Toasted Jams: Music for Jah Weekend and Jah Lyfe

A review of the new Thievery Corporation album “The Temple of I & I” and some inspired listening to accompany it.

Editor’s note: The Corporate Buddha will be doing music focused posts under the “Toasted Jams” label. They will cover music both new and old, and always be completely and totally focused towards listening while consuming and enjoying cannabis.

Thievery-Corporation-The-Temple-of-I-I.jpg

The New: The Temple of I & I

Every good cannabis enthusiast has some familiarity with Thievery Corporation. With a career spanning 20+ years, songs like 2001: A Spliff Odyssey, Lebanese Blonde, The Richest Man in Babylon, and countless festivals and tours, they are a group that is hard to miss.

Over the course of their career Thievery Corporation has blended all sorts of genres into their music. From Bossa Nova, and eastern Indian to reggae and hip-hop and everywhere in between, their eclectic style has become signature to their sound. It’s one of the things to love about them. Each album weaves a tapestry of influences from around the world.

The best way to describe The Temple of I & I as a whole is reggae-chill. That is not to say that it lacks some tracks that are upbeat, rather overall the album is decidedly on the chill side of reggae and this is evidenced by the opening track. Signature reggae sounds meeting the bong rips of ambient chill. One can just feel stress melting away on deep riddims. In one album longtime fans will find odes to Thievery’s signature sounds and reggae enthusiasts will find a new take on a beloved genre.

“In one album longtime fans will find odes to Thievery’s signature sounds and reggae enthusiasts will find a refreshing take on a beloved genre.”

A couple of tracks offer up some solid hip-hop and a few are straight up ambient/chill in true Thievery Corporation form. As a whole, this is a great album. It’s perfect for a relaxing smoke session and warm feelings for any time of year. Got some snow where you’re at? Give this a listen and it’ll feel like summer is just a spliff away. Hanging out on the back porch in some flip-flops? Throw this on and it’ll do you just right. Also, if you have Amazon Prime, it’s free, though this is one album that merits repeat listening for years to come.

bg-fruit-of-life.jpg

The recently uncovered: “Why don’t I know this?”

I was heading down to the market in my town to collect some fruits, veggies, spices, and Asian staples. After parking, I was making my way to get a bhan mi from a local food truck and a dude pulled up in his shiny red pick up truck. He was blasting some music – it was reggae, that much was clear – and I watched him park and then get out. The dude who got out was a black guy with dreads and a rastafarian knit hat. You know the kind. It’s large enough to hold dreads while looking nice and colorful. He seemed friendly enough, and I am always on the hunt for good, new music so naturally I asked him what he was listening to. Sho nuff, it was Stephen Marley with the song “Rock Stone”. As soon as I got home, I did a search and found the whole album “The Revelation Pt. II: The Fruit Of Life” free with Amazon Prime.

The incident described above took place a couple of months ago, but I just can’t get away from “The Revelation Pt. II.” Seriously, it’s a great record. With lots of upbeat tracks, some you might hear in a club, then just good music the rest of the way through, it holds its own. After listening from start to finish a few times, it is hard to find fault with anything. “The Revelation Pt. II” is right up there with “Welcome to Jamrock” as far as a fun, great, reggae record is concerned, and dare I say it has surpassed “Jamrock” in my book.

“A tough world meets feelgood reggae”

That being said, it is definitely a modern addition to the genre. With the use of Pitbull, Shaggy, Damian Marley, Bounty Killer, Wyclef Jean, and a whole host of others, the whole album is fresh, inspired, and striking. Great lyrics, great music, and overall a really fun, enjoyable listen.

At 24 songs including the bonus tracks at the end, you get your money’s worth. Some of the highlights are: Revelation Party – a total blast, upbeat, but chill, it will have you singing along and tapping your feet; The Lion Roars – a little bit more emotional, this is a heartfelt ode that depicts the depth this album can take; Pleasure or Pain – Busta Rhymes lends his voice to this minimalist track that shines for it’s ability to highlight lyrical work; Paradise – sensuous melodies plus Twista, it’s just awesome; Tonight (It’s a Party) – can definitely be played at your next party; Ghetto Boy – it is the surprisingly listenable story of a ghetto boy; Rock Stone – going to lose some hearing to blasting this one at high volume, just like the guy in the red pickup; When She Dances – another great song for a party or good feels.

“The Revelation Pt. II: The Fruit of Life” is a new classic. A tough world meets feel good reggae. The intro says it all. It is a clip of Charlie Chaplin’s famous speech from “The Great Dictator” imploring us to unite against tyranny, oppression, hate, and greed, set to a solemn drum beat. But despite the hardships and difficulties in life, there is a lot of fun to be had, the Fruit of Life as one might say. This is not one to be missed.

Advertisements

The Art of Balance Album Review

Mighty Mystic – The Art of Balance

I just picked up this album at the local record store (iTunes) today to get the vibes during the day that I can only indulge in outside of the workplace. And I am pleased to say that it is pretty awesome. It’s a roots reggae with some incredible rock guitar laced throughout like some nice dabs wrapped around a six paper joint.

As a whole, the tracks on the album contain enough diversity of sound to keep you from getting bored without losing the relaxing reggae vibe. This is an album you can pump on your speakers, spark up a spliff, and head to the beach with. However, Mighty Mystic doesn’t shy away from using some songs to address some difficult issues. For instance, “Red Light Girl” is about exactly what you think it’s about, but the verses contain the nuances and insight to paint a picture of an individual and the struggles and systems that lead to a young, good looking, smart girl getting into prostitution. It’s a solid song, though not the most uplifting one on the album (but it’s reggae so how down can you really get?).

On the other end of the spectrum, you have “How I Rock” which fits perfectly with some good headphones, a long board, and a paved beachfront path. “High Grade” is a cool addition that is ideal for sparking up whatever indica you got and straight chillin’ to the sounds of Jamaica.

One thing that adds an amazing dimension on almost all the songs are the guitar solos. A smooth, clean electric guitar lifting you up and carrying you across the tops of the clouds. Sometimes it sounds almost Santana-esq and other times it has me thinking about Slightly Stoopid. Either way its a great add that helps this album stand out against other reggae I’ve stumbled across.

I am quite fond of reggae music, though I am not well versed and lack a depth of knowledge into the scene itself. That being said, I spent $10 on this record to scratch a pretty gnarly reggae music itch and I am very pleasantly surprised! It was a $10 well spent and it has inspired me to dig further into Mighty Mystic and his contemporaries. It has me wanting to go see live reggae music pretty badly and craving the arrival of summer something fierce. If you need some good vibes to add to your next experience, definitely give this a go. You’ll be happy you did.

5* out of 5*. Highly recommended. Excellent cannabis music. Couldn’t find any reasons to drop a star.

“Music to make you realize you’d rather be at home”

Music from the artist T_A_M, an Aberdeen based producer. This excellent mix is filled with curious sounds and downtempo vibes. For those of us who are unable to be at home, T_A_M does inspire us to relisten in the comfort of our own crib. But I argue that this soundtrack provides an excellent vibe for being out and about. 

Via i-D