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Fikir Amlak - King of Kings

Fikir Amlak - King of Kings

Fikir Amlak - King of Kings

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The lyrical message is abundantly Rastafarian focused, positive and descriptive.


Fikir Amlak, the performance name taken by Puerto Rican-born and Los Angeles-based roots reggae vocalist Andres Estrada, roughly translates as “Jah love” in Amharic, Ethiopia’s official language. Although Estrada might seem like an emerging talent, he’s actually been recording since 2005. To date he’s released four albums, including the 2012’s The Lion Lives. For his latest offering, King of Kings, he’s linked with Hawaii’s Jah Youth Productions crew (Rob Symeonn, Daweh Congo, Perfect Giddimani) for a set that really showcases his unique vocal presence.

Fikir Amlak - Kings Of KingsOn songs like “Chantaman,” Estrada’s cadence alternates between staccato, militant verses, and meditative, relaxed choruses. Imagine Jahdan Blakkamore trading verses with Midnite’s Vaughn Benjamin and you get an idea of Estrada’s complex vocal style. The new album feels like a step forward for this singer. Tracks like “Train” and “Affi Roar” have catchy, sing-song choruses that linger after the track fades out. Acoustic guitar floats through “Ah So,” a track that harkens back to the sound of Ijahman Levi or perhaps Virgin Island artists such as Army.

Throughout the album the lyrical message is abundantly Rastafarian focused, positive and descriptive. Take, for instance, “Fya,” where all three of these qualities are woven into the song. Estrada sings, “When I wake fya keeps me warm, when I cook food fya must blaze on, when I need light fya must turn on…” and so on. It’s a simple message, but effective in context. Overall, King of Kings takes what Estrada, as Fikir Amlak, does best (clever vocals and songwriting) and unites it with one of the most progressive modern roots production outfits. Together they make music fit for a king.

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