Review: SkillinJah – Reality

Review: SkillinJah – Reality

SkillinJah – Reality
Track Listing:
1.) Reality (feat. Josh Heinrichs)
2.) Boom Callie
3.) Lovesick
4.) Feelin’ Weedy (feat. Josh Heinrichs)
5.) Single and Free
6.) Skilla Dan Dem
7.) Ganja Girl
8.) One Woman (feat. Josh Heinrichs)
9.) Stay Humble
10.) Near or Far (feat. Josh Heinrichs)
11.) Raw Food

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: January 22nd, 2011
Record Label: GanJah Records
Official Website: GanJah Records Website

Group Background:
Former Jah Roots member SkillinJah has been musically motivated ever since the dawn of the new millennium, when he began infiltrating the underground dancehall circuits in Jamaica. Shortly after, SkillinJah began working with Josh Heinrichs, Sony Records producer Donahue Baker, and even formed his own NYC-based band known as 45 Shootout.

It wasn’t until mid-2011 that SkillinJah officially released solo material with the help of friend and former band-mate Josh Heinrichs in Springfield, Missouri. In August of 2011, SkillinJah released a music video for his first single “Emergency Spliff” to lead up to the release of his debut full-length acoustic album, also titled “Emergency Spliff”. The album debuted at #17 on ITunes Top 200. Shortly after the summer release, SkillinJah embarked on a Midwest tour supporting SOJA, label mate Josh Heinrichs, and Cas Haley.

Album Review:
There is a reason Skillinjah’s sophomore album debuted at #8 on ITunes’ reggae charts. Motivated by love, only the sweetest herbs, and reality indeed, SkillinJah truly writes and sings in the name of classic Jamaican roots and reggae. It is perceptible that SkillinJah is motivated by his twelve-year musical journey and the culture of reggae and roots music.

SkillinJah and Josh Heinrichs fashioned an album that could suitably represent reggae 50 years ago and also in contemporary, digitalized times. SkillinJah’s songwriting mindset can match up to the numerous messages presented by revolutionary songwriter and reggae mastermind Bob Marley, as well as many Rastafarian idealists playing a part in the art of listening.

The harmonies and rhythmical structure of SkillinJah’s resonance on Reality is unmistakably a GanJah records vibe. Ever since the days of Jah Roots could I distinguish the guitar of Josh Heinrichs. The guitar work is clean and abrupt (staccato for all you musical nerds), rather than being dosed in reverb and other special effects. His guitar is not the only element that Heinrich’s adds to the mix, as he collaborates with SkillinJah on a number of songs vocally as well.

‘One Woman’ might be my favorite duet in which SkillinJah sings about the clasp that a single woman has on their hearts. SkillinJah sings with a heavy accent that is tied to worldly music, common throughout the album. His voice is matchless in songs such as “Stay Humble” and “Reality”, but also has some dull moments and missed notes. But with his sophomore album, SkillinJah has really matured in terms of vocal control. In the song “Reality”, SkillinJah shows a more sensitive voice; able to twist, accent, and control it all while infusing his own emotional spin.

Switching from the underground dance-hall scene in Jamaica to the reggae scene in the United States was a big step in SkillinJah’s career, and since the release of Emergency Spliff in the summer of 2011 has showed great improvement in songwriting and structure. Although reggae music is predominantly popular throughout the Earth’s islands and coastal regions, SkillinJah puts Midwestern United States on the reggae map with the release of Reality.

Written & Reviewed by: Matt Emodi

[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]

Here is a short documentary about the making of SkillinJah’s newest album: