"Wake up. Shake Up. Kick Out. Chronixx."
Jamaica's contemporary reggae prince Chronixx is bringing the fire following his debut full-length album Dread and Terrible. The 23-year-old artist from Spanish Town teamed up with Federation Sound's Max Glazer to produce some great new tracks for his Roots & Chalice Mixtape.
A mix of original production, classic raggamuffin dubs and old-school 80s to contemporary hip-hop samples, Roots & Chalice is a modern day yard soundtrack. Diving in, we begin with "Chalice & Roots" featuring the awesome Kabaka Pyramid, who also made an appearance on the Quit This City EP from Toronto's own Grandtheft. The duo throw around quick-witted, rhyming verse atop Drake's "0 to 100." He even grabs the Nigerian Afrobeat of Wizkid's "Ojuelegba." The good part about all of these sonic puzzle pieces is that they're being put together tastefully. As we start to vibe to familiar sounds, the album turns down a little to the soft, pondering "Question," before the first of many commentary interludes Chronixx includes - sounding like they were recorded on a phone.
Perhaps the best track is "Perfect Tree/Cannabis" with sharp newcomer Eesah. It includes a wicked sample of Blackstar's "Respiration" featuring Common. Absolutely love the old-school hip-hop vibe blended with a laidback reggae rhyme and verse. Perhaps the most explicit track on the album (for some maybe, you could label it), Chronixx also discusses all of ganja's benefits in the following interlude, "The Plant," like a preacher.
Among all of Jah's praises in "Iyah Walk" and title track "Roots & Chalice," you've got the standard crooner ballad bedroom tunes. "Best Love" has fresh faced Kelissa's sweet voice atop a bright dancehall beat, while "Majesty" is a solo dub from Chronixx giving love to his woman, whom he considers his 'queen.'
The artist pays homage to his true roots and Spanish Town upbringing in a quaint narrative told in "Spanish Town Rocking," while "Real Real" is on a pouncing Vybz Kartel beat. "Tenement Yard (News Carrin' Dread)" is a classic tune with a rocksteady sound and a vocal aesthetic that sounds like it's through a jukebox or old turntable monitor. The cracky audio and saxophone horns really honour traditional sound.
At 23 tracks, like the years in Chronixx's life, it's a solid mixtape that you could leave on while driving (maybe in traffic to calm you down), cooking, loving or at a party. This young'un is all smiles and confidence, but it's for a reason: he's pulling his weight, tactful in his craft, collaborating with the right people and unearthing roots in a contemporary fashion. Keep getting that green, Chronixx.