Alkaline Hits ‘Top Prize’ With Recent Album Release

The self-styled ‘Detta Boss’ created waves in the dancehall scene with the release of his long-awaited album Top Prize which he had confirmed back in February. There were always going to be high expectations as this would be Alkaline’s second album following the release of his record-breaking New Level Unlocked project which he had dropped back in 2016. After five years without an album, and the standards that he had set with New Levels UnlockedTop Prize was met with much anticipation.

Taking the time to read through the tracklist on the album, four of the 14 songs featured on the album had already been released prior to the official album date. Hits like CreeDeh SuhTop Prize, and Ocean Wave had been released months earlier and had amassed a combined 39 million views on Youtube alone. The added fact that Alkaline performed acoustic versions of Cree and Ocean Wave on Audiomack’s Fine Tuned series truly set the tone for what was to come.

 

 

In an interview with the Caribbean blog, British Linkz, Alkaline explained that the album is a way to chronicle his experience and growth throughout his career.

“This album is timely as with my experiences, the lessons learned and growth over time, it is only fair that I bring everything full circle. All the Detta fans who have been a part of the movement from day one will appreciate it and even those who have just come to realize the fact will enjoy it… It bad! Lol,” Alkaline said.

And while speaking with the Gleaner, the ‘Detta Boss’ explained the album would be a showcase of his talents and creativity with his self-honed craft.

“Everything from meditation while bunning a spliff an’ ah easy, that is, conscious songs to chunes for the girls to dance to, getting rich and making money … it’s a variety of songs and crazy vibes,” said the artiste. “It’s like the ultimate prize for me, and that’s what I am giving as well, and once the Vendetta fans them happy … me will happy. Me did wah put more chune but management say save it for a next album. So, we focusing on the top prize, cause we nah stop rise.”

And the versatility of his songs was evident within the first few listens to the album. From the hard-hitting and poignant lyrics from songs like Cree, the album would then transition to the smooth flow and party vibe of Medicine before once again switching to the inspirational and personal lyrics found Ocean Wave as Alkaline writes about his success and climb to the top of his field, and not to mention the lyrical potent and fast tempo Payroll to close out the album.

Top Prize has been gathering critical acclaim in just a week after its release, with the album shooting instantly to the top of the iTunes Reggae charts within an hour of its release and number six worldwide. The album also instantly topped the Apple Music charts in Jamaica, and then topped the Apple Music Reggae chart worldwide, gathering steam day by day.

Top Prize also earned the acclaim of being the best-selling album this week in three categories on Amazon’s Music – Reggae, Caribbean, and Cuba and International.

All 14 of the songs have made the Deezer’s Top 100 playlist in Jamaica.

Alkaline, according to his publicist, is expected to set the record for being the first independent reggae-dancehall artiste to have their albums debut at #1 on the Billboard Reggae Album Charts. His 2016 project New Level Unlocked debuted at #1 and stayed there for 18 weeks, and Shuzzr Media (Alkaline’s publicist) is expecting Top Prize to achieve similar, if not, greater numbers.

Alkaline Top Prize Album
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DJ Khaled Pays Homage to Jamaica on New Album

DJ Khaled’s love for Jamaica has never been a secret. The internationally renowned DJ and producer has never been quiet about his appreciation for the small island’s culture and has even made trips to the island for work and recreation. In fact, a fair share of his success and rise to fame Khaled has credited to Jamaican music. The DJ started his work as a radio DJ and became known for frequently playing dancehall and reggae mixes. This led to the media personality forming lasting relationships with Jamaican personalities like Bounty Killer, Buju Banton, Sizzla, Mavado (who he would eventually sign to his label), and even the Marley family. So strong was his connection to the island that when the Jamaican cult classic, ‘Shottas’ was being filmed, Khaled was invited to make a cameo in the movie.

In his recent album, Khaled Khaled, which he released over a week ago, Khaled seemed to pay homage to the island with a dancehall infused track featuring Jamaican music royalties such as Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, and Capleton. The track Where You Come pays heavy respect to the country and brings together the first-ever collaboration between the three legends.

The track samples Barrington Levy’s reggae hit Under Mi Sensi from his album Here I Come and Levy also loaned his vocals to the track with his iconic adlibs and also appeared in the music video alongside his fellow artistes. Perhaps the unsung hero of the song, Levy’s adlibs and iconic voice seemed to be the icing of the cake that made the song an instant hit.

The best way I could perhaps describe this song would be a revival of the classic 80’s and 90’s reggae/dancehall sound superimposed over the modern dancehall and hip/hop fundamentals. The track seems to invoke a sense of nostalgia with the heavy-hitting lyricism of Capleton that did not seem an iota out of place when paired with the modern beat and production seen in DJ Khaled’s music. It proves that no matter the ear, these artistes have proven themselves to be current and timeless, and a fair representation of the reggae/dancehall sound.

