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.

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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.

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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.

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