August 28th should be called Good Friday. The much anticipated album by Protoje post RCA deal is now in the streets. This was probably his most hyped release, and certainly had the most aggressive release cycle. Diggy basically, released 3 singles in 4 weeks leading up to the album...who does that? Protoje did.
When you only have digital platforms while in Covid-19, you have to switch it up, and he did. How do you create a tremendous amount of buzz in a short time?? Release songs rapid fire like your life depends on it. If that doesn't get your attention, then also pree his first dancehall collab with Popcaan (or at least his biggest) with the most epic visuals. Then have your entire team release visuals that run up to a million views on youtube like they are a sprinting trio...Bolt, Blake, and Weir.
The substance of 'In search of lost time' is present as expected, which will be a relief for reggae fans. The most important aspect of reggae is yes, the sound, but more importantly the message. Proto has managed to balance both of these with contemporary saucy sounds and potent reflective relevant messages. The word play is always top class, along with a consistent heavy very reggae bassline on most tracks and his signature boom bap.
Of course one could say, why does every reggae artist now have to have trap snares and drums on a project? We could then ask Third World about that when everyone could clearly hear the disco sounds that ran thru reggae in the late 70's early 80's. We could ask Maxi Priest why his biggest records were certainly heavily hip hop and R&B influenced. We also should remember the G.O.A.T of all fusion albums Chant down Babylon produced by Stephen Marley. Fusion and sonic experimentation is as much apart of reggae as the chekeh. Protoje and his team of award winning and emerging producers are no exception to this rule. The entire point of this type of creative expression is to keep the next generation tuned into the message into the music. Contemporary reggae serves as a balance to other messages in our (Jamaican) music that have alternate inspirations and purposes.
This project feels a lot closer to home in terms of it's tone and themes. Maybe this is due to a majority of its production taking place at Diggy's mountain retreat & studio called Habitat. Protoje brought together an a list of established and emerging talent in the reggae industry. Supa Dups who has produced hits for Rihanna, Drake, Nina Sky, Beenie Man and many others. He enlisted his day one Winta James and uber talented up and coming producers Ziah, Natural High and IO Tosh. High level collabs are a great treat for us on this project and to hear Proto go back and forth with Koffee - is honey. Wiz doing what he does best is also another highlight and definitely gives us roll up and smoke music. Naturally, he co-produced this album as he refines his own production skill set to 'G' level. Not every great artist is a great producer, but when an artist knows how to collaborate in a deliberate way with the right producers - magic awaits.
We'll put a 🔥 next to our Dubwise picks from the project. Stream it loud now!
1. Switch It Up feat. Koffee 🔥
2. Deliverance 🔥
3. Still I Wonder 🔥
4. Weed & Ting
5. A Vibe feat. Wiz Khalifa
6. Same So
7. In Bloom feat. Lila Iké 🔥
8. Self Defense 🔥
9. Like Royalty feat. Popcaan 🔥
10. Strange Happenings