These days the ideals of RastafarI seem to be far from the minds of many Jamaican artists, guys like incarcerated Vybs Cartel, Tommy Lee Sparta etc is as far from conscious as you can get. One of the artists who carry the revolutionary torch of RastafarI high though is Chronixx. His new sophomore album, “Chronology” released the 7th of July has been highly anticipated. The first reactions I have read online are mixed, some are not overly excited about the crossover qualities of “Chronology”. Im usually one of those persons, as an Reggae artist you have to walk a fine line to make a crossover/fusion album that does not alienate both of the audiences you’re trying to court. I’m going to be brutally honest, most Reggae artists fail miserably at this.
This album starts with “Spanish town rocking”, one of the best songs on here, it’s flawless. Chronixx has an amazing voice and is equally adept at singing and chanting. His voice is soft, smooth and he has an amazing flow. It’s a feel good song, kinda nostalgic, reminiscing about way back when. Skip another tune and we get to “Skanking sweet” where he sings about how everyone wants to be happy and how Reggae can help you. It’s also super smooth and although it’s not a love song its perfect when having quality time with your woman. Smile Jamaica is another great song where he sings about Jamaica, it’s future etc….
The first 6 tunes is str8 up Reggae and the remaining 10 songs have more of an “neo soul” vibe to them. Folks who like artists like “Erika Badu”, “Raphael Sadique” etc will love them. As far as message is concerned they are still Rasta and conscious. Im a casual connoisseur of “urban music” and “Neo soul” (i think “Misseducation of Lauryn Hill” is a masterpiece) so I don’t mind this curveball, out of these songs I love “Selassie children” and “Tell me now”. The only song i don’t like is the country/rock flavored “Christina”. Folks who demands strictly Reggae from start to finish may not like the bulk of this album but i love it.
In the nowadays, very local Jamaican music scene “Chronixx” is one of the few artists whit an international appeal. He’s been performing at American late night talk shows, his first album where released by an British label etc…. He would be a fool to not try and build on his international reputation and try to mix up the str8 roots vibes with current urban music such as R&B, Hip-hop and electronica. This is an album that is very easy on the ears, it’s slick and well produced without rough edges. But “Chronixx” still manages to stay true to his roots, it still has thought provoking lyrics and an unmistakable Reggae vibe to it. We need artists like this, who are able to draw in the mainstream audience while still managing to keep his core audience. I’d go as far as to say this is the future of Reggae and that I like it.