Album review written by Jen Cheshire
I became a fan of Jah Cure with “The Universal Cure”, his 2009 album. I loved the raw gritty lyrics of his “prison songs”. Since that album, I have been disappointed, as I felt that the rawness had gone. “Royal Soldier” has brought me back again.
“Royal Soldier”, Jah Cure’s first album in 4 years, has the love songs that his fans know and love him for, but it also has some songs about the harsh reality of life. There are several featured artists, including some from other music genres, making this a “Jah Cure and Friends” type album.
An acapella introduction starts the album with Jah Cure’s vision “I’m on the verge of making history. Ain’t nobody stopping me. I’m on the move. I’m on the move right now”.
The opening song, “Brighter Day” sets the tone of the album combining a sultry Latin rhythm with conscious lyrics, discussing the ever-increasing violence of street life in Montego Bay, and wishing for better times.
The following tracks also stood out for me:
“Marijuana ft Damian Marley” is probably the best ganja song I have heard since Bob Marley’s “Kaya”, it’s a love song to marijuana, with Damian Marley coming in and educating us on the many uses of the plant.
“Risk It All ft Phyllisia”, is one of the love songs on the album. After the release of “Unconditional Love” back in 2013, I have been waiting to see if Jah Cure would pair up with Phyllisia again as they create magic together, and I am not disappointed.
With “Eyes On Your Body” Jah Cure collaborates with Dru, Sketch Cary and Alx to bring a rap/dancehall/R&B fusion, showing that he isn’t just sticking with the reggae genre but spreading his wings across the board.
Another fusion track is “Magic ft Tory Lanez”. This track combines Jah Cure’s signature love theme with the rawness of Canadian rapper Tory Lanez.
“Life Is Real” has, once again, the theme of life on the streets. This song, featuring Popcaan and rapper Padrino, includes lines like, “In this life of mine, me come from nothing. Hustle too hard fi get sup’m In this life of grave, but you haffi stay thuggy. Streets a make a way for me”, illustrating how difficult it is to escape from that lifestyle.
Another stand out track is “Street Kings” on the “One Blood” riddim. This track, built around a classic Half Pint sample, features an impressive cast of veterans, Yami Bolo, Junior Reid and Capleton. Jah Cure says this closing track is his favorite on the album and I can see why. The song explains how poverty and hunger drive the youth to the streets but then it finishes with a powerful verse by Capleton warning them of the dangers of street life.
Take a generous amount of love songs, with which Jah Cure has become synonymous, mix these with conscious songs that cross over into other genres, and this album looks to be a surefire hit.
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