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Ras Myrhdak

Prince of Fyah, Vol: 1

(Minor7Flat5; US: 8 May 2007; UK: Available as import)

Produced by Minor7Flat5 founder Andreas “Brotherman” Christophersen, Ras Myrhdak’s first album brings across the hybrid qualities of the label’s usual fare without sounding exactly like it. “Global Warning”, by far the best track on the disc, showcases both Brotherman’s preference for innovative reggae/dancehall and Myrhdak’s ability to achieve an impressive vocal range. As testament to its carefully crafted melodies, the album as a whole proves memorable, almost to the point where one cannot help but think they have heard these tunes before. Despite its Rastafarian subject matter, for example, “Swept Away” resembles—lyrically and musically—many of the R&B songs that circulate heavily in the United States. That is, Myrhdak makes good on the numerous musical traditions that have influenced him to cover a number of issues on this first album, making it relevant to black communities in Jamaica and the United States. Moreover, he singjays with his listeners as much as he does against the negative forces of gun violence, even if he doesn’t appear to avoid the kind of self-endorsement launched by reggae artists such as Rankin’ Scroo. This Prince of Fyah is just innovative enough to let us know that reggae is far from having exhausted itself as a genre. Myrhdak himself characterizes his music as a “breath of fresh air in Dancehall”. The singjay’s claim is hardly an exaggeration given that his first single, “Blazer”, dominated charts in Jamaica for several weeks. Of course, Myrhdak hails from the parish of St. Ann in Jamaica, where Bob Marley and Burning Spear also got started. As evidenced by his debut, he has clearly not forgotten this coincidence. His songs grope forcefully backwards to capture the versatile roots to which he is indebted. Whether or not he will achieve the level of popularity in North America that he enjoys in his country of origin remains doubtful. He is, for the time being, Jamaica’s newest “Warriah”.

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