Burning Spear

Rasta Business

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"Talking, reasoning, about some constructive things"; this line from "Every Other Nation" nicely sums up Rasta Business, whose songs act as a launch pad for a series of insightful discussions. And who better than Winston Rodney to lecture and educate; it's a role the Burning Spear has always held, although he remains somewhat unsure if others respect it. "My diploma is from his Majesty, never recognized by society," he insists. Jamaica is in need of a voice, a recognized speaker, another of "Every Other Nation"'s observations. However, the island's real national voices are lost in the din of PR and spin, and even Rastafarianism has found itself marketed, a development that meets with Rodney's disapproval, forms the theme for the album's title track, and is further explored on "Legal Hustlers." Rodney may no longer be the impassioned, searing Spear of yore, and while he still scathingly condemns on occasion, it's evident his true aim is to educate and raise consciousness, a point that the anthemic "Subject in School" makes clear as the singer campaigns for lessons in Garvey-ism. The sublime "Africa" is a crash course in repatriation, while "Not Stupid" adopts his classic "Slavery Days" to current events. Like all great ambassadors and teachers, Rodney puts his views across with clarity while simultaneously reaching out to those who have yet to grasp his points. He makes all learning enjoyable, all discussions pertinent, and his insightful views continue to intrigue. As always, his band cooks merrily along behind him, but the music, strong as it is, is not the focus here, merely an auditory tool to enhance the lecture.

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