Stephen Marley / Mind Control

The fact that the Marley children have managed to rise to the challenge of their legendary father and not only pursue music, but to do it so well is amazing. Stephen Marley's solo debut "Mind Control" manages to do what his father's albums did so masterfully -- crossover. Not in a Shaggy/Akon manner but in the Marley way. Good music has echoed around the globe and reached the ear of the entire African diaspora. Due to satellites, the internet and relatively cheap airline fares, the diaspora is becoming less of a diaspora and more of a community. The album proves that the gap between a young brother in Jamaica, Ghana or Washington D.C.--while big globally--is nothing spiritually or socially. He has already scored an international hit with the song "Traffic jam," Jamaica’s answer to BDP's "Sound of the Police." "Traffic Jam" is a direct shot at Jamaica's infamously corrupt police force, known for harassing and murdering the local citizens for using and trafficking in marijuana -- the island's main cash crop (the world's largest cash crop). Stephen fires off, "he say let me see your license and your registration/ and where are you headed?/ what’s your occupation?/ don’t know sir ragamuffin nah gon answer questions/ as it says on the paper read the information/ for mi nah gon take no street side interrogation/ so book mi if you book mi carry mi down to station." One of the album's best tracks, "Chase Them," refers to crooked politicians getting chased out of town on top of a cool roots rhythm that will bring chills as you realize that Bob lives on. "Lonely Avenue" sounds like a cross between roots reggae, a spiritual hymn and Al Green. The hook is a simple, hauntingly painful belted straight from his soul as he cries for his lost love. The mighty Mos Def makes an appearance on "Hey baby," a smooth track where they both floss the half-singing, half-rapping cadences which they both are famous for -- the two complement each other well. "Mind Control" does not have to sell well to do his father proud, its content and Stephen's musical talent are heavy and apparent. Stephen has played the background for much of his life choosing up to this point to be one of the main driving forces behind his many siblings' recordings. His production and vocal credits can be found on his brothers Ziggy, Damian and Julian’s albums. Although he is lesser known publicly than his older brother Ziggy or his younger Damian. He has won five Grammys for his vocal and production work. With this album he places himself among the ranks of his father and his father's hero, Dennis Brown.

(Ahmal Grant)

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