Eesah ADD


Album Review: Eesah - Deep Medz


by Steve Topple

Album Review: Eesah - Deep Medz

The highly anticipated debut full album from Eesah has arrived – and is a ‘deep’, eclectic, and profound journey into Jamaican and African cultures and sounds. Deep Medz, released via King I-Vier Music and Loud City, sees Eesah team up with the latter two talents to produce the album. Having started his musical journey in around 2012, it seems odd that to this point Eesah only released one EP and a 10-track concept project (as well as repeatedly featuring on cuts with a host of artists). However, the wait for a full album was worth it.

The finished product is classy and well-engineered, mixed, and mastered – with attention to detail on each genre to ensure the original composition is honoured while creating a rich, resonant yet fresh overall sound across the entire project. However, it’s the music which truly impresses – as Eesah, I-Vier, and Loud City have created a diverse palette of genres and styles.

Behold The Conquering Lion opens the album in upbeat, major key Roots fashion with a deep and resonant bass across the rest of the laid-back and meandering rhythm section. There are elements of Dub nodded to, with the reverb on the keys and nice breaks. It leads well into Jah Give Me Strength – another fresh and bright Roots track that has a great skanking guitar line and keen attention to detail on the electric organ as well as some distinctly funky backing vocals. Again, the Dub influence is clear with some decent use of synths and samples.

Then, Jah No Dead with Garnet Alkhem and T'Jean switch things up somewhat. The tone become darker with a minor key, while the overall feel of the track is more urgent, thanks to the syncopated, almost walking bass and the use of drums across dotted notation. Alkhem and T’Jean play off well against Eesah and it’s a strong offering overall.

The Beginning of Time features the legendary Capleton and Lutan Fyah – both bringing sterling performances to a different sound for Deep Medz: that of Revival Reggae. The drums run a Hip Hop line, the bass is winding and distorted – but both are against a classic Roots backdrop of bubble rhythm keys. Nubian Queen then switches things up with the merging of Reggae and Alt RnB (check the Trap hi-hats, coupled with a Soul-led sax and the Reggae keys) – giving the feeling of King Mas.

The Girl I’m Searching For takes this sound even further forward, with its grimy bassline, ominous drums but these being offset again with Reggae musical devices – with some synth horns rasping across the track for good measure. It’s inventive and works well. Police & Badboy with Grammy-winning (and here particularly on-point) Kabaka Pyramid takes things back to the Revival Reggae sound – a sombre and brooding piece that lingers in the memory.

In The Ghetto (Remix) featuring Sizzla sees something slightly Trap Dancehall visit Deep Medz – as rapid-fire hi-hats and snares merge with a deep bass and the occasional bridge that breaks out into Old Skool Dancehall while others verge on the RnB. Uprise is a natural musical progression on from this – intensifying the Trap Dancehall sound with a stark arrangement and a very unsettling bass line. Both these tracks are strong – and clever moves, feeding into current musical trends.

Then, we wind the clock back two decades via Red Alert with Million Stylez. The classic Dancehall clave is back, complete with obligatory synths and samples and some frantic, rhythmically intricate wordplay from both Eesah and Stylez. Rasta Corner brings Pressure Busspipe and Perfect Giddimani into Deep Medz, and to good effect – once again using something Older Skool in terms of Dancehall, but maybe not quite as far back as Red Alert – as the presence of rasping, EDM-like synths nod to the latter half of the previous decade. Busspipe and Giddimani are superb, here – working their gruff deliveries well against Eesah’s smoother vocal.

Liberation takes the album to something nearer AfroDancehall in terms of the main beat, throws in a lilting African acoustic guitar and some Trap hi-hats – and ends up being a potent and engaging piece of modern Hip Hop. Then, Empress Menen suddenly moves Deep Medz into smooth Afrobeats – but a complex take on the genre, given the four-to-the-floor kick (reminiscent of Amapiano), a delicious electric piano line, and some wonderful synths. It’s gorgeous and beautifully constructed.

