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U Brown Rougher than the Rest Review

Album. Released 2002.  

BBC Review

Jah Warrior and U Brown define what it is to live in the UK, absorb Jamaican origins...

Greg Whitfield 2002

Stripped down to raw bass and drum dynamics, Jah Warrior has clearly gone to great lengths to make this disc a "personal platform" for the man U Brown; for his lyrical expression and his musical message.Energetic and witha serious focus, the lyrics are chanted with force and at times veer into "singjay" territory.

"Jah is my Strength" is the hardest track here, backed up by Dougie's rude and boisterous syn drum patterns spiralling over the surface of the mix, Twinkle Brothers style, and Jah Warrior's melancholy and thoughtful piano melody broods in the background.

"Jammin Straight from Yard" is a storming Hip Hop dub fusion with U Brown effortlessly chanting, "hip hop inna rub a dub style, I want the world to know we versatile." The bass is a fluid boom, sounding like it was sampled from an old Charlie Mingus acoustic bass groove, and the drums sound like they originated on an old skool Blue Note or Impulse album.

"Youths Take it Easy" features a beautiful plaintive lyric and melody from Alton Ellis, and it will be particularly pertinent to the UK listeners right now. For the Prince Alla fans, there are DJ versions to the tracks "Glory" and "Upon Jah Mountain", both distinctive for their serious bass lines.

"Shine your Light" ends the album in fine style with its reworking of the "Declaration of Rights" bass drop and featuring good lyrical turns from U Brown: "Bad minded people always give I a fight, I don't know why they come with them big plastic smile, but when me check it out, enough of them a reptile ! So Jah Jah Shine your light so I can see clearly, in every walk of life."

In the tradition of great UK roots artists such as Dennis Bovell, Mafia and fluxy, Adrian Onu Sound, Gussie P and the Disciples, artists like Jah Warrior and U Brown are defining what it is to live in the UK, to be brought up closely with deeply felt roots music, to absorb those Jamaican origins and then produce genuinely innovative and authentic UK roots and culture music.

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