ganjaville as band Mellow Mood turn in a FINE performance with their Free Up. I hear some familiar quality in the singer of MM (which is apparently either Jacopo or Lorenzo Garzia – twin brothers) (…because their twins, actually, it may be BOTH OF THEM) who reminds me slightly of the Protoge at times (biggup Protege) and he/they, like Tribal Seeds before them, has a very nice command of melody on Free Up. The chorus on this tune is SO incredibly basic that I found myself listening to it and waiting for something else to happen with it, but I have to say that it did eventually grow on me.

NOW! With all of that being said, someone who I didn’t expect to see here (for just the second time on a Oneness production, I think, after the lovely Goodness from the Better Days Riddim half a decade ago) pops up as guesting on Free Up is a favourite of everyone with ears, the great Pressure Busspipe who absolutely puts the Ganjaville Riddim to the sword with his two verses on Free Up.

Ganja mi ah bun, no bodda tell mi bout too much
How dem ah fight di herb?
Mi nah know a wah dat dem ah stir up
Chalice start to blaze, it’s like volcano start to erupt
When di herbs run out wi call di farmer fi a reup
Tell some politician haffi free up
Sight di Rastaman – you smell di herbs before you see us
Mellow Moods go find di herbs and now di party buck
Little bit of herbs is not enough
Farmer man woi
Strictly marijuana Pressure Busspipe enjoy
Tell mi how long di government ah destroy
Build up economics, everyone get employed
Seed inna soil

Marijuana is a nerve calmer
Smoke di herbs along di road or bouncing on di corner
Woman get di ganja and forget about di drama
Check di saga: Never tek no crack, cocaine or life will lead to harder
Stick you like a dagger
Get yourself together and lick di herbs pon up a di plaza
Mek sure you get di summin weh dem call di Zaza
Ten thousand pound a ganja dock inna yuh harbour
Pressure and Mellow Moods a lava!

Herb Dealer by Chezidek

What remains of the Ganjaville Riddim is next turned over to the far more than capable hands of Chezidek, who breathes all kinds of new life into it with what is currently my absolute favourite track on the riddim, the MAMMOTH Herb Dealer. The tune finds Chezidek taking matters into his own hands (herb entrepreneurship) with a SWEET delivery which goes all over the pace, including a verse where he basically RAPS the entire thing [“How mi fi be alright if mi no have a spliff fi light? Mi enter inna coffee shop, mi credit card swipe. Mi trying every strain, every draw, every type. Mi bun di marijuana like an exhaust pipe”]. Herb Dealer KEPT a smile on my face and although there is some big material here (already told you about a few of them, about to tell you about another couple of them), like I said, it reigns supreme on the Ganjaville for me.

Floating by Queen Omega

The overabundance of quality on the Ganjaville continues with the next tune in, Floating by one of my top…. five or so favourite artists ever, Trini Reggae empress, Queen Omega. Something happens on this tune, just as it does on the one preceding it which I will fully dig into in just a minute in closing (or whatever that turns out to be), but it is DELIGHTFUL! The vibes on Floating, as its name would suggest, are somewhere in the stars…. much like their creator, as I now sit here reconsidering my choice of the riddim’s finest tune.

So when you use it, just remember not to abuse it
Cause when some use it – dem do it, do it til dem lose it
So some refuse it, but I’m telling you don’t confuse it
It is a medicine and surely it is therapeutic
High Grade Marijuana by Naptali

“Mi nuh care wah dem ah say, Mi nah stop smoke, Even if dem waan fi take away mi passport”

And, WONDERFULLY, to wrap up the Ganjaville Riddim is an artist who Oneness brought to our attention more than a dozen years ago via one of the finest albums that I have ever heard, Long Journey, Naptali. His effort here, High Grade Marijuana also well ranks amongst the riddim’s finest pieces and does so in a couple of different ways. First of all, there’s just something which has become a signature of Naptali’s for me: That voice! A couple of songs ago I told you about Chezidek. Chezidek has a strange voice. I just told you about Queen Omega. When she presses it, Queen Omega has one of the most forceful voices in all of Reggae music.

Naptali doesn’t have either of those; instead, he has this almost laidback assertiveness (I used the word “weary” before thinking about it, but it isn’t weary at all. It isn’t tired, it’s calm) (were you to wake Naptali out of his deep sleep, he could probably sing this tune just as it sounds here immediately) and, when he’s at his best, and High Grade Marijuana is at least in the arena, it works almost perfectly for his brand of music. When I hear his music these days, it almost always makes me smile, just do the familiarity and nostalgia and I so look forward to new material from Naptali. Secondly, though no one may give him the credit for him (besides me, I’m going to do it), High Grade Marijuana is one of the best lyrical performances you will find on the Ganjaville. It is very impressive and in such a very natural and organic way.

Ganjaville Riddim Instrumental by Oneness Band

As for the Ganjaville Riddim, itself, it is immaculate. I’ve come to judge riddims on two primary levels with the first being its actual sound. The Ganjaville wins there, particularly on the strength of these gorgeous horns which alternate between dominating and existing in these wonderful bursts bouncing around that solid one-drop. The other area where a riddim needs to do well, for me, is how much it lends itself to vocalists. It doesn’t have to be easy (I may even prefer if it isn’t) or entirely accessible, but it should be able to produce a nice backdrop to a variety of different SKILLED artists. Even more so than just being nice music, that’s where the Ganjaville really shines for me. I alluded to this when speaking about Floating because it happens there and on Chezidek’s Herb Dealer – it GLOWS. The thing literally starts MOVING behind the vocals and, in doing so, it pushes both Chezidek and Queen Omega even higher.

I’ll resist being a prisoner of the moment and throwing some further reaching accolade on the Ganjaville Riddim, but if someone wanted to call it one of the greatest creations of Oneness Records to date, maybe I wouldn’t argue with that person very much (or a all, actually). I also like how the program is run with everyone sticking to the topic at hand and making for one well put-together project that you, YOU RIGHT THERE, need to make time to listen to. Fantastic.

Where to get it

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More Oneness Records Music

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