Girl Like You takes the album full circle - back to Reggae/Lovers Rock, with an extremely pleasing arrangement and some nice engineering across Eesah’s vocal. Irie then moves the sound quickly forward again, with some Trap-influenced Reggae where a half-time bubble rhythm meets Trap drums and a strung-out bassline. But Easy Skankin’ bruks your neck and takes the sound right back again to Reggae, something nearer the 90s version.

Deep Medz concludes with Push On – a track which can’t settle on whether it is Roots or Ska, as the rapid drum line nods to the latter, but other elements are safely in the former. Regardless, it’s a great composition, with its dominant horn line, some strong backing vocals, pleasing breaks, and inspired use of samples.

Overall, Eesah has a strong and pleasing voice. He has a clear, well-controlled, and versatile tenor voice that can turn its hand to various styles. Nubian Queen shows his ability to mix the singjay with the Soul, while Police & Badboy shows Eesah competing with Pyramid for centre stage – and coming joint first place with his ability to apply inventive and intuitive rhythms across complex melodies.

Eesah is also an expressive performer, with his interpretation across Empress Menen – using dynamics and note length to deliver a passionate performance – being a standout. This turns into something angrier and more forthright across Red Alert, while Eesah winds all this back with tracks such as Girl Like You. Overall, he shows great skill, and his voice is commendable – as are his engaging lyrics.

Narratives like Behold The Conquering Lion’s message of the personal strength that comes with faith and Jah Give Me Strength’s reinforcement of this are well-placed. Jah No Dead is almost an inverted Song of Praise – reminding those of no faith that they are on the wrong path – while Rasta Corner discusses the collective strength of Rastafari.

Empress Menen’s gorgeous praise-giving to the wife of Haile Selassie, Menen Asfaw, is an unexpected treat – discussing the life of a woman that most Rasta artists fail to ever mention.

Society and Babylon are tackled via Police & Badboy – essentially a ‘what’s the difference between the two’ observation, except of course that cops work for the system and are on the side of the oppressors. In The Ghetto (Remix) is a stark and moving account of life for the poorest people under Babylon and how its proponents conspire to drag us all down.

There are discussions around spiritual love with Nubian Queen, while The Girl I’m Searching For has the traditions of Lovers Rock at its heart, as does Girl Like You (perhaps the most Lovers track of Deep Medz). Then, there are also just straight-up party tracks like Irie, with its winding narrative that complements the equally winding musical backdrop, and Easy Skankin’s laid-back, smoke-hazed vibes.

However, the negative and the lighter tracks are juxtaposed with the calls to metaphorical arms across Red Alert’s stark warning to the system that ‘we’ve’ had enough, Liberation’s reminder that while Babylon tries day in, day out, to grind us down, we must remain focused on the goal of personal and collective emancipation, and Push On’s affirmative message that if we keep the faith, keep persevering, we can ‘push on’ and eventually be free from Babylon’s shackles.

Overall, Deep Medz is an excellent body of work from Eesah. Foraying into multiple-genre territory can sometime be a trap artists fall into, as it leaves them exposed to showing their weaknesses or producing ‘filler’. However, Eesah has done neither of those things – and Deep Medz is superb.

Release details

Eesah - Deep Medz

Eesah - Deep Medz

DIGITAL RELEASE [King I-Vier Music, Loud City]

Release date: 02/23/2024


01. Behold The Conquering Lion 
02. Jah Gives Me Strength
03. Jah No Dead feat. Garnet Akhem & T'Jean
04. The Beginning OIf Time feat. Capleton & Lutan Fyah
05. Nubian Queen
06. The Girl I'm Searching For
07. Police & Badboy feat. Kabaka Pyramid
08. In The Ghetto 
09. Uprise
10. Red Alert feat. Million Stylez
11. Rasta Corner feat. Pressure Busspipe & Perfect Giddimani
12. Liberation 
13. Empress Menen
14. Girl Like You 
15. Irie
16. Easy Skankin' 
17. Push On