Morgan Heritage ADD


Album Review: Morgan Heritage - The Homeland


by Steve Topple

Album Review: Morgan Heritage - The Homeland

We’re not sure if it’s a record (it may well be), but Morgan Heritage’s new album is a massive 21-tracks long. If Reggaeville was to review the entire album with track-by-track detail, then you’d probably need half an hour to read what we’ve written.

So, better to break The Homeland, released via CTBC Music Group, down into its component musical and lyrical parts – as there are clear themes running across the 21 tracks.

What should be said first is that Morgan Heritage have created a project which isn’t just theirs. The sheer volume of artists and producers that feature, who are all either from Africa or part of the diaspora, is impressive - and to be commended. The album’s producers are a sizzling Who’s Who of modern, Black music: Zimbabwean-born, UK-based Jusa Dementor; Zimbabwe’s Rodney Beatz and DJ Tamuka; Ethiopia’s Rophnan; Jamaica’s JP Ovaproof, Koastal Kings, and Kareem ‘Remus’ Burrell; Nigeria’s Dwillsharmony; Tanzania’s Nahreel; Zambia’s Kekero; Jamaican-born, US-based Travis Garcia, and Uganda’s Eddy Kenzo.

That’s quite a list. And then, there’s the music.

The introduction, Bambulele featuring Brothers & Sisters Art Organization, is a rousing, traditional piece with an emotive and moving performance from all involved. After this, we’re dealing with various genres that all have their roots in Africa.

Morgan Heritage
’s own, immediate Jamaican heritage is represented across the Reggae tracks. Headline Fi Front Page featuring Jahshii, Rytikal and I-Octane is Revival Reggae with a heavy dose of Trap. Straighter Reggae with some nice Dub touches is seen in Remember featuring Alpha Blondy and Capleton. Afreeca The Future featuring Rocky Dawuni and Lord Alajiman, and Long To Go Home featuring Eddy Kenzo, are the more traditional versions of the genre – while Can U Feel It featuring Gentleman and Rophnan is Reggae but with a booming, almost Dancehall bass, grating strings, and glorious fluttering flute.

Reggae’s younger sister, Dancehall, is also represented in its more modern incarnation – with Ready featuring Shatta Wale, Jose Chameleone and RJ the DJ being hard, fast, and loose.

Then, straighter Afrobeats features heavily.

I'll Be There featuring Busy Signal and Mádé Kuti is pure class, with its glorious sax line. U Got To See (The World) featuring Eddy Kenzo and S'Villa is upbeat, light, and sometime delicate Afrobeats – while Positive featuring Shaggy and Beenie Man is smoother, with its focus on the balafon. Who Deh Like U featuring Bounty Killer, Cham and Stonebwoy continues this vibe, but with more of an edge. Then, Maria featuring Jah Prayzah take Afrobeats to a more traditional place, with some touches of Pop.

We also get tasters of the other genres to have emerged from Africa – or those that have been influenced by it.

Just A Number is the first solo track for Morgan Heritage – and it’s modern, Revival-influenced RnB. The Afro-RnB style is well-covered, across Wacha Nikupende featuring Otile Brown, and I Will Never Forget featuring PRIEL, Raiah, Esh Morgan and Jemere Morgan.

Direct Connect
featuring Fally Ipupa and Floda Graé, and Heaven featuring Krissy Yamagucci and Fayross, fit well into the AfroPop genre.

Diamond Love featuring Popcaan leans into AfroHouse with its dominant four-to-the-floor kick and pleasing drum buzz roll breaks. Levels featuring Macky 2, and Ice Queen Cleo picks up that vibe and runs with it, too.

Then, the title track featuring Youssou N'Dour is overly Funky Soul with its swaying rhythm section, punctuated horns, and clever use of fourth-to-fifth chord progressions. They Gonna Be Alright, the second solo Morgan Heritage track, is smooth, slightly more modern Soul.

So, The Homeland is a complete musical smorgasbord of African-influenced music. It would be offensive to call it “World Music” - that insulting, racist, colonialist term that says if it’s not Western music, then just lump it all in together – which sadly some have called it already. This also detracts from the overriding narrative that not only runs through the lyrics and themes, but also cements the point of the entire project, too.

As an album, it’s a wonderful representation of the Motherland’s current people, the African diaspora, the land itself, the effects of historical and neo-colonialism, and how Africa and its people can smash the shackles white supremacy and the system have tied them in.

The Homeland’s messages peak and trough throughout – from Can U feel It and I’ll Be There’s calls for love and solidarity with each other, to Just A Number’s damning indictment of how the system promotes work and wealth – yet the things we’re encouraged to aspire are false, and intentionally out of most of our reaches – via Diamond Love’s overly ironic title.

Other standouts include Wacha Nikupende – a searing take-down of how the system creates poverty, inequality, violence, and degradation in the poorest societies; Who Deh Like U – singing the praises of women, but specifically all the Black ones in music, with references to historical African female figures, and Remember - a poignant reminder for the diaspora to ‘never forget’ the Motherland they’re from, but also with intersecting discussion around class and perceived social mobility too.

They Gonna Be Alright is a love song to all our children – with hope for their future amid all the chaos – while Afreeca The Future is a fitting tribute to the Motherland, discussing how it could, and should be, the central land on Earth, given its people, ecology and resources – with a weaving narrative about how this could be achieved.

I Will Never Forget is a moving tribute to friendship despite troubles – one that transcends geographical and social borders, and the barriers the system imposes. There’s a broader narrative here, as well, that discusses white supremacy’s oppression of Black and Brown people around the world. And Long to Be Home is a fitting conclusion to The Homeland, discussing how so many of the diaspora want to ‘go home’ to a transformed Africa that works for the people - not the system, white supremacy, corporations, and corrupt leaders.

So, you might have thought 21 tracks is a lot for one album. However, The Homeland is far more than just a record. Morgan Heritage and everyone involved have crafted a Black Power project – one that is embedded in peace, justice, and equality for Africa, its people, and the diaspora. It is truly stunning in its breadth and depth – and surely will be one of the standout records of 2023.

Release details

Morgan Heritage - The Homeland


Release date: 04/21/2023


01. Bambulel feat. Brothers & Sistes Art Organization
02. Can You Feel It feat. Gentleman & Rophnan
03. I'll Be There feat. Busy Signal & Mádé Kuti
04. U Got To (Se The World) feat. Edy Kenzo & S'Villa
05. Diamond Love fea. Popcaan
06. The Homeland feat. Youssou N'Dour
07. Positive feat. Shaggy & Beenie Man
08. Direct Connect feat. Floda Graé
09. Just A Number 
10. Ready feat. Shatta Wale, Jose Chameleone & RJ The DJ
11. Heaven feat. Krissy Yamagucci & Fayross
12. Who Deh Like U feat. Bounty Killer, Cham & Stonebwoy
13. Headline Fi Front Page feat. Jahshii, Rytikal & I-Octane
14. Wacha Nikupende feat. Otile Brown
15. Maria feat. Jah Prayzah
16. Levels feat. Macky 2 & Ice Queen Cleo
17. They Gonna Be Alright
18. Remember feat. Alpha Blondy & Capleton
19. Afreeca The Future feat. Rocky Dawuni & Lord Alajiman
20. I Will Never Forget feat. Priel, Raiah, Esh Morgan & Jemere Morgan
21. Long To Be Home feat. Eddy Kenzo 1