Album Review: Stephen Marley – Revelation Pt. II: “The Fruit of Life”
Stephen Marley – As the second eldest of reggae legend Bob Marley’s children. The second album in a two part series The Fruit of Life follows the more traditional reggae based The Root of Life from 2012. In this way the two albums tell something of a story with the fruit in question being the wider musical world influenced by Jamaican music.
Perhaps the best illustration of this is the star studded list of guest artists which will have any hip hop fan immediately sitting up to pay attention. From old school legends such as Rakim to underground heavyweights such as Dead Prez to crossover stars like Pitbull and Iggy Azalea, an array of names from all over the musical world are squeezed onto this one album.
Whilst reggae sounds and vocals are an overarching theme, the diversity of names involved in the album’s production lead to something which is highly sonically diverse. Some tracks such as Revelation Party and the Shaggy backed So Strong draw straight from reggae however various elements of hip hop crop up in other areas.
Meanwhile the album gets more sonically experimental on some of the tracks influenced by pop rap. DJ Khaled’s role in Tonight (It’s A Party) for example underscores reggae vocals with an electro hip hop inspired beat whilst When She Dances pairs Pitbull with an upbeat pop instrumental. There are even attempts to integrate wider genres beyond hip hop such as the dubstep influences on Rock Stone.
The Great Dictator Marley
Lyrically the album proves equally diverse drawing from the different sub-genres influencing its tracks. Opening with an extract from Charlie Chaplin’s speech from The Great Dictator Marley. Sets out to include an element of social consciousness and politics aided by an anti-establishment message. From Dead Prez on Babylon and Rakim and Kardinal Offishall on So Unjust amongst others. There’s also a use of narrative and storytelling for example in Ghetto Boy. Which tells some of the harsh realities of growing up against the odds.
The Fruit of Life
Revelation Pt. II: “The Fruit of Life” is out 22nd July, pre-order now on iTunes.