The Marley siblings’ Ghetto Youths International outfit has rounded out a challenging 2020 with the release of the star-studded Set up Shop, Vol. 4 compilation album.
Brothers Stephen, Damian and Julian along with third generation Marleys, Jo Mersa and Yohan, are joined on the project by a slew of outstanding guests, ranging from seasoned veterans to fiery up-and-comers. Salaam Remi, Black-Am-I, Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Capleton, Yami Bolo, Christopher Ellis, Third World, Busy Signal, and Answele lend their talent to the 21-track classic reggae trod.
A stripped down, piano-driven Life is a Circle ballad, from Damian, leads the Set Up Shop Vol 4’s yearend issuance. The track bears the imprint of a spiritual, introspective tale, one of self-realisation and a karmic completion to the sum of life’s experiences. In true Gong senior form, Junior Gong stirringly wails “He’s always with us now, always with I now,” alluding to a deity’s omniscience and His unwavering protectorship.
The overall sonics of the project incorporates some rnb, hiphop, and dancehall elements, but mainly employs the ‘tried and true’ recognisable decades-long reggae formula. Even including signature Bob Marley and the Wailers-sounding patterns on Julian’s Pages as well as the homage-paying classic 80s baselines heard on tracks such as the Kabaka Pyramid led Love Mi Bad.
Outstandingly, another track, Na Na Na also ignites nostalgia with distinctive rhythms that resemble those of the highly favoured Try Jah Love-era of the Third World band’s artistry. On the track, the legendary group receives a welcomed assist from crooner Chronixx. Similarly, the rub-a-dub Beres Hammond-era sounding Still Go a Dance – exquisitely performed by Christopher Ellis – is an instant earworm.
Despite music production largely being stalled, social media, radio and other technologies played an important role in the dissemination of music, globally. Artistes were charged to tapped into these ‘new normal’ protocols after a number of the almost-two dozen tracks, which then made rounds earlier in the year, were put out.
Kabaka Pyramid’s Trample Dem, the Third World-Junior Gong’s You’re Not The Only One and Christopher Ellis’ Flame Against The Wind were a few of the tracks, from the Set Up Shop Vol 4 project, that created steady buzz being released.
Watch Black-Am-I‘s The Edge from the Ghetto Youths International album below: