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I’m going to start off my review with this, 5 years ago when Bebble Rocker Kabaka Pyramid hit us with Kontraband, his first album which was produced by Damian “Jr Gong” Marley, I thought it was a near perfect album.  I still think it is one of the best albums released in the last five years.  So when it was announced he would be releasing a new album, I was so excited to hear it, but also a little worried, how can he top Kontraband?  He worked with Jr Gong again producing the sophomore album, with Stephen Marley and Young Pow as well.  The fifteen-track album has reggae artist he normally collaborates with in Damian Marley, Black-Am-I, Protoje, Jesse Royal and new contributors Buju Banton, Stephen “Ragga” Marley and Jemere MorganThe Kalling is an evolution of his craft, his lyrics, his music, and his growth.

The album starts off with a sample of Peter Tosh and his 1979 hit "Mystic Man", we hear Peter Tosh;  “cause I'm a man of the past, and I'm living in the present, and I'm walking in the future.”  This is a song that celebrates both music artists as Kabaka explains why he thinks they are both Mystic Men. You get the feeling it will be a roots reggae tune, but he turns into a nice hip-hop/reggae track.  "Red Gold and Green" and "Kontraband 2" have Damian and Kabaka teaming up again with sizzling lyrics and reggae roots/dancehall beats and rhythms.  "Red Gold and Green", Kabaka says is the most important song on the project, it is about the symbolic meaning to the colors and Rastafari principle of balanced lifestyle.  "Kontranad 2"is a sweet hip-hop song with typical lyrics from both artists. He did two tracks with Jemere Morgan, the first being Grateful, which starts with a soulful 70’s sound and then switches up tempo and vibes as Kabaka hits real hard with his fast rapping and amazing lyrics. These two work so well together with Jemere’s beautiful singing matched with Kabaka’s amazing lyrics.  On "Energy", we here more soulful singing by Jemere with passionate lyrics and vibes from Kabaka.  This is a funky, fun song.  You can’t help but get up and dance. 

Whether it is "Make Things Work", about putting in your proper work ethic, Or "Stand Up" with Nathalia, about many of the issues going on it todays world and how we can do something to make a change. To "Mr. Rastaman" with Tifa about the difference between Rasta vs non-Rasta life.  On this Latin-infused rhythm, Tifa hits slow and sexy which matches perfectly with Kabaka answering to her line after line.  And with "Addiction", produced by Stephen Marley, Kabaka criticizes our world and its addiction to social media with an irie hip-hop and roots slower beat.  Each track with great beats, rhythms, collaborations and of course lyrics with great messages. 

"The Kalling" is his first collaboration with Stephen Marley which also has Protoje and Jesse Royal taking turns on the lyrics.  This may be one of the most important songs on the album, urging the yutes to represent the Rasta culture and to help them find some light in this modern-day darkness.  “When yuh tek up Rasta banner do nuh tek fi nuh joke, it's more than the locks upon yuh head and what yuh smoke. The words dem that yuh spoke, the energies yuh evoke, them must be a reflection of the king!” This brings us to my favorite track on the album (which is really hard with so many great tracks), "Fade Away" with Buju Banton.  This was a huge shock to see Buju on a song with Kabaka, because Buju usually only works with a small group of artists.  These are two of my favorite music artists and they work so well together.  I would love to see more collaborations between them.  This takes me back to the 90’s with a solid Buju-esque vibe from back in the day, with a nice modern feel with Kabak’s style and lyrics.  Buju hits so hard like always and Kabaka flows so well.  And an additional surprise is hearing Junior Byles with the chorus from his song "Fade Away", bringing three generations of reggae together on this masterpiece. 

I know why Kabaka Pyramid is the Lyrics Deity.  He put me at ease, because this has topped Kontraband, and while Kontraband is still one of my top albums the past five years, The Kalling may be my favorite album.  "The Kalling is really about my journey in music being for a higher purpose, not just to get rich or popular, but to inspire a higher vibration in whoever listens. While the majority seek pleasure and sense gratification, there are a few who the Most High kall upon to keep the balance inna earth. Music is what I use to answer the kall and you can feel it throughout this album." This quote from Kabaka sums it up best, this is about his journey, and not just about putting out new music, it has a higher purpose, it inspires that higher vibration. 

One Love - Todd


DIGITAL RELEASE [Ghetto Youths International]

Release date: 09/30/2022


01. Mystik Man feat. Peter Tosh
02. Red Gold and Green feat. Damian Marley
03. Make Things Work
04. Grateful feat. Jemere Morgan 
05. Stand Up feat. Nathália
06. Safe Right Here
07. Mr. Rastaman feat. Tifa
08. The Kalling feat. Stephen Marley, Jesse Royal & Protoje
09. Faded Away feat. Buju Banton
10. Addiction
11. Energy feat. Jemere Morgan 
12. Mary Jane feat. Black-Am-I
13. EZ Ride
14. Life Is Everything feat. Answele
15. Kontraband Pt. 2 feat. Damian Marley 


Damian Marley


Buju Banton Protoje Jesse Royal Stephen Marley Damian Marley Jemere Morgan Black-Am-I Tifa Peter Tosh


Todd Judd

Photojournalist - Pennsylvania

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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