Rastaveli MC ADD


Album Review: Rastaveli MC - Higher


by Gardy Stein

Album Review: Rastaveli MC - Higher

"The soaring white dove from the cover of the album symbolizes purity, freedom and peace, something that our society lacks so much right now. (...) Start to appreciate and respect your loved ones, and of course love all living things that surround us: nature, animals, people, air, water... life." (Press Release Rastaveli MC)

Purity, freedom, peace and love... that's indeed lacking in these times. While Russia currently is all over the news because of its sabre-rattling president, the country is not really known for Reggae and Dub music. However, the scene there is alive and fruitful, and one of its most active representatives is Artem Kostyuk aka Rastaveli MC. With Vibes Therapy in 2020 and Songs Of Revelation in 2021, the young artist has released two fantastic albums during the last two years, which didn't receive the recognition they deserved. His new oeuvre Higher has just seen the light of day, and it is another impressive showcase of his talent and mission worth investigating.

Taking a closer look at the cover (artwork by Natalya Maximova aka Zoomhaze), we discover man-made catastrophes and natural disasters plaguing the earth, and the only escape seems to lie high up in heaven. That's indeed a focal point of Artem's music, as you'll find out when diving into it.   

Introduced by a rare interview snippet of H.I.M. Haile Selassie, the first and title track Higher sets the laid-back pace for the album. Crafted by US-producer Justin McCauley aka Roommate, its mellow sounds are embraced to the fullest by Rastaveli MC, who sings praises to the Most High. The unique, calming quality of his voice carries us through the next song Irie Life as well, which celebrates the "beauty of the nature, beauty from creation" that surrounds us. It was produced by Pavel Apanasevich aka DJ Greg Beatz, who is able to create exceptional soundscapes as is evident from two more tracks: War, a bleak lament against the armed conflicts all over the world, and the beautiful Holy Spirit, one of only two songs in which we hear Rastaveli MC sing in his mother tongue Russian.

An equally substantial musical contribution comes from Grigory Perchin and Sergei Pankratov aka Produet Productions. They blend in perfectly with the decelerated approach of the album, as Jah Is Love shows. "Babylon is strong, but we no need no gun, with words, sound and power we can chase them outta town!" Next to the bonus track Selah, they also sign responsible for Prophet Benjamin, definitely one of the highlights of the album. It features the talented Biblical (California), whose piercing, accurate vocals combine harmonically with Rastaveli MC's intense chanting style. Wayayayoo!

More guests, the Spanish-toasting Ini Jahtoni and I-Gardo, are invited on The Giver, a Dan Tafari production. A third fine feature is Ras Nelson in One Day, a track that you'll instantly fall in love with because of the hopeful message it brings across. The underlying riddim was created by Rebelsteppa from Moscow, and it adds a whole different dimension of sound to the release again. His hand is an impressive one, and Reggaemedia, the second instrumental he blesses us with and most uptempo track of the album, is a personal favourite of mine. Rastaveli adds a wonderful livication to all Reggae journalists, magazines and photographers. Kaboom!

Last track to mention is Now Or Never (ocdeph Production), highlighting once more the skills of singer Artem. Higher is a gentle celestial flight on the wings of a dove, an album full of urgently needed meditation. There's something about Rastaveli's voice, lyrics and melody that's centering and soothing. Can someone please pass this on to Mr. Putin?

Release details

Rastaveli MC - Higher

Rastaveli MC - Higher


Release date: 02/22/2022


01. Higher
02. Irie Life
03. Now Or Never
04. Jah Is Love
05. Prophet Benjamin feat. Biblical
06. War
07. The Giver feat. Ini Jahtoni & I-Gardo
08. One Day feat. Ras Nelson
09. Holy Spirit
10. Reggaemedia
11. Selah

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