Coming the same year as his more cutting-edge and electro Sidewalk Steppa album, the 2016 LP Rasta State is a rootsy, politically charged alternative from Black Uhuru singer Mykal Rose, who used to be strictly Michael Rose before began utilizing the Ethiopian spelling of his name on some recordings. Here, the name fits perfectly as "Israelites" -- not the Desmond Dekker classic but a new tune -- gets to the heart of the matter with the matter of fact "Open your eyes/Don't be dumb and blind." "Golden Throne" states "I sit on upon this golden throne/And dismantle the United Nations" as it aims to topple Babylon with grand, Lee "Scratch" Perry-styled tactics. Highlight "Hungryness" is the kind of swaying sufferers' song that drove Black Uhuru albums like the classic Red, while "Peace and Love in the Ghetto" is the uptempo version, high-kicking as if it was a prime Anthony B. cut. A returning King Tubby provides the production and riddims, including the classic Ali Baba riddim that fuels the Selassie tribute "Hail H.I.M." With "Gimme the Herb" and a couple Tarrus Riley-worthy love songs closing the album, this primarily political LP is still well-rounded, and certainly worth checking out.
Rasta State Review
by David Jeffries