Richie Spice – Book of Job
1.) Better Tomorrow
2.) My Life
4.) Mother of Creation
5.) Black Woman
6.) Serious Woman
7.) Soothing Sound
9.) Yap Yap
10.) Find Jah
11.) Jah Never Let Us Down
The Pier Album Rating:
Label: VP Records
Release Date: February 22nd, 2011
Born Richell Bonner, Richie Spice rose to popularity in Jamaica during the mid-90’s. On the back of chart-topping hits such as Youth Dem Cold and Marijuana, Spice steadily built a name for himself in the international reggae scene, and is now releasing his fifth studio album Book of Job.
Working at a site like The Pier, the majority of my efforts are focused on what we’ve dubbed ‘reggae rock,’ a genre with one foot stepped in Caribbean roots reggae with the other well planted in a variety of North American genres such as punk rock, funk, hip-hop, and soul. Therefore, very few albums that roll through my inbox could really be classified as true red, gold, and green roots reggae, so I’m sure you can imagine how refreshing it felt to throw Richie Spice’s new album, Book of Job, on the sound system, and welcome the untainted roots sound blaring from the speakers. Big bass, honey-smooth vocal harmonies, Rasta enlightenment lyrics, and traditional instrumentation dominate Spice’s latest effort, ensuring a worthwhile listen for hardcore roots fans and a well-rounded introduction to those new to the genre.
Comprised of 12 tracks, Book of Job opens with a slinky wah guitar line and a prayer to Jah on Better Tomorrow. Over a steady, minor key riddim, Spice pleads for the strength to overcome the obstacles blocking his road as he struggles to rise up and create a Better Tomorrow. Midway through the track, Spice’s pleas become more desperate, rising from the composed, meditative chants of the prior verses to an urgent, full-voiced cry to the heavens above.
As already mentioned, this is very much a roots reggae album, but strangely enough I found myself drawing an odd amount of parallels between tracks from this album and 90’s soul and hip-hop. It’s really rather difficult to pin down exactly the cause of such disparate references, but some songs, such as Jah Never Let Us Down and the Black Woman, sound like their glimmering production was plucked straight from the halls of 90’s Def Jam, and Serious Woman with it’s nylon string guitar and rigid beat could be a Jamaican response to Tupac’s Me and My Girlfriend (except this song is definitely about a woman, not a gun).
Regardless of the subject matter, Spice’s lyrics invariably reflect a deep commitment to his righteous outlook. On the back to back to back Black Woman, Mother of Creation, and Serious Woman, Spice celebrates his image of the perfect woman: “strong,” “virtuous,” and “the reason to love,” respectively. The deep appreciation of a woman on such a personal level is a refreshing change for me, as a listener caught in a culture whose gender roles typically place women within the confines of sexual objects.
Fans of traditional roots and reggae rock alike should be able to find some attachment to Spice’s Book of Job. Although Spice does little to push the boundaries of roots music into new territory, he’s clearly mastered the song structures and riddims prevalant in conscious Jamaican music, making for an album that sounds mature, informed, and disciplined.
Written & Reviewed by:
[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer, expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, not the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself & form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art & contribution]