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Protoje - The 8 Year Affair

Protoje - The 8 Year Affair

Protoje - The 8 Year Affair

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Saint Elizabeth's son sidesteps second album syndrome.

Sampler

Protoje’s 2011 debut the '7 Year Itch' soundtracked his journey from potential college graduate to reggae artist. Concept album number two, titled the '8 Year Affair', charts a new journey: towards a more serious roots and culture vibration – yet maintaining its predecessor’s instinct for an infectious hook and a radio-friendly feel.

Protoje - The 8 Year AffairProtoje and producer cousin Corleon began the project prior to their 2012 European tour. But witnessing a Barrington Levy performance and seeing how Oje’s love of early 80s Sly & Robbie productions was reciprocated abroad led them to revisit and inject this era into its sound. Meanwhile the carefree lyrical hedonism of Itch has given way to the gifted deejay and sufficient singer’s overt championing of Rastafari themes.

Fans of previous career high-point Our Time Come (pulled from the '7 Year Itch' due to clearance issues over its Burning Spear sample) will be pleased to see a continuation in this “old meets new” vein. It was already apparent on fourth single: the Dudus-themed Ini Kamoze do-over Kingston Be Wise. And it is also to be found in the previously unheard I&I (replete with Sly & Robbie Syn-drum) and an Errol Dunkley looping cover of Black Cinderella (devised by multi-instrumentalist Sean Roberts AKA Mo-Zhai). The decision, after some deliberation, to include the Niko Browne produced hit This Is NOT A Marijuana Song (on Lifeline’s relick of the Rockfort Rock rhythm) gives the overall set a considerable boost.

Yet this is still more of a record for Rodigan than, say Jah Shaka. Romantic collabs such as Someone Like You with Tessane Chin represent a soft filling beyond the tough crust of the roots numbers. Don Corleon’s beloved nylon-string guitars open the “journey overview” title track, and the love ballad Come My Way (garnished with Mo-Zhai‘s soaring violin). The player’s swagger surfaces on Around The World featuring Chris Watts – as Protoje tells his squeeze of fighting off amorous advances. But these songs display a more respectful view of women than Arguments, Roll, or No Lipstick on Itch.

The final coda reaches a cultural high with the deeply spiritual Hail Rastafari and closing mission statement Music From My Heart – where the St Elizabethan promises his mother, Lorna Bennett “I’m making music from my heart not music for the charts”. That he does this over a deadly vintage rhythm to a catchy melody sums up the transitional nature of the album (and its well-brought-up wordsmith from the country singing searing social commentary).

Second albums, so received industry wisdom states, are tricky. And if, you’ve already achieved your dream of stepping out from a famous family to become a success with record one, the possible pitfalls are many. Thankfully, Protoje and Don Corleon have created enough sense of musical and lyrical progression while still keeping a common sonic thread. Expect them to go deeper for part three.

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Read comments (1)


Posted by Vincenz_tha_lion on 06.29.2013
THis is one of the HOTTEST albums in years.

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