Peculiar I They Called Me Madness

Peculiar I is a new voice among Canada's long running history of excellent dub poets. They Called Me Madness is a hard-hitting, righteous disc of verse that cannot fail to impress with its passion - this ranks with any dub poet world-wide. Owing a debt to the great Mutabaruka, Peculiar I often escalates his tirades into out and out yelling on the mic - one almost expects his voice to give out, but he keeps going. The musical production is skilled and diverse, drawing chiefly on roots, dancehall and hip-hop rhythms while throwing in a touch of ska and dub. A particular highlight of the disc is the electric Nyabinghi rhythm of "Blackman's Struggle," where digital bass tones thump you in the chest in the best drum and bass tradition while Peculiar I breaks down the subject in many different ways over six-and-a-half minutes of escalating fury. Other tunes are more reflective, particularly as the disc goes on, effectively contrasting the blazing approach in most songs. If anything, Peculiar I sounds as though he's got too many ideas to fit in one song, but that's an enviable flaw. This disc is 100 percent consciousness - nothing jiggy about it. They Called Me Madness is an excellent example of a purely independent recording succeeding where a record label might try to water down the message. (Independent)