G Mac breaks the barriers of Reggae music with his debut album titled “Breaking Barriers”
Reggae artiste and producer, G-Mac, who has worked on several projects with Grammy-nominated reggae artiste Sizzla, has released his new album titled “Breaking Barriers,” produced by european group Fireclatch Prod., under the patronage of VPAL Music in December last year. For many years, G Mac has been performing in places like Germany, France and other major reggae hotspots and is now embarking on a new journey to share his brand of Reggae music with the rest of the world.
“Pretty girl, you got me getting wild”
The opener of the album is a sentimental song titled “Only You.” It is a Reggae song that is flavored with a Hip Hop beat sampling a bright echoing trumpets section. “Pretty girl, you got me getting wild.” With his bold lyrics and claying vocals this song injects another shot of life into the waning month of Love.
Up next is “Hustlers Anthem.” This track comes with a strong focus on modern hip-hop brush. The brass alongside the blues-harp like synth give this song quite a dark tone. The glitching synth that comes in around the chorus make the tension rise as he speeds up his flow. The theme revolves around life in the ghetto. A gritty and stripped down plea to remind us of the hardships of ghetto dwellings. Solid songwriting and delivery. The music and message is clear and present.
“Reach for your dreams and your dreams will reach you”
The motivational song “Never Stay Down” strikes us with a Hip Hop beat tinted by tonalities of synth that sort of reminisce retro video games music. “Reach for your dreams and your dreams will reach you.” In this outstanding track G-Mac wisely tells us about the importance of keeping your head up while chasing for your goals. A reality track that is smart and thoughtful.
It is followed by cheerful Dancehall song “Million Pound.” You can tell that the riddim has a late 80s vibe by the style of the lead melody that somehow sounds similar to the distinctive pattern of the classic “Punany Riddim.” The elation of listening to this song is evident from the first snappy up-tempo beats of the instrumental.
Next station is “Lock Dung The Place.” This song that features Sizzla Kalonji is based on a modern version of the 1992 “Bam Bam Riddim,” one of the most famous Dancehall riddims. This song is a pitch-perfect example of music you could play in a dance. Pull it up, press play one more time and buss a blank to have fun.
Up next is a title song “Breaking Barriers.” Nostalgic and supple with a minimalist Hip Hop Trap-oriented beat, this song comes off as somewhat experimental. It rides on various synths which transport you into another dimension as if you were watching a sci-fi movie. The striking chords of the piano and ticking hi hats give a sensation of time running out. The way that song combines the originality, edginess and minimalism of modern music might not necessarily be everyone’s cup of tea.
“Angels are over me, when one door closes, Jah opens many for me”
It is followed by “Angels Over Me.” A sweet Reggae song blended with a Hip Hop beat. Probably one of the best track of this album along “Only You.” It is a suitably dreamy and laid-back song in reverence for Jah. G-mac sings about how Jah has constantly been there for him. He also reminds us that there will always be a brighter day even if we have been going through the rough. “Angels are over me, when one door closes, Jah opens many for me.”
“Bubble and Wine” can be described in two words: Gyal tune. Based on Dancehall riddim, this song is style-wise in the same vein as the 4th track of the album. It is paced by a groovy baseline and a muted guitar. This song smoothes it out for the ladies with some bouncy and breezy vibes.
“Dem coulda never stop me, happiness me say, ghetto life bless me”
Things get serious with “Ghetto Dreams.” It’s a Dancehall song with epic strings and a deep dark bass of strings brightened by high-pitched arpeggios along some crisp synthesizers. It is distinguished by a military march style of drum pattern that emphasizes his speech about the life in the ghetto. “Life it nuh easy, we face the struggles and nobody nuh see we. Dem coulda never stop me, happiness me say, ghetto life bless me.” An awe-aspiring song that echoes the same sentiments as the second track of the album. Worth listening to!
“Babylon’s taking precious life for money”
Next is inspirational “Blood Money,” featuring Kinectikal & Ruffian. Atop a classic music sample wrapped in a hip-hop beat, one doesn’t help but have an impression of listening to a soundtrack. The tone of the song alternates between the darkness of orchestral strings and the bright glowing bells of a Christmas carol. The artists deals with a very important matter, which is money and more precisely the darker side of this which is corruption and war revolving around it. “Blood’s for money, blood’s for money. Babylon’s taking precious life for money. Blood’s for money, blood’s for money. The world gone back they’re taking life for money.”
“A Nuh Any Gyal” is an uptempo club banger marked by a crossover Electronic Dance Music/Dancehall fusion Riddim. With its simple hook and electronically-programmed drum pattern, it sounds similar to a Major Lazer‘s production.
Next up is Kitty Cat (Club Mix), another crossover Electro/Dancehall track in continuity with previous track. The riddim is based on a airy synth, kind of reminding the one you can hear in the “Dem Time Deh Riddim,” opposed to a fat and edgy synth bass. It is a surefire club.
Keeping it in the mood to bleach all night in the club, a club remix of “A Nuh Any Gyal,“ which conveys a breezy party vibe, is also featured on the album.
The closer of the album is a bonus freestyle track – “Def Ill’s One Take Show (Live Freestyle).” As it is a bonus track, I guess I should let you discover this one by yourself and let us know what you think about it.
“To be labeled and categorised is not my wish”
G-Mac indeed “broke the barriers” in a way of amalgamating different genres, which, in turn, works quite well. He doesn’t limit himself to pure Reggae or Dancehall. For some fastidious minds that don’t perceive it as a freedom of art and go as far as to label such artists as “sell-outs” or “commercial,” I’ll simply quote G-Mac himself. He refuses to be blatantly pigeonholed: “To be labeled and categorized is not my wish. I am about music that can inspire and elevate, but I am also about fun music that will help people release the stresses of life.”
If these indications are anything to go by, it can only get better and better with the Jamaican born Reggae Dancehall ambassador. All in all, this 14-track record from one of Jamaica’s very promising young artists, is worth listening to.
Written by Emin Bayramov & Krazy Gyal for Jamworld876