|In the past five years, a young Jamaican DJ named Anthony B has become the
symbol of reggae's future: full of fire, passion, inspiration, and
spirituality. Perhaps I've felt a close connection with him because we're
about the same age. Or maybe it was that I remember interviewing him when he
released his first album on VP back in 1996. Or it could have been meeting
him briefly in 1998 and confirming that he is the man he is on stage.
Whatever the case, there's no doubt -- even considering my bias -- Anthony B
is one of the most important figures in modern reggae.
I've thoroughly enjoyed each one of his offerings from VP (even naming So
Many Things to my 10 Essential Reggae Albums list) as well as his dozens of
singles he's released over the last few years. So, of course, it was with
anticipation that I listened to Artists Only! latest Anthony B release, "More
The leading track is `Straight Can't Lean,' which originally appeared on
Morgan Heritage's "Friends & Family Volume 2." Production is solid and
Anthony is confrontational as ever. Other solid tracks include `Yard and
Broad' which brings Anthony closer to the singjay style he displayed on "So
Many Things." `My Story' which pairs Anthony with Robert Ffrench on vocals
(Ffrench is an even more talented vocalist than producer), and the album's
closer, `Clean Heart.' The majority of the tracks on the disc are strong,
but Anthony always seemed to work best with the Star Trail posse.
Nevertheless, the cuts here are still head and shoulders above most current
The one track I didn't care for was `Rolling Down the Street,' a track based
on Snoop Dogg's `Gin & Juice.' The hook is replaced by: "Rolling down the
street, smoking indo, / Sippin' on Bobo roots, / Laid back... / with my mind
on weed and weed on my mind." Not terribly innovative, and out of all the
hip-hop tracks for Anthony to use as a basis for his hook, "Gin & Juice" is
probably the least in line with his own beliefs. While the drum track is
strong, the production as a whole is lacking.
The majority of tracks are produced by Robert Ffrench (anyone remember that
album he did with Heavy D?) with the remainder produced by Morgan Heritage
(`Straight Can't Lean'), M. Coburn (`Rolling Down the Street'), Jah Mike, M.
Coburn, and L. Ward (`Folly Ground'), and Kennedy Int'l (`Universal Joy').
While "More Love" is as strong as any of VP's releases, it still manages to
be a good addition to Anthony's quickly-expanding catalog. The main bone of
contention is that 11 tracks is just too few -- it's not like there's a
shortage of quality singles to choose from... it would have been nice to fill
the disc out a bit more.
For more information, visit www.artistsonly.com.