Ras Mek Peace reggae music CD album mp3
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Ras Mek Peace (Wildchild!, 1999)

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Only one word comes to mind when I listen to Ras Mek Peace: wow.  It is an unadulterated and woefully overlooked classic of modern roots and has immediately become one of my all-time favorites.  Originally formed in the Virgin Islands in 1989 (St. Croix, to be precise), the quintet Midnite has been based in Washington, DC since '93 or so.  As listed on the cover, the subtitle of this album is "Before Reverb & Without Delay," which indicates the simplicity of the recording process -- utilizing only one vocal track and one instrumental track and few if any of the standard engineering techniques that are supposed to make things sound "professional."  As such, the sound might not be quite as crisp as Midnite's later work, but it's not so raw as to be distracting.  In fact, it adds to the organic feel of the band's music.  It's hard to explain Midnite's appeal beyond just stating that they're friggin' great.  Everything on Ras Mek Peace in on target.  Lead singer Vaughn Benjamin's voice is a distinct blend of styles, including Freddie McGregor's smoothness, Winston Matthews' (of the Wailing Souls) emotional wail, Michael Rose's twang, Israel Vibration's righteousness, and Mutabaruka's sociopolitical viewpoint.  His lyrics are unique, intelligent, and thoughtful, as evidenced by "Hieroglyphics" (in which graffiti is compared to ancient hieroglyphics) and the wicked wordplay of "Banking in the Pig."  The closest group to which I can compare Midnite's overall sound is probably the short-lived Misty In Roots; both perform a curious, melodic mix of polished yet edgy roots.  As for Ras Mek Peace, every single track is good, though, my favorite being "In the Race So Far."  Any roots fan owes it to themselves to check this out.

Track Listing
1. Pagan, Pay Gone
2. In the Race So Far
3. Banking in the Pig
4. Hieroglyphics
5. Empress
6. Lion Wears the Crown
7. Natty Watching You
8. Rasta Man Stand
9. Love Right (Live Right)
10. Foolish and the Wise
Ras Mek Peace
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Jubilees of Zion reggae music CD album mp3
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Jubilees of Zion (Midnite Roots, 2000)

I hate to say that Jubilees of Zion is the weakest of Midnite's first 3 albums, because people might infer that it is a poor set, but that is far from the truth.  In fact, this is an excellent album that maintains the group's rich sound.  It's just that the songs aren't quite as consistently classic as they are on Ras Mek Peace and Unpolished (but they're damn close).  Thus, it took me the longest time of the 3 to get into this album.  Midnite returned to St. Croix to record Jubilees of Zion for their own label, but it seemingly doesn't matter where and for whom they record; they come through under any circumstances.  The first 4 songs on the album in particular sparkle with Midnite's uniquely engrossing style.  The title track is a mournful, wailing gem, while "Ras to the Bone" is slow and fun-kay, and "Better Ram Sound" may be my favorite tune from the group through their first 3 albums.  "Ring Out a Chant" and "Earth Crisis Now a Rasta" highlight the remainder of Jubilees of Zion, but as with the other two albums, you could close your eyes, pick a song, and be assured that you'll hear something good.

Track Listing
1. Jubilees of Zion
2. Birthright Is the Ticket
3. Ras to the Bone
4. Batter Ram Sound
5. Great Zimbabwe Walls
6. Begin the Day
7. Ring Out a Chant
8. Southeastern Moon
9. You Make I Feel
10. Wrickta Scale
11. Mighty Race
12. Kings on the Clothes Line
13. White Collar Criminal
14. Earth Cycle Now a Rasta
15. One
Jubilees of Zion
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Unpolished reggae music CD album mp3
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Unpolished (Rastafaria, 2001 [orig. released 1997])

