Fantan Mojah Hail the King

Fantan Mojah is one of the rising stars of contemporary conscious reggae in Jamaica. Coming from the Cockpit Country, an uncharted region of Jamaica where the rebellious Maroons escaped British slavery in the 1700s, he continues the area’s heavily African sensibilities within Kingston’s sonic landscape. He’s an affecting vocalist with a consistent off-key melisma that follows in the tradition of post-Tenor Saw vocalists. The music frequently hits hard with "Corruption,” "Hungry” and the evergreen "King of Kings,” but other tracks’ smooth R&B styles are less successful. Another irritation with his love songs is that he seems to lose control of his pitch when he attempts more of a croon. He is much better with declamatory tunes over tougher rhythms, although sometimes the rhythm production by a variety of producers is uninspired. While conscious reggae continues to gain popularity in Jamaica, the music frequently doesn’t rise above competent re-imaging of classic roots rhythms. More visionary production would elevate the conscious concerns of today to truly timeless music, which is exactly what happened in the early ’70s when roots reggae was first defined. Mojah’s strong vocals and lyrics make this an overall success with great potential for the next effort. (Greensleeves)