Review: Macka B - Rasta Soldier EP
Named after the ‘Maccabees’ - Judean rebels from a long forgotten era - Macka B’s new Rasta Soldier EP comes hot on the heels of the well received album Change The World, which he released earlier this summer. After more than 20 albums and 30 years making music, this EP persists with the pattern that has made Macka B a name in all reggae households. It is comprised of 6 message-laden provocative tracks. The direction befits that expected from an ‘old school’ chart topping practising Rastafarian, with one foot still firmly placed toasting in the dancehall.
This EP kicks off with the title track Rasta Soldier. Reiterating many of the old Rasta themes, with ‘I and I soldiers fighting for truth and rights .. and we never give up the fight’, it also concludes inna dub stylee.
Innocent Life, pointing the finger directly at the gun and knife wielding murderers marauding our streets. Given recent headlines reporting mass murder in so many countries under a host of guises, this is a timely warning to all that: ‘if you take an innocent life, you’re a murderer’. The finger pointing also extends to soldiers, police officers and vigilantes as ‘nobody should be above the law’. Trailing off in dub version this track may not set the dancehall stomping, but it sure should get them thinking about the false allure of gun culture.
For those of us old enough to have seen Bob Marley perform ‘in the flesh’, the (next) Old Fashioned track certainly hits the spot. Accusing the youth of adhering too easily to the (sheep) herd instinct, it’s doubtful if they will flock to align with Macka B’s ‘old fashioned values, manners, respect, standards’. Complaining that he cannot do everything that they want him to do, Macka B is nevertheless ‘up to speed’ with computers and iPhones. But he has no plans to start tweeting or changing his ways, as the track winds up to an engaging dub version.
The Never Leave My Culture track moves the agenda along Macka B’s political-spiritual scales, with forcibly-delivered lyrics explaining that his culture is ‘part of his persona’. Deploying clever wordplay he confirms that ‘the people hold me in high regard ‘cos me never leave me culture’. As you’d expect, this culture has no tolerance for badness, madness or slackness.
Outta Order takes a formidable slice off those footballers engaging in racist behaviour. With the high profile John Terry-Anton Ferdinand court clash in London taking over the front (and back) pages of many newspapers of late this is a timely output. Showing that he can adapt to the times, it’s delivered in an almost ‘100 kilometres per hour’ rap style, before the pace changes in favour of a dub version wind down.
The EP closes with Our Music. The song extols the virtues of the sweet sounds that keep us alive. Touching on a theme raised by the aforementioned Bob (of neighbours complaining about the music, in ‘Crazy Baldhead’), Macka B explains that he’s prepared to compromise, as ‘it’s good to see the world through someone else’s eyes’. Hence he doesn’t plan to ‘play at all hours of the night’. In fact, he’ll go one step further, by giving a spin to the neighbours’ choice, with Stevie Wonder and Barry White on offer!
As befits a reputable and long established MC, Macka B’s vocals capably and comfortably carry this EP Yet one can only speculate as to what the beneficial impact might have been in the delivery of the musical message had a full suite of accomplished instrumentalists been deployed in support. Unlike his recently released 16 track album, this EP may not rank in the Grammy stakes. But it sure does rank in the consciousness stakes, with a few ‘home truths’ on offer for those prepared to reflect, act on and (inevitably) benefit from them.
Macka B - Rasta Soldier
DIGITAL RELEASE [Necessary Mayhem]
Release date: 8/14/2012
1. Old Fashioned
2. Innocent Life
3. Never Leave My Culture
4. Outta Order
5. Our Music
6. Rasta Soldier