Once again, wow.  If you thought that Ras Mek Peace and Jubilees of Zion were flukes, check out Unpolished.  It is every bit the equal of these other works.  Although it was released widely to the public on the Rastafaria label in 2001, it is actually Midnite's debut album (and one of the few that is fairly widely available).  At the risk of sounding repetitive, once again everything hits on all cylinders here: vocals, lyrics, music, everything.  Some people may prefer Unpolished over Ras Mek Peace because the sound is a bit more crisp, but as far as overall quality, it's a toss-up.  In any event, I can see how someone could choose any song on Unpolished as their favorite on the album; it is that balanced.  My personal favorites are "Kaaba Stone," "Mama Africa," and "Love the Life You Live," which has the feel of an enduring classic.  Midnite's first 3 albums form a triumvirate as impressive as any trio of albums in the history of reggae, and the group has single-handedly set a bold new standard for modern roots.

Track Listing
1. Bushman
2. Love the Life You Live
3. The Eyes Are the Light
4. Propaganda
5. Kaaba Stone
6. Due Reward
7. Don't Move (Lion's Dead)
8. Meditation (Babylon Fruits)
9. Mama Africa
10. Time and Again

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Nemozian Rasta reggae music CD album mp3
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Nemozian Rasta (I Grade, 2001)

Described as "a Midnite - I Grade collaboration" (I Grade encompassing the record label, production company, and contributing musicians) -- although it contains 3 tunes from Dezarie (two of which are on her breathtaking debut Fya) -- Nemozian Rasta (Nemozian referring to the Greek goddess of memory who gave birth to the Muses.  Like, duh...) could be interpreted by fans as a straight Midnite album.  However, the I Grade portion of the equation lends a subtle variation on the Midnite sound that listeners have come to relish.  For the most part, the classic organic roots sound remains intact, but the music flirts with a more experimental musical style.  Thus we get the funk/soul/hip-hop overtones on cuts like "Love IE One Another," "If I Betray" (Dezarie's "Right Direction" sharing the same rhythm), "Enough for Everyone," and "Black Congo."  This may catch those used to Midnite's throwback style off guard, but most of the time, the Midnite/I Grade mix works well (save perhaps for "Enough for Everyone" and the rap on "If I Betray"); they even pull off a nice Roots-like bluesy funk on "Black Congo."  I know, I know, what you want is good old-fashioned roots, and you'll find that here as well.  The material on Nemozian Rasta is not as strong as their first 3 classic albums (a difficult task, granted), but it's steady and ultimately fulfilling, given a chance.  "Most High," "Sing Out," "Shout That," "Bless," the aching "Up Stay," and "Swing and the Slide" (featuring Benjamin's characteristically eye-opening metaphors like "Why do we push them on the swing and the slide?  The merry-go-round a fi go dizzy dem eyes...Watch the children a destabilize...") all fit the bill quite nicely.  Just don't compare Nemozian Rasta to Midnite's first 3 albums and you won't be disappointed.

Track Listing
1. Mountains -- Midnite
2. Most High -- Dezarie
3. Shout That -- Midnite
4. Love IE One Another -- Midnite
5. Prize Your Name -- Midnite
6. Bless -- Midnite
7. Ancesta -- Midnite
8. If I Betray -- Midnite
9. Up Stay -- Midnite
10. Sing Out - Dezarie
11. Black Congo -- Midnite
12. Esta Es the Truth -- Midnite
13. Swing and the Slide -- Midnite
14. Keenly -- Midnite
15. Right Direction -- Dezarie
16. Enough for Everyone -- Midnite
Nemozian Rasta
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Assini reggae music CD album mp3
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Assini (I Grade, 2002)

