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Suns of Dub Salute Sly & Robbie

Suns of Dub’s new Journey to Baltimore EP unites several generations of reggae and dub, both on record and in tribute. The EP contains three versions of the same riddim, a dub version of “Baltimore,” the Randy Newman cover that Sly & Robbie produced for The Tamlins back in 1980. The lyrics to the original song paint a bleak picture of the streets of Baltimore: “Oh Baltimore/Man, it’s hard just to live.”

The mournful, billowing dub sound of Journey to Baltimore matches that grim, gritty feeling. Addis Pablo, one half of Suns of Dub (with producer Ras Jammy) and son of one of dub’s great innovators, Augustus Pablo, adds some wailing lines on his father’s signature instrument, the melodica. But the real highlight of the mix is Queen Omega (one of the two guests on the EP, along with veteran singer Mikey General). The Trinidadian performer transitions from impressively warbling singing into an explosive, husky rapping style, laying into her opening line, “Too many soldiers lost them lives on the battlefield.” Fighting hard times with melodica and the fiery voice of Queen Omega, the EP shows that the dub formula of the elder Pablo and Sly & Robbie is still kicking in the new generation. You can hear the whole thing below:

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