Maybe you’ve been wondering, like me, why Sizzla has been so quiet so far this year. Instead of 860 billion singles, he’s released only a few hundred million. Well the answer may be that he’s been prepping the upcoming release of THREE new albums.
I know what you’re thinking: “What is this, ten years ago?” Not counting EPs and bootleg releases from those shysters behind Penitentiary/Rude Boy/Yes Records, you’d have to go back to 2006 when Sizzla last released more than two albums in one calendar year. In the heady days of 2004 he had FIVE new albums out, and after the run of 2002-2006 (18 albums in five years, not counting “Da Real Live Thing,” ‘Ever So Nice” or “African Children” separately since they were all double-dips of “Da Real Thing,” “Rise to the Occasion” and ‘Red Alert”), you would be forgiven for expecting Kalonji to release enough albums for the rest of his career to build a nice add-on to your house out of them.
Since then it’s been a bit quieter. Sizzla was no less productive in terms of singles, but he had a few years with one album only (2008-2010 all were one-album years, and 2008 gave us only the disappointing and little-heard “Addicted”) – including 2013. Now all the sudden, we’re just two months into 2014 and three albums are coming up. Plus we haven’t heard a peep from the Don Corleon camp, after a tweet early in 2013 suggesting we’d see a sequel to “Rise to the Occasion” and “Soul Deep” that year. Might there be a fourth album on the way..? Who knows, but as always I am optimistic and ready to spend way too much money!
Here’s what is upcoming:
Nuh Worry Unu Self (John John Records). You might remember John John as being responsible for Sizzla’s biggest album of the last five years, “The Scriptures.” With a lush, reverberated production and beautiful one-drop tunes like “In Jamaica,” this was an album that aspired to be a modern-day “Da Real Thing” or “Black Woman & Child.” If it fell short, it wasn’t for lack of effort. So a second album from this label is welcome news indeed. The release date for this one is set as March 18 – that’s the download date on this site, anyway, where you can also hear some lengthy samples of the album’s 14 tracks (which I strongly recommend – the title track sounds especially lovely). It’s unclear if that’s also the CD release date, but it’s fairly certain that there WILL be a CD, which warms this old guy’s traditionalist heart.
Radical (VP Records). VP has been Sizzla’s steadiest label over the duration of his career, going back to the days of “Black Woman & Child.” The last couple VP releases were co-releases with the artiste’s own imprint, Kalonji Records – these included “In Gambia” and the superior “The Messiah.” It’s unclear if this is a third collaborative release or just another VP one, and it’s also unclear who is executive producing this time – though notably, the Xterminator single “Burn Dem Schism” is on the track list, along with a few other familiar tunes (and weirdly, the very old “Sad Mistake” that was on the “Ain’t Gonna See Us Fall” album years back – hmm?). Regardless, this should be a solid album of quality material, and it’s set for a date of April 18th (if it doesn’t get pushed back – VP is prone to that).
Born A King (Muti Music). Again we have a track list and again there are a few familiar titles, including the big “Champion Sound,” “I’m Living,” and “Why Does the World Cry.” This one MAY be a digital-only release, though that would be unusual for Sizzla who so far seems to have maintained the clout and popularity to keep physical releases of his material coming. I’m already making inquiries, as you’d expect! [UPDATE: Muti Music has confirmed that there will be a CD and vinyl release of this album.] The date on this one is the rather odd April 27th (a Sunday). As for the label, I’m not that familiar with Muti Music and this is Sizzla’s first full-length release under that banner, after a teaser in the form of this next item…
I’m Living (The Versions & Remixes) EP (Muti Music). I didn’t include this as one of the three albums, because it’s not an album and it doesn’t look like there will be a physical release of it, either. Nonetheless, this is worth your time to check out: an EP with a beautiful recent single, various remixes and versions of it (many of which sound entirely different from the original), and a couple tunes by other artists on the same riddim, PLUS the bare riddim and an acoustic version of same. Whew! All in all, this little “EP” is 17 tracks deep and a very healthy chunk of that is Sizzla, so even though I’m usually somewhat indifferent to remix and digital-only releases, I’ll be downloading this on the day of its release. Which is coming up fast, as it happens – February 26th per Amazon, who already have samples if you want to hear what you’re in for.
Finally, I’d better conclude this post by giving a shout-out to the esteemed Ras Achis, whose blog is necessary reading for me on a weekly basis, and who pointed me to two of the four releases listed here. Big ups!