This admittedly is not an easy album to listen to; it certainly took me the longest of all of Midnite's albums so far to get into.  The pace is slow, the melodies indistinct, the overall tone is somber, subdued, and serene.  This isn't to say that Assini sounds so terribly different from previous Midnite albums.  In fact, it sounds like a direct extension of Nemozian Rasta (both "Midnite-I Grade Collaborations"), except without as much of an experimental, dynamic edge.  This lack of edge might actually please some Midnite fans, because it means that the group doesn't delve into the funk/R&B sound of some tracks on Nemozian Rasta.  The sound here is straightforward, bare-bones roots, with deep, rumbling bass lines, piercing drums, and sharply hiccupping rhythm guitars.  Each track seems to blend into another, making it difficult to pick a standout and making it easy to lull you into a trance.  However, after listening to Assini a few times to near-comatose effect, I had a breakthrough.  Suddenly, I appreciated the no-frills sound, the loosely structured melodies, and the overall consistency.  This is a complete and unified album.  There isn't really one breakout song (although my faves are probably "Worker Be," "Reminder," and "Dry Bones Live"); you have to take it in as a whole to appreciate the beauty.  Still, I wouldn't rank it up there with Midnite's first 3 classic albums, but it's easily the equal of the solid Nemozian Rasta.  (Both albums, incidentally, are available at cdfreedom.com, igraderecords.com, and mtneborecords.com)

Track Listing
1. Old Robe
2. Worker Be
3. Balance
4. Ises
5. Reminder
6. Blaze Up
7. Highly
8. Humble Wah?
9. Womb
10. Good Remnant
11. Dry Bones Live
12. Mouth of Ancients
13. Safe
14. Piranha (Come to Feed)
15. Sing Ye
16. No Fear No Sorrow
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Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance reggae music CD album mp3
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Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance (Afrikan Roots Lab, 2002)

Thanks to what is approaching a Sizzla-like pace of releasing albums over the past couple of years, Midnite has finally released enough material for me to feel comfortable saying that they are my favorite reggae act today.  Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance, the group's 6th album overall and second this year alone, displays the remarkable consistency that Mindite has managed to maintain throughout their existence.  This album included, they have yet to release a weak album, or even an average album, for that matter.  The sound of Seek Knowledge returns a bit more to that of their first 3 albums -- a little less of the edge of the I Grade productions, a little more organic and natural.  The format is familiar if you're a fan of the group: propulsive roots music with pensive (sometimes cryptic) lyrics, righteous vocals with rapid-fire verses followed by wailing choruses.  Fiery statements like "Ras for a Reason," "You Don't Know Me," and 'Urt" scorch through the speakers, although surprisingly the uncharacteristically tender, non-metaphorical "New Life" -- a celebration of birth -- proves to be one of the biggest highlights.  Moe typical of Midite is "Jah Ovah," the other best tune here, while "Kingdom Trees," "In 8," and the title track also shine.  The quality of the individual songs on Seek Knowledge is comparable to that on the two I Grade albums, but the overall consistency and cohesiveness puts this one over the top.  While it may not make your jaw drop like the first 3 releases, you have to say that Midnite has done it again!  (Note: this elusive album is available www.jazzateria.com.)

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Track Listing
1. Seek Knowledge Before Venegeance 
2. Ras For a Reason 
3. You Don't Know Me 
4. New Life 
5. Late Night Ghetto 
6. Dagger Man 
7. Urt 
8. In 8 
9. Jah Ovah 
10. Kingdom Trees 
11. That's On You (Owna Dirt) 
12. One Shout 
13. Weed Burn
Seek Knowledge Before Vengeance
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Vijan reggae music CD album mp3
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Vijan (I Grade, 2003)

