|Just a few weeks ago Artists Only! released Anthony B's More Love, and
happily springtime is closing out with a second full-length Anthony B
release, this time on VP Records.
That's Life is Anthony's fourth effort with VP. His debut, So Many Things
was one of the strongest debut's that the label's ever had (fueled at least
partially by the controversy behind the single "Fire Pon Rome"). A year
later, Anthony came with Universal Struggle and in 1999 released the very
strong Seven Seals. The 25-year-old has done quite a bit in the last
half-decade, with over 100 recorded songs under his belt and albums and
compilations with numerous labels, not to mention the scores of talented
Jamaican producers he's worked with over the years.
Anthony's discs always start out strong, and That's Life is no different. On
"Good Life," the album's opener, he chats over the excellent Beres Hammond
riddim that soared Half Pint to the top of the charts last year on "Just Be
Good." Righteous lyrics and an uplifting riddim: there's no better way to
start things off.
But Anthony doesn't stay lighthearted for long. On "Dirty Heart" and "Fire
Pon Di Government" (what could be considered a follow-up to his enormously
popular, and controversial, "Fire Pon Rome" in 1996), Anthony rips corrupt
officials both in Jamaica and the U.S. "Fire Pon Di Government" features one
of Anthony's most seething verses where he declares that "Jah Jah mek
Guillani catch cancer." The fight for change, fortunately, hasn't stopped
with Anthony B.
Anthony covers Peter Tosh's legendary "Equal Rights" inna fine style,
bringing Sly & Robbie in to provide the backing. And while Anthony
experimented with a ska sound with "Marley Memories" on Universal Struggle,
this time around he toys with an old school R&B sound on the catchy, upbeat
Anthony even manages to take riddims that would sound lackluster with other
DJs and make them sound powerful. One example is "Dust 'Em Out," where
Anthony takes a relatively standard dancehall Massive B dancehall track and
thickens it up with his signature spiritual lyrics.
Other solid tunes include the well-produced "Rally Round" (produced by
Diavallan Fearon), the bass-heavy "Lock the Guns Dem" (with production by
Morgan Heritage), and the album's mellow closer "I Will Never Bow Down,"
where Anthony reaffirms his commitment to his Bobo Rasta background and his
There aren't many down points on That's Life. Even the few subpar tracks
(like the title track and "Wave Off the Crosses") are heads and shoulders
above standard dancehall tracks.
VP's made a nice change in Anthony B's packaging this time around, opting to
include lyrics in addition to the regular liner notes. And once again,
Anthony B and VP Records proves to be a killer team. Lots of good tunes and
positive vibes that help remind the listener that's it's not enough to listen
to music, you have to let it affect you and inspire you to be an activist for
what you feel is righteous.