Ever since our recent trip to Kingston, we’ve been talking about the “reggae revival” that has been sweeping the Jamaican music scene. While it seems impossible to pin down any particular reason for the return to a more conscious orientation (although some combination of an increasing exhaustion with dancehall’s rampant slackness combined with the enervating absence of scene kingpin Vybz Kartel seems likely) the movement certainly has legs. Chronixx, the first artist from the scene to break into the mainstream, has since been joined by compatriots like Kabaka Pyramid, Raging Fyah, and Protoje.
This strength and depth of this cohort is well reflected in the latest mix from DJ Yaadcore, a longtime supporter of the scene, and the first (at least according to his website) to play Chronixx or Kabaka Pyramid songs on the national radio. The mix, which moves well from song to song without tarrying on any of them for too long, does an excellent job at presenting the strengths of the music this young generation of artists has produced in the last few years. Without abandoning the density or flow of modern dancehall, they self-consciously refer back to an earlier era of Jamaican music, employing both a more traditional reggae sound and a more “spiritual” lyrical focus, while utterly eschewing the gun and sex talk that dominated the Gaza/Gully era. While the rooted positivity and upstroke heavy riddims can get exhausting over the course of an album, the diversity of the artists presented in this mix make it an excellent place to delve into the intoxicating sound.