There's little doubt that Midnite remains at the cutting edge of reggae music, although for some listeners, that edge may be a bit too sharp at times.  Vijan is a good example.  As with the Midnite-I Grade Collaboration Nemozian Rasta, this album has an experimental sound, this one in particular more akin to the offshoot Midnite Branch I than to the usual Midnite sound itself (not surprising, since Midnite Branch I 's Geoman is an I Grade release also).  Like Midnite Branch I's work, Vijan is serene and off-beat, a truly unique musical concoction that expands reggae beyond what anyone else is doing (or rather, I should say what anyone else is doing successfully, because I've heard some avant-garde stuff that has just not worked).  While there are a few fairly standard roots numbers here -- headed by the strong tracks "Thank the Lord," "Cradle of Joy," and "Ru Be" -- much of this album is painted with minimalist strokes.  The typical reggae one-drop rhythm is often downplayed (or even non-existent, as seen on the jazz/R&B tunes "Scornful" and "Economics Out in the Raw"), replaced with a slightly herky-jerky, digital rhythm built upon a rumbling, subtly dancehall-esque digital bass line.  Vocally, Vaughn Benjamin is  striking as usual with his venerable, chanting flow, typically spitting rapid-fire lines that end with a drawn-out wail on the last syllable.  Even for Midnite fans who don't fully appreciate the off-beat nature of the material on Vijan, his emotion-packed voice should be enough to carry them through.  This isn't to say that this album is so utterly difficult to get into, though; if you're a Midnite fan, I would certainly recommend picking it up (of course, there hasn't been a Midnite album I wouldn't recommend so far), but it you're new to the group, this would probably be the last one I would recommend.  That said, all in all, Vijan is groundbreaking and visionary, featuring a sound that perhaps only Midnite and I Grade could pull off.

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Track Listing
1. All Ye Nashan
2. See Blah Sum
3. Cradle of Joy
4. Thanks for Life
5. Yeah Many
6. Thank the Lord
7. Nativity
8. Far I
9. Days Come
10. Structa
11. Ru Be
12. Economics Out in the Raw
13. Scornful
14. Blackson Rays
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Scheme a Things reggae music CD album mp3
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Scheme a Things (Rastafaria, 2004)

As an ardent Midnite fan, even I have to admit that their music is at times difficult to fully appreciate (as difficult as, say, trying to use Spell Check when typing up the track list from one of their albums), and this seems to be increasingly the case with each album released since the group's initial three classics.  A large part of this difficulty stems from lead singer Vaughn Benjamin's unorthodox rambling, "talky" vocals and often barely-there melodies.  However, with some patience, Midnite's albums tend to pay off, and for some listeners, the struggle might actually make the reward even greater.  Scheme a Things and Ainshant Maps are prime examples of this.  Released around the same time as "double releases," they share Midnite's trademark heavy, deadly serious roots sound, and indeed could've been released as a double album without a noticeable shift from one to the other.  The main differences, in fact, are that Ainshant Maps is a bit longer (12 tracks to 10) and a bit more consistently good throughout.  Scheme a Things shouldn't be dismissed, however; it's a strong set containing some songs that could easily be considered among the band's best work -- most notably, the classic, rootsy horn-strewn "Bazra" and the funky wa-wa sound of "Jah Feed I.Also solid are "Lianess," the surprisingly tender, acoustic "Words ov Right," and the airy synth of both "Babylon Dem Copy" and the title track.  Those of you who were worried that Midnite might have a hard time finding their way back after veering a bit off the reggae path with their Midnite Branch I endeavors, fear not; both albums are knee-deep in rich, righteous, uncompromised roots.

Track Listing
1. Words ov Right
2. Scheme a Things
3. Lianess
4. Bazra
5. Jahbok Wha Ova
6. Babylon Dem Copy
7. Respek Dem Een
8. Jah Feed I
9. Strongly
10. Where Are They Now
Scheme a Things
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Ainshant Maps reggae music CD album mp3
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Ainshant Maps (Afrikan Roots Lab, 2004)

As stated above, Ainshant Maps can be seen as a companion piece to Scheme a Things -- and if you had to choose, this would be the more vital of the two (although they're priced moderately enough that you can get both).  It starts a bit slow -- literally and figuratively -- with the minimalist acoustic guitar of "Praise Jah," but quickly picks up with blistering roots tracks like "Drought," "Judgement for Sentence," "True King," "Ainshant Maps," and my personal fave, "Knocka Fia."  In fact, after the weepy opening tune, practically everything else on Ainshant Maps shines (maybe not "Dub Playt" so much), and while not as spectacular as their first three albums, this set provides ample evidence that Midnite is still on top of its game.

