Derajah Meets The 18th Parallel – Prosperity

by Oct 9, 2023Artist, Reviews

Derajah Meets The 18th Parallel - Prosperity

Release Info

Label
Fruits Records
Format
CD / LP / DR
Street date
October 6, 2023
Contact
Website Record Label
Website Artist

Tracklist

1. Babylon A Quake
2. Dub Quake
3. Gwaan And Low Me (Extended)
4. I Man Beam
5. I And I Dub
6. Old John Crow
7. Dub Crow
8. Nil Rome
9. Annihilation Dub
10. Row Fisherman
11. Fisherdub

Fruits Records, the Swiss record label that in recent years has earned a reputation for its high-quality releases, has finally released Derajah’s highly anticipated full-length studio album. Entitled Prosperity, this 11-track collection is a remarkable achievement, showcasing the immense talent of everyone involved in the project. This includes Derajah, the respected Jamaican singer/songwriter, the exceptional studio band The 18th Parallel along with their guest musicians. Additionally, backing vocalists Quentin Sterne, Julien Plaza & Maria Smith, French mixing engineer Westfinga, and Marc Ismail of Soul of Anbessa Records have also played an important role in bringing this album to life.

Derajah aka Jah Youth

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, at the end of the golden age of reggae, Deraja Mamby aka Derajah aka Jah Youth grew up in a balanced family, surrounded by two sisters, one brother and his parents. Just like the majority of Jamaican artists he was confronted with two musical worlds. One musical world is reggae, street music, the national pride that resonates constantly on every corner, the other is that of the songs sung in church. Thus Derajah grew up with the music of Bob Marley, Sugar Minott, and international artists such as Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson, as well as ‘churchical songs’ (hymns). However it was his cousin Black Pearl, a locally known artist, who pushed him towards a musical career. After leaving school, young Derajah started to hang around sound systems, looking for a chance to get his turn on the mic. It was not until he began to take a look in the song books of his cousin that he started to understand the forms of writing and the construction of a song. His recording career started in 2002 with the song Righteousness Just A Flow for singer/producer Sugar Minott. Six years after his debut with Minott’s Youthman Promotion, Derajah partnered with venerable session guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith who let him join the Inna De Yard camp. With “Chinna” Smith, Derajah co-produced Who Yeah Yah which has become his signature tune. That particular song and then Well Ah O appeared on albums that were released between 2005 and 2009 by the now defunct Makasound label as part of their acclaimed Inna De Yard series. It won him fans in Europe, where he performed several times. Derajah also spent time in France recording with Donkey Jaw Bone, marking the release of his 2011 debut album, Paris Is Burning.

Sophomore Album

Unlike many of his peers, Derajah isn’t a high prolific artist, with only a few singles and contributions to three Inna De Yard albums over the past ten years. However, his work is known for its quality rather than quantity. The story of Derajah’s sophomore album began when members of Fruits Records visited Jamaica for a tour and recording. During their time there, they encountered Derajah multiple times, but never had the opportunity to collaborate. Despite this, a strong bond was formed that extended beyond just music. Years later, a single phone call was all it took to kickstart the album creation process. The rest is now history.

Topnotch Collection

As expected, the collection of songs in this album is absolutely delightful and of the highest quality. Derajah takes the opportunity to stimulate thinking and awareness in his listeners with this release, starting off with the impressive and previously released single Babylon A Quake. The standout feature here is the great blend between the vocals and the riddim. Derajah fearlessly takes on the powerful deep roots riddim and turns it into one of the album’s most memorable moments. Dub Quake follows, allowing listeners to fully appreciate the strength and impact of the riddim once again. Babylon A Quake is not the only vocal piece that is accompanied by its dub version. With four other vocal tracks having dub versions following them, this album can be considered as a Showcase album. The only exception is Gwaan And Lowe Me, which is a slow burner, that doesn’t have a dub variation. With a stunning roots reggae riddim as its foundation, I Man Beam is a standout track that offers listeners an incredible sonic experience, much like the opening track. The tempo picks up with Old John Crow, a beautiful song that only improves with each listen. Its dub version is absolutely mind-blowing and should be played at maximum volume. Musically, Nil Rome is destined to have heads rocking, and it also delivers an important message. The final vocal track, Row Fisherman, is pure gold and is the kind of song that stays with you long after listening. The dub version, Fisherdub, is the perfect way to wrap up this topnotch collection.

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