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Ras Myrhdak, "Prince Of Fyah (Vol. 1)"

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This debut full length stuffed with one drop rhythms and Rastafarian principles contains many of the ingredients for a great reggae album, from its backing band of seasoned session musicians to the talented up-and-coming vocalist at its center. Yet somehow, despite the considerable effort shown, Prince of Fyah congeals into an unremarkable dish that, while easy to swallow, never quite satisfies.

Minor 7 Flat 5

Initially, I was excited to receive this release from Ras Myrhdak, whose lyrically intriguing "Blazer" had been a clever hit in Jamaica last year. A protege of Capleton with a decade of singles and ties to such noteworthy figures as Cutty Ranks and Bobby Digital, Myrhdak seemed long overdue to drop an album's worth of material. Unfortunately, producer Brotherman, eschewing the few genre missteps of Turbulence's Do Good, plays it considerably safe, a frustrating flaw which plagued that singjay's lackluster record. Rootsy one drop reggae suits the Jah praising vocalist, who flexes his malleable vocal range regularly within a single track, but the tracks have a frustrating tendency to blur into one another.

One of the few mention-worthy cuts, "Mankind," takes a page straight out of Damien Marley's playbook, vocally resembling the internationally known star's flow as well as his socially conscious lyrics. The riddim hits harder than the bulk of the album, and Myrhdak would do well to continue to explore that rougher side of the sound on future recordings. On the other side of the spectrum, "Jahneasha," comes closest to what could be a hit, though Myrhdak's romantic yet occasionally nasal delivery is a slightly overdone. Still, the singer's minor limitations don't fully account for why the end result just doesn't make for much than a passable reggae album, which the market has more than enough of.

Although this is only the second Minor 7 Flat 5 album I've heard, I cannot help but think that the problem with this and the aforementioned Turbulence release is the common thread that ties them. In proper reggae tradition, the label essentially serves as a showcase for Brotherman's productions, and in the same way that Lloyd "Bullwackie" Barnes or King Jammy define their imprints, quality control rests with the figurehead. Myrhdak has promise, as his hook-heavy choruses belie, but thanks to Brotherman, nothing here can match or surpass "Blazer."

Last Updated on Sunday, 13 May 2007 03:54  


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