For his part, Buju Banton seemed to be the main attraction of the song and looked to be enjoying himself as he voiced the chorus and celebrated the Rastafari religion, the unity of the Jamaican people, and the importance of the dreadlocks as a symbol (a common theme throughout the song).

“If unnu mess wid we, you aguh see a million/We natty congo long, just like the Amazon… Dem seh dreadlocks nuh play inna no bangarang/And anyweh we go, we stand strong, hear dat,” Buju Banton says throughout the chorus.

Capleton takes the first verse of the song, and his spiel does not disappoint. The Slew Dem hitmaker proved his prowess with a strong verse, where he has sung about the strength of the people, the habit of those in authority who use music and marijuana as the scapegoat for crime, and of course, the Rastafari religion. Capleton’s verse was one of warning and not dissimilar to his past records.

“Lowe the music, lowe the weed, a di poverty cause the crime/Anytime yuh see the rastaman, nuh ask fi mine/Vampires dem go inna the mask fi mine/Seh dem hunting blood samples, hard fi find,” said Capleton in his verse on the track.

My personal favorite feature on the song, Bounty Killer’s lyricism on the track is one to admire as the dancehall veteran proves why he is so highly acclaimed. His use of wordplay and double entendre made his message of revolution and change seem even more intense. Bounty Killer speaks out against the widescale poverty on the island and stands firm in his view of wealth and prosperity for those struggling financially.

“Premier League we have the Arsenal fi fight the revolutionary battle ‘cause only the bottle dem fi pour/Di youths dem fi rich, equal rights empowerment/Tell dem fi leave the sun fi shine or black rain will shower dem,” wrote Bounty Killer.

The music video for Where You Come From is available on YouTube.


Chronixx Safe n Sound

Chronixx ‘Safe N Sound’ Visual and Lyrical Masterpiece

The roll of thunder, an empty swing set, burning debris and an upturned bicycle wheel idly spinning in the smoke all make up the opening visuals for Chronixx’s recent release, Safe N Sound. Chronixx opens his 2021 account in terrific form as he heralds for change in what is arguably a visual and lyrical masterpiece.

The track, co-produced by Chronixx and Romaine “TeflonZincFence” Arnett, is Chronixx’s most recent release since he dropped So Brutal in November 2020.

The ominous – and almost, haunting – beat of Safe N Sound compliments the track’s dystopic visuals as, throughout the music video, the lone figure of Chronixx walks through scenes of burning debris and smoke. The dramatic video shots and editing give the sense of a post-apocalyptic world with Chronixx – born Jamar McNaughton – walking and performing through the chaff.
Chronixx has cemented his reputation as a conscious lyricist whose music often speaks about resilience, spirituality, and anti-war ideologies. Songs like Ghetto Paradise, Start a Fyah, and Ain’t No Giving In are just a few songs from his repertoire that brings across his perspectives and views of society.

In this new release, Chronixx – and not for the first time in his career – aims at the corruption and incompetency of the government, and heralds a message of love and greater unity from each person at a personal and community level.
“State of emergency and a bag a tension. Politicians doh have nuh development plan. That’s why every community needs a one don. One order, everybody fi unite. Nyabinghi order Rastafari,” sings Chronixx.

The smooth hook that follows the first verse shows his visions for a better community and a better Jamaica. Make no mistake, Chronixx speaks from a place of experience and wisdom, and just like his lyrics suggest, he wants nothing more than love and prosperity throughout the communities.

“More love flowing in the town, whole community safe n sound. Move love flowing in the street, work affi gwaan and food affi eat. More love flowing in the town, come on Jamaica tell me how mi sound.”

The duality of his lyrics makes for a truly riveting song and is reminiscent of his earlier track, Ghetto Paradise off his Chronology album. Back then, Chronixx described Jamaica as a ghetto paradise – a seemingly beautiful and perfect place but beneath the beauty lies sinister elements.

“Jamrock is a precious stone but still it’s far from a diamond, take it from I man,” Chronixx penned. “Even though Jamaica nice, you gotta live to save your life. After the sunset comes the darkness of the night.”

He carries a similar message in this when he moves from the hook speaking of love and unity and transitions into a spiel on the cyclical nature of crime in Jamaican society. The tone of the video suddenly switches as Chronixx’s message changes and the scene is suddenly lit with bright red light, as though looking through a sea of red.

“Look how much a wi son dem kill already. Look how much juvenile dem killing again. Future Shelly-Ann Frasers, Usain Bolts. Doctors, wi lawyers and all wi singer dem.”

Chronixx’s recent single, Safe N Sound, is another certifiable hit from the reggae musician and brings more messages of substance and resilience to his ever-growing catalogue.

Image and Video: Taken from the music video Safe n Sound by Chronixx. Watch on YouTube.