Track Listing
1. Praise Jah
2. Livity
3. Drought
4. Man Tain
5. Abandan Abyss
6. Judgement for Sentence
7. Ainshant Maps
8. Knocka Fia
9. True King
10. Breathing Scrolls
11. Dub Playt
12. Arose
Ainshant Maps
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Let Live reggae music CD album mp3

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Let Live (I Grade, 2004)

Midnite continues to push the boundaries of reggae with more gust, more audacity, and more skill than any other act.  While their experimentation has been reserved more for their Midnite Branch I offspring, recent releases have had more of an avant-garde sound than their earlier efforts.  And Let Live is perhaps their boldest album to date.  Here the band's sense of adventure leads them down the path of hip-hop.  Yes, hip-hop.  No, you're not going to hear them rapping about bling and bullets, but Vaughn Benjamin has always had a unique "talky" chatting vocal flow that occasionally veers close to rapping, so when he raps a bit on "Fighting for Her," it feels quite natural (although I'm glad this is the only track on which he does that).  Truth be told, only about half of Let Live has hip-hop overtones, but it forms the bulk of the mid-section of the album, with more traditionally rootsy material at the beginning and end. The hip-hop sound isn't as jarring as one would expect.  First, it's not in-your-face, 50 Cent or Ludacris style; it's much more subtle, interweaving jazz, funk, and African drumming in a potpourri of sound.  Second, Midnite smartly eases into it by starting out with a couple of roots tracks (including the haunting "Closed Societies"), then smoothly transitions into the gritty sound with "Haile Selassie I Rastaman Crown," an exhilarating showcase of Nyabinghi drumming that introduces the weighty, percussive sound that forms much of the album.  "Chantajah" and the title cut build upon this with jazz-funk grooves that had my head bobbing uncontrollably.  The mellow flow of "Rastman Life," "Fighting for Her," and "All the Same" continue the hip-hop/jazz fusion to magnificent, mind-bending effect. The edginess is aided by a level of dissonance -- primarily in Benjamin's manic vocals -- that's generally reserved for the hardcore jazz crowd.  Check out his rapid flow on "The Gad," for instance.  This may catch some listeners off-guard (particularly if unfamiliar with Midnite), but given a chance, the quirky beauty of it all shines through.  (Not surprisingly, the most traditional track on Let Live is "All About What You Do," which features guest vocalists Pressure and Massiah in Benjamin's stead, lending a Sizzla/Turbulence-like singjay vibe to a song that proves engaging even without Benjamin's presence.)  More traditional roots fans shouldn't be too scared of this album, however; tunes like "Double Speak," "Closed Societies," "Maize," and "All My Life" provide ample sustenance.  Still, I don't pretend that this album will naturally appeal to everyone.  I won't even pretend that it didn't take a few listens for me to appreciate it.  But I find that the albums that challenge you, that make you work for it, are the most rewarding.  Let Live is such an album.  I wouldn't recommend this album to newcomers to Midnite, but open-minded fans should certainly check it out.  Newcomers might want to get to know Midnite's other albums… then get this one.  Check it out at igraderecords.com.

