Cocoa Tea

Biological Warfare

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    8
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One of the towering figures of early dancehall reggae and still going strong 30 years into his career, Cocoa Tea today sounds better than ever. Biological Warfare was recorded with the German producer Andreas "Brotherman" Christophersen and features an impressive roster of A-list session musicians, including Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Dean Fraser, Nambo Robinson, and others. Some tracks are written and performed in a vintage late roots style, while others are modern digital dancehall based on Christophersen's own programming. Cocoa Tea is equally at home in both musical contexts, and his lyrics are consistently excellent. Notice in particular how he applies the "Let the Power Fall" melody to the "Classical" computer rhythm on "Let the Dancehall," how he confidently rides the stutter-step dancehall beat on "Extortionist," how he takes lyrical charge on the funky reggae/R&B groove of "Give Dem," and how he brings home the roots on the brilliant and horn-heavy one-drop groove of "Man from Spain." There's a certain irony to the fact that so much of today's best roots reggae music is coming from Germany and the Netherlands, but so be it. As long as someone is giving great singers like Cocoa Tea a place to record and a rhythm to ride, it doesn't really matter where the studio is. Highly recommended.

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