Album Review: Fyah T – The Real Rebellious
It has been almost five years now since Fyah T released his debut album Family Wise. And it was worth waiting all the while! While the young Bobo Dread warrior from Munich worked on several projects during the last couple of years, for example his contributions to the Fight It Riddim (Protect & Serve) or to the Raspect Riddim (No Raspect), to name just a few, and while he was playing keyboards on stage with the Next Generation Family, backing Treesha, Sara Lugo or Uwe Banton, he also prepared his second Longplayer The Real Rebellious. A conscious message pervades the twelve songs, which are urban and tradition-conscious at the same time.
The first Song Rainy Days is not a depressive lament about bad weather. On the contrary, it is a motivational song, inspiring and heartening in message and skillful and slick in terms of instrumental performance; authentic and inventive reggae, just like the rest of this LP.
Although, Good Vibez initially seems to comes in smoothly on some guitar harmonies, it soon runs deep like a still water, when a heavy One Drop comes in and Fyah’s voice along with polyphonic back vocals and playful guitar lines imparts a subtle African touch. One thing is not really clear to me, however. Why is the singer lamenting “what happen to di good vibe” when they are still around?
No matter whether you call Golden Lock (featuring Glen Washington) a tribute all dread heads in general or a slight allusion to Fyah T’s European descent, – for Africans are seldom seen with golden or blond Locks – with this mission statement, the two singers take a stance for Rasta principles in general and Bobo Hill ones in particular.
Rebellious, as a self-confident pre-released appetizer, came out already in January this year. It appears wrapped in a sound garment so grim and dark that Babylon is not really left with a choice but to flee. When you hear the guitars playing in two voices and a minor key, you know that the mood is so rough and serious and nobody on stage even thinks about smiling. Thank God, reggae is famous for its versatility and in the next song, this attitude can change to a completely different one. But, roughness for sure is a must for all rebels and this becomes evident on this serious and militant rebel anthem.
Almost like a liminal space, the mafiosi like intro of Crazy, serves as an interlude between the two songs and brings your imagination back from the Day of Judgement into the real world, yet with all its wickedness, which is musically depicted by some bluesy upright piano lines, an aggressive synth hook and a Fyah T who varies well toasted verses à la Alborosie with a melodious chorus. Also worth mentioning are the wicked bass slides on this track. Big up yourself Sumalee Berlinger! Her distinct sound is simply unmistakable.
Supported by some strong female back vocals, Live and Learn comes in with a heavy three and turns into a dub for the last minute of the track, which only speaks for the musicality of the riddim.
From the Ghetto feat. General Degree is characterized by merciless dancehall and hit-parts, a robotic effect on the lead vocals during the chorus and a beautiful guitar tapping intro! Some extraordinarily long and deep ground notes on the bass during the last chorus, serve as a pedal point to make the upcoming hit part come in even more brutal. The Nyabinghi heartbeat which opens for Set We Free, gives the song a charismatic African charm, which is later indicated by a groovy percussion accompaniment. A feature with no other but Luciano, Total Mess is a tribute to mother nature and spreads a pleasant natural feeling with its beautiful flute overdubs. Ruby, an up-tempo One Drop, is the only song on the album which deals with love, however, it is not a love song. In the chorus, Fyah makes clear that diamonds and rubies cannot buy his love and that he puts God above over "pum pum shorts and boobies". The tune spreads a truly positive mood and invites to skank and sing along. The singer definitely succeeds in entertaining those listeners who follow the lyrics and how they make fun of wide spread materialist and sexist attitudes within the scene. Absolute niceness!
Of course, a conscious album like this mustn’t miss a solid ganja tune. Nah go Jail is Fyah T’s answer to this. He drops a sweet weed tune on an up-tempo Steppas beat.
On the albums last song Thank You Father, a prayerful mood spreads over a fast One Drop, seasoned with well arranged mix parts, which the Next Generation Family breaks down into an emotional acoustic guitar part. The song is a dignified ending for a colorful hearing experience.
The Real Rebellious features pretty much all of reggae music’s stylistic features and even goes beyond this through its excessive use of guitar and keyboard work. While minimalists may say it is partially overloaded, others might appreciate the instrumental diversity and creativity of this album. All in all, a very well produced reggae album, recorded by some of Europe’s most renowned reggae musicians and sung by a rising Fyah T, who is most likely to take his career to the next level with this release. More a dis!
Fyah T - The Real Rebellious
DIGITAL RELEASE [Family Music]
Release date: 04/22/2016
01. Rainy Days
02. Good Vibez
03. Golden Locks feat. Glen Washington
06. Live & Learn
07. From the Ghetto feat. General Degree
08. Set We Free
09. Total Mess feat. Luciano
11. Nah Go a Jail
12. Thank You Father