Stephen Marley Mind Control

Long one of the tightest families in music, the Marley sons could have easily joined the ranks of the Wailers in playing the same familiar tunes to fans who would adore them regardless. However, in keeping with the legacy of their father, they have continued to push the traditional sounds of reggae forward, none more so than Stephen Marley on his latest release, Mind Control. Marley has no qualms about using the highest production values, and the blazing horns and back-up female vocals, especially on opening anti-slavery shout out "Mind Control,” sound almost as if he using g-funk era studio wizardry. Naturally, Marley is quick to point out modern society’s ills and takes a crack at drug laws on "Iron Bars,” a semi-autobiographical beat box-laced tune inspired by Stephen and Julian Marley’s stint in a Florida prison for possession, as well as "Chase Dem,” a roots-reggae rant on crooked politicians that is hands down the closest song to his father you will ever hear. A number of quest appearances, including Mos Def on the lazy neo-soul styled "Hey Baby,” Ben Harper and a clan of brothers, keep each song fresh. The album, brimming with confidence, highlights Stephen as the leader of a new generation of Marleys. (Tuff Gong)