Track Listing
1. Done Wrong Type
2. Closed Societies
3. Haile Selassie I Rastaman Crown
4. Chantajah
5. Let Live
6. The Gad
7. All About What You Do
8. Rastaman Life
9. Fighting for Her
10. Rastafari Lead the Way
11. Double Speak
12. Maize (My Ease)
13. All My Life
14. All the Same

Let Live
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Jah Grid reggae music CD album mp3

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Jah Grid (I Grade, 2006)

Midnite continues to deliver "reggae outside the box," and, as usual, they are at their "outside-the-boxiest" when they team up with the I Grade folk. Jah Grid isn't for the faint of heart. Those unaccustomed to Midnite's increasingly eccentric sound -- from Vaughn Benjamin's vocals meandering in a chanting, almost dub poetry manner to the often sparse and unconventional music -- may end up running to the comfort of their Big Mountain CD collection. The initiated and those with a taste for the exotic, however, should once again find themselves entranced by Benjamin's charismatic voice and insightful lyrics (check out his take on the politricks of spin doctoring on "Spin Doctor") and the I Grade musicians' sense of experimentation that, while remaining firmly planted within the reggae realm on this album (as opposed to some previous collaborations with Midnite), proves piercingly original. Tunes range from straightforward fiery, funky roots jams like "In Tent" and "My Joy" to jazzy meditations like "The Bringers" and "Spin Doctor" to the plaintive, vulnerable roots of "Before I Lose My Strength," "Under Management," and "High Place." For those who can hang, Jah Grid is another shining example of Midnite's status amongst reggae's elite acts.

*Alternate Review*

Track Listing
1. Enter
2. In Tent
3. My Joy
4. Kin Dread
5. Under Management
6. Spin Doctor
7. Royal Habits
8. The Bringers
10. Before I Lose My Strength
11. High Place
12. Third Eye by Jah Rubal
13. On
Jah Grid
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Aneed reggae music CD album mp3

Aneed (Groundbreaking, 2006)

Aneed might be as close as you'll ever get to a Vaughn Benjamin solo release, as the singer not only writes, sings, and co-produces the set, but he also plays almost all of the instruments. On half of the tracks, in fact, he does play them all himself.  The album is what we've come to expect from Midnite lately: slow, dark, deep, dense.  You might need to be in the mood to enjoy it fully, but once you start listening, it sucks you in with its jazzy atmosphere and meditative beauty.  Songs like "Due," "Chapta," and "Keep Yure Love" make you feel like you're sitting in the corner of a smoky jazz club; it's the type of gutsy fusion that few artists would ever dare, much less pull off successfully.  Even if the occasional tune proves a bit too hard to grasp (like the borderline atonal "Job"), Benjamin's effort is admirable, with a bold, fiercely independent streak and an artistry that is as potent as any you'll find today.  Highlights of Aneed include the title track, which melds acoustic guitar and jazzy keys with an oh-so subtle hip-hop edge, "Earth," with its lovely roots riddim (used also on Xkaliba's "Jah Rescue Me"), "Jai," one of of Midnite's most heartfelt songs ever, and "To Live," as close to bouncy as you'll get on this set. The dark, rumbling bass of "Tri" and "Airful" close out the album nicely.  Counting the Midnite Branch I offerings, Midnite has released about 3 albums a year for the past 8 years, and I keep waiting for them to slip, but they continue to prove consistent in their dedication to the legacy of quality Cruzan reggae. 

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Track Listing
1. Ehlend 
2. Due 
3. Job 
4. Chapta 
5. Aneed 
6. Precepts 
7. Earth 
8. Ahlookova 
9. Jai 
10. To Live 
11. Tri 
12. Airful 
13. Keep Your Love
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Rule the Time reggae music CD album mp3
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Rule the Time (I Grade, 2007)

