Blackout JA & Liondub – Keep On Rising
01. Ghetto Angel feat. Tanya Stephens & Apollo
02. Headshot feat. Chatta B
03. Take Time aka John Crow Say
04. Keep On Rising feat. Johnny Osbourne, Jahdan Blakkamoore & Metric Man
05. Jamaica feat. Daddy Freddy, YT, da Fuchaman, Frisco Banton, Rebel MC, Top Cat & Navigator
06. Love You Won’t Stop
07. Woman Antem feat. Predita & Rumble
08. Lyrical Explosion
09. Mama Nature feat. Zajori
10. Sound Murdara feat. Ricky T
11. Telephone Chalwa
12. Waltham Park
13. Survive feat. Mowty Mahlyka
14. Unstoppable feat. Rumble
15. Warrior feat. Daddy Freddy & Rumble
16. Son Of Nanny feat. Congo Natty & Jayden
Current State Of Dancehall
The current state of dancehall music is a widely discussed topic on the internet, with artists, producers, and fans all offering their opinions. According to dancehall artist Tu-Lox in an interview with The Gleaner’s Sade Gardner, one of the main issues affecting dancehall is its Americanisation, which has resulted in the loss of the genre’s uniqueness. He argues that labeling the new sound as trap dancehall is misleading because it deviates from traditional dancehall in terms of sound and riddims. Online forums also reveal fan comments expressing disappointment with the quality of dancehall music, claiming that autotune and weak riddims have turned it into a mere shadow of its former self. Some fans even find the current dancehall sound disgusting and hope that it will eventually fade away as a passing fad. However, there are also those who argue that the new era of dancehall is simply a reflection of a globalized and Americanised subculture, influenced by the post-millennial generation. One has to accept that this specific style of dancehall music has gained popularity and has become trendy amongst today’s youth.
Having grown up listening to 1980s dancehall music is the reason why an album like Keep It Rising by Blackout JA and Liondub makes the heart skip a beat. Whether it’s popular and trendy or not, this is the kind of music that really causes excitement when it comes blasting out of the speakers. After releasing 12 singles and the 2021 released album Love Dancehall over the past three years, the UK-based Jamaican artist Blackout JA and NY-based DJ and producer Erik Weiss aka Liondub return with a highly anticipated second album called Keep It Rising. Adapting the name Blacklion Movements, they act as a musical group with their main objective being the creation of the best in modern digital roots reggae and dancehall.
Similar to its predecessor, Keep It Rising showcases a captivating lineup of musicians and artists from all corners of the globe. Well-known figures such as Tanya Stephens, Johnny Osbourne, Jahdan Blakkamoore, Daddy Freddy, YT, Rebel MC, Top Cat, and Congo Natty make appearances, alongside lesser-known talents like Apollo, Chatta B, Zajori, Navigator, Predita, and Rumble. While Blackout JA takes the spotlight on only five tracks, the remaining eleven feature additional artists collaborating with him. While this may not typically be favored, in this case, it adds immense value to the album, expanding its diversity through their contributions.
Consciousness & Pure Fire
Blackout JA, an artist whose vocal delivery is reminiscent of successful Jamaican artists Buju Banton and Assassin aka Agent Sasco, is renowned for his conscious lyrics over hardcore dancehall beats. Once again, he delivers a powerful 16-track album filled with consciousness and pure fire that will set dance halls worldwide ablaze. Blackout JA and his collaborators push boundaries on this album, exploring all flavors of dubwise and dancehall influences from the full soundsystem spectrum. The Keep It Rising album features relicked versions of familiar classic Studio One riddims such as Pressure & Slide, Skylarking, Answer, and Throw Mi Corn, as well as beloved ’80s dancehall burners like Boops and Punanny. Additionally, fresh original tracks like Slow Cyart, Hello, Passion, Survive, and Soap are featured, creating a diverse and thrilling listening experience.
With a total of sixteen tracks and a runtime of sixty-four minutes, it’s clear that Keep On Rising is a lengthy album, regardless of its quality. However, this doesn’t mean it should be labeled as ‘boring’. While not every track is outstanding, the album as a whole manages to keep the listener engaged. Standout moments include the compelling narratives of senseless killings in the opening tracks Ghetto Angel and the impactful Head Shot, the impressive title track Keep On Rising, the infectious Woman Anthem, the earnest yet uplifting tune Mama Nature with its dynamic breaks, the thought-provoking social commentary in Unstoppable, and the final track Son Of Nanny that brings the album to a close.