Sizzla : Black History

Jamaican 'singjay' - low budget, high skills

Sizzla is Jamaica’s nearest approximation to the Sex Pistols. He’s (relatively) young, angry and rightfully feels that the world has made morons of most of his contemporaries. While too many of his peers squandered their lyrical skills on hymns to guns and ‘punani’, Sizzla always had a political agenda which set him apart from other deejays. Over rhythms that are every bit as angular and minimal as the best contemporary R&B, ‘Black History’ once more takes that militant ‘anti-Babylon’ stance.

Sizzla’s greatest strength lies in his ability to assimilate the best aspects of his musical predecessors and apply them to the unflinching digital rhythms of 21st century reggae. He has the righteous ire of Big Youth and some of the late I-Roy’s dark humour. There’s no better indication of that than his address to the Queen on the relatively restrained ‘No Pain’, but it’s frenetic tracks like ‘Problem Inna The System’ and lightning-speed ‘Run Dem To Wrong’ that show him at his uncompromising best.

On the downside, his first self-produced record does see him lose his way once or twice

but he’s still here and he’s still fighting back.

Jim Wirth