Published Jun 27, 2018The man born Oje Ken Ollivierre, and artistically known as Protoje, returns with a new effort that is both anticipated and overdue. The contemporary reggae singer and son of legendary singer Lorna Bennett is back with A Matter of Time, a title that likely refers to the project that was scheduled for a 2017 release. But it's here and it's fantastic listening, front to back.
The comparisons between Protoje and Damien Marley are easy to make — both come from strong reggae musician lineages — but each artist builds on the reggae revivalist sound to craft impressive bodies of work from elements of dub, roots, dancehall and rock.
A Matter of Time leans heavily on the finely honed Indiggnation team style of neo-roots-reggae production, bringing in mainstream-minded reggae that fuses traditional and contemporary elements. The title track best defines this approach, it's haunting hip-hop background serving as the foundation for Protoje's silky delivery.
Single "Flames," featuring reggae contemporary Chronixx, includes a sweeping orchestral score, setting a cinematic stage for the duo's frenetic vocals. "Blood Money" rides a roots-minded style with futuristic sensibilities as it illustrates his home country's complicated political and socio-economic history. "No Guarantee" sees another fruitful Chronixx collaboration; rising roots singer Mortimer gets his time to shine, lending a hand on the standout uptempo "Truth & Rights"; and "Camera Show" takes things back with a dynamic take on the classic modern reggae sound.
Protoje is riding at the forefront of the new guard of modern reggae and this latest effort shows the genre is in good hands. (Mr. Bongo)