Chuck Fenda


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There's no questioning Chuck Fenda's motivations or his passion: on Fulfillment, his fifth album, he continues to dedicate his singjay skills to spreading messages of social uplift and spiritual admonition, supported by top-quality dancehall and one-drop rhythms provided by producer Kemar "Flava" McGregor. The problem continues to be his unreliable pitch, which is excruciatingly flat on several of this album's key tracks: on the opening number, "I Am for the Poor," he's so out of tune that it's tempting to abandon the album immediately; on "Survivor," also early in the program, he combines painfully off-pitch singing with an annoying whinny that makes him sound like a Sizzla imitator. But if you don't listen to the rest of the album you'll miss some real gems: the excellent "Oh Lord Forgive Them," the very nice combination track "Bad Boy" (featuring Sammy Dread), the even better combination track "Tough Time" (featuring a brilliant Bushman). Fenda deserves credit for taking some musical risks as well, such as the beatless "Thin Line" and the subtly implied nyahbinghi rhythms that underlie "Want to Be Free." And for those listeners who aren't clear on this, there's an instructive song titled "The Devil Is a Liar." McGregor's rhythms are excellent throughout.

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