By Elliott Sharp
By Hilary Hughes
By Rob Trucks
By Luke Winkie
By Seth Colter Walls
By Brett Koshkin
By Spencer Wilking
By Christina Black
Being an S.O.B. (that's reggae-speak for "Son of Bob") can mean one of two things. It's either a license to laziness imitate Daddy and sit pretty as nostalgia- heads eat it upor just the opposite: fiery incentive to be your own man and take the Marley legacy to higher heights. With 2005's Welcome to Jamrock, a flawless album with a dancehall body and a roots soul, Damian Marley, the youngest of the clan, headed staunchly down the latter path. Taking the same route is Stephen, the Marley behind the curtaina Grammy-winning producer credited on all of Damian's albums.
Stephen's stellar debut is a winning union of dancehall and hip-hop, but not the sort you've heard before: While plenty of reggae artists (Cham, Vybz Kartel, Lexxus) serve up hip-hop flow over dancehall riddims, Stephen flips the script, lacing sweet reggae melodies over hip-hop beats. The result is striking. On "Hey Baby," he croons a lullaby and steps aside as Mos Def deftly rides the beat. "Iron Bars" finds Stephen huskily barking about being an "angry lion." And the Caribbean-wide smash "The Traffic Jam" is brilliant in its retro-flavored simplicity: Backed by a beat box, Stephen and Damian chat leisurely, proudly, and deliberately about run-ins with the law. On "Mind Control" and "Chase Dem," Stephen proves he can dole out predictable Marley-esque reggae, but aren't we past reproducing what Bob did? Gems here imagine what he might've done.
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city