Vibes have never gone lacking in reggae music, and Upsetta Music x Flow Productions’ latest album takes it to another level with the Love Jump Riddim.
Reggae music is an acquired taste for the untrained ear. While most enjoy the cool jams and tunes that are reminiscent of a day or night in the islands, some find it hard to digest the similar sound that ties reggae, soca, ska, and calypso together, making the critique that it “all sounds the same.” Obviously, these people have not only not been exposed to a healthy variety of music, they don’t understand the rhythmic flow that underlies the root of reggae. This is exactly where the Love Jump Riddim produced by Upsetta Records x Flow Productions gets the last laugh.
Team Upsetta is no stranger to creating hits, including “Too Watchy” by Collie Buddz, “Farmer Man” by Kali Blaxx, “Can’t Take Bun” by Khago and “If Me Never Run,” so I was expecting a large amount of creativity and detail in the production of this album. My expectations were definitely met.
In a move I, as a self-proclaimed music lover and wannabe Rastafarian (don’t laugh), have never seen before, Team Upsetta selected six different artists to hop on the same unique reggae riddim (the Love Jump) and managed to produce six very different songs & styles. The only other time I have seen a similar idea was back in the days of B2K who released remix accompaniments to each of their albums, but they still did not manage to use the same music with different features to keep the audience listening. In a musical climate where music lovers are used to remixes and covers, Team Upsetta had an incredibly genius idea to take control over – and master – the use of the same track to appease listeners across all listening preferences. Even more interesting, Team Upsetta’s choices of featured artists put a flavor so unique on each track that I had to go back and listen to the others again to ensure I wasn’t tripping and the backing tracks actually were identical.
The backing track has a dance vibe, but not so much that the song isn’t versatile. Love Jump Riddim can be played doing anything and still be an appropriate soundtrack, as a background at work, just chilling with friends, picking up girls (or guys), and also in the club, as an added bonus. Love Jump Riddim’s versatility makes it the sound of the summer because it embodies all of the summer’s activities in a sound. If you could hear the hottest months of the year, it would sound like Love Jump Riddim.
“We Got Love (Cherry Lipstick Rmx)” by international dancehall superstar Mr. Lexx (Lexxus) and Aisha Davis is probably the track that I will have on repeat. The track starts with the familiar callout that initiates many reggae songs and introduces the singers. Then the track makes a turn with Davis’ verse that invokes a chill vibe with Davis’ verse, and hits what I feel is the hype dance vibe of the song with Mr. Lexx’s deep voice as he delivers a vibey, rhythmic rap. Isiah Mentor’s track, “Foundation Music,” sums up what the Love Jump Riddim is all about – the love and enjoyment of “real reggae music,” a genre that evokes a good time and good feelings for all. It also includes the kind of sing-song sound with a shrill shriek reminiscent of some of Sizzla’s hits like “Give Me a Try.”
Natural Black’s “Happy Days” will immediately make you smile. This is another that you’re sure to jam on repeat. In my opinion, this track summarizes reggae music and the “everything will be alright” attitude of the Caribbean people. The tune is a take on the gospel song “Oh Happy Day” and Natural Black sings “no one can stop us from singing” after explaining why dwelling on the past is futile. If you need a pick-me-up, this is the track for you.
Jah Teff “Bring Me Joy” features Sweet Tea, and the song is just that – sweet. This one goes out to all the lovers. Jah Teff sings about how much he loves “his boo” and Sweet Tea returns the sentiment, wanting to make love and not war. It’s a cute tune about being faithful to the only partner who can “bring me joy.” The song makes you want to make up with the one that got away. It’s the realization that when you find “The One,” you better lock them down for the sake of your heart.
Fabian’s youthful voice is just plain fun. I felt the same when I heard it as I did when I heard young Michael Jackson’s voice on “Don’t Stop Til’ You Get Enough,” or Lloyd on “Get it Shawty” The higher pitch contributes to the energetic, boyish theme of the song, “Hold So Tight,” a tune about a new love interest or crush. The best word to describe the song is “cute,” as you can imagine the singer smiling while thinking to himself about the girl for which the song is written.
“Amsterdam Coffeeshop” just needs to be played in your car, windows down, cruising the streets on a summer day, or next to the pool. Perfect laces the Love Jump Riddim with a chorus that you can’t help but sing along to, and you feel as you would in what would probably be the most chill place in the world – a coffeehouse in Amsterdam. After all, if a hot cup of joe and a bag of herb can’t get you relaxed, what can?
In another genius move, the group released an official mix of all of the songs on SoundCloud, since DJ’s are bound to do it anyway.
Upsetta Music and Flow Productions’s Love Jump Riddim is only a few days old and it’s already taking legs – and for good reason: strategic planning and taking control of the track’s proliferation, and summer hits for the duration of the album.