Listening to the first few tracks on Rule the Time, I heard something strangely beautiful: singing. It reminded me how soothing and evocative Vaughn Benjamin's singing voice is and, in turn, how avant-garde Midnite's sound has become over the years. Benjamin's vocal style has evolved into a rapid-fire talking/chatting/dub poetry-type vibe that often forgoes traditional melody, structure, and rhyme in favor of a more dissonant sound with the densest lyrical content in reggae today. This, coupled with the fact that Midnite-I Grade collaborations tend to favor eclectic music, can be a bit off-putting for some listeners, but Midnite is nothing without its edge; it's all part of the group's amazing package. That said, fans of a more traditional reggae sound should find Rule the Time palatable. Early on, the album finds Benjamin returning to the more standard crooning of Midnite's early releases. "Stretch Out" and "His Majesty" kick off the album with an atmospheric, echoing roots vibe that signals a more conventional set, and for much of the time, it delivers just that. Classic roots horns are plastered all over this album, and only a few tracks can musically be deemed "out there": "Simbal Is the Leaf" and "Runway," for instance, toss in drum 'n bass and jazzy hip-hop sounds, respectively. Benjamin's vocals on these tunes match the edge of the music, with a structure that has become familiar over recent releases: a lightning-quick, barely melodic flow in which if two lines in a row rhyme, 10 lines in a row have the same rhyme (see also the repetitive "Sensi Tie Chi"). "Is Real" further clues us in that Benjamin won't completely abandon his trippy sound; it's as if he goes out of his way to avoid traditional structure, rambling in a manner that, while still enjoyable (thanks largely to a vicious roots riddim), lacks a certain pop. It's all build-up with no payoff -- which is how you could view this entire album. It's all solid, but lacks the "wow" factor that we've come to expect from Midnite. Still, that's the curse of having such a potent body of work; even fine sets like this tend to pale in comparison. Truth is, Rule the Time is consistent throughout, which is quite a feat, considering it runs 19 tracks deep. Classic roots fans should enjoy the fact that the aesthetic quirkiness is minimal, and there are even a few tracks that could find their way onto a Midnite "best of" release: namely, "In HIM," the swaggering title track, "Listen," and "Good Thoughts" (too bad the last two show up so late). Plus, musically, the I Grade collective is as spectacular as ever; the riddims on tracks like "Is Real," "Recounciliation," and "Selassie I Say" easily outstrip the vocals. A Rule the Time Dub album should certainly be a consideration. All in all, while quantity doesn't generally outshine quality (Dancehall DJs, are you listening?), you shouldn't pass up getting almost two albums' worth of tracks from Midnite on one set.

*Alternate Review*

Track Listing
1. Stretch Out
2. His Majesty
3. Is Real
4. Runway
5. Sensi Tie Chi
6. In HIM
7. Love and Light
8. Recounciliation
9. Selassie I Say -- Jah Rubal
10. Rule the Time
11. Simbal Is the Leaf
12. Get Up
13. Born In the Time
14. Again a Lion
15. Jah Love Is Amazing
16. Come Een
17. Hold Strain
18. Listen
19. Good Thoughts 
Rule the Time
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Better World Rasta reggae music CD album mp3

Better World Rasta (Rastar, 2007)

Better World Rasta is a truly wicked album. The Rastar Records production team lets Vaughn Benjamin ride vintage reggae riddims, and the result is nothing short of brilliant. The very first song, "His Speeches," bangs a Black Uhuru riddim, as does the captivating title track. But it is the righteous fury of "Gi Dem" that truly sets this album apart. Mixed at the aptly-named Mind Bomb Recording Studio, "Gi Dem" lights the fuse on a mind-blowing roots experience by throwing Vaughn Benjamin's fiery vocals on top of a relentless riddim. In the spirit of "Banking in the Pig," which took subversive aim at pop culture icons, "Gi Dem" has harsh words for Harry Potter and other modern day alchemists of irreligion. Midnite has never burned so bright, nor with such intense concentration. Nearly every song on this 12-track set features bold, focused lyrics and a heavy, resonant sound. In a year that has seen Vaughn Benjamin release six albums, this one may outshine them all.

- Reggie

Track Listing
1. His Speeches
2. Ithiopya
3. Honor
4. Gi Dem
5. Train Filled His Temple
6. Speak Up
7. Better World Rasta
8. Love Song
9. Evening Come
10. Ah Jah
11. Over Yonder -- Jah Rubal
12. Negus I Rastafari
Better World Rasta
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