Andrew G.: I Declare War
|01 His Mercy Intro [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|02 Jump Up [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|03 Interlude [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|04 I Declare War [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|05 Reckless Gambler Featuring L.P Mille [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|06 I Feel Good [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|07 Blesss [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|08 Mama Song [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|09 Alphabet Praise [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|10 If You Ago Help [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|11 Interlude [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|12 I Surrender All [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|13 Rollin Featuring E. Nez Connie T [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|14 Ghetto Youths [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|15 The Joy Featuring L.P Miller [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|16 Blesss (Remix) [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|17 Interlude [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|18 Rugged Cross Featuring Lady Kimberly [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|19 His Mercy Outro [MP3]||$ 0.99|
|I Declare War (complete album) [MP3]|
Hailing from the streets of Kingston, JA, and now residing in the Boston, MA area, comes Andrew G with his solo debut, "I Declare War"- a spiritual and musical masterpiece. Vocal comparisons to Buju Banton are inevitable as one listens to Andrew\'s distinctive, gruff chanting style. As the Blood Brotherz, he and Connie T must be considered pioneers in the dancehall gospel arena along with DJ Stereoman. Andrew actually released a reggae gospel project along with Oscar Hall back in 1994 on cassette, though it is apparently out of print. After releasing two albums with the Blood Brotherz, "Excellent" (1996) and "Second Coming" (2000), it was time for Andrew G to release a project of his own and as it turns out, it\'s a real winner.
Musically, there is plenty of variety here to please all reggae fans with roots, ragga, hip-hop, soul and funk being blended into a strong collection that\'s all killer and no filler. While many of today\'s dancehall artists seem to favor stripped down beats, Andrew G tends to go for fuller, layered, old-school rhythms punctuated by vintage synth and organ sounds. Aimed particularly at the youth, "Jump Up" finds Andrew leading worship over a pulsing ragga beat while encouraging the listeners to "jump fe de ne who gives the sweet peace within." Interspersed with group shout outs, it is a rousing, catchy track, which is totally focused on giving praise to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The title track is an incredibly powerful ragga track in which Andrew G declares war "pon Satan kingdom from near and from far." Over a militant beat, he rips up the mic with conscious lyrics that serve to prepare the listener for the spiritual warfare that is part of everyday life. "I Declare War" is a very wicked cut that should be part of every Christian soldier\'s arsenal.
"Reckless Gambler" features a nice guest appearance from fellow label mate and newcomer L.P. Miller, whose vocal style bears a strong resemblance to Sanchez. The tune comes across as somewhat of a modern hymn in a laid back dancehall style. Miller\'s sweet, soulful singing proves to be the perfect compliment to Andrew G\'s mellow, yet coarse vocals. "Reckless Gambler" has lots of radio potential and I wouldn\'t be surprised if it became a favorite of many.
"I Feel Good" features vintage-sounding organ hooks and a warm, supple dancehall beat, giving a nice retro feel as Andrew sing jays about how every time he talks about Jesus he feels "good, good, good." Indeed! Towards the end of the track he is joined by a chorus of voices while he lets loose with some heartfelt, slightly off-key expressions of the feeling of goodness only the Savior can bring. It\'s all done to nice effect as we see a gentler side to the usually rough Andrew G.
Over a sparse, yet nicely laid track, "Blesss" features the Sade-sounding Lady Kimberly. It will most likely not be long before you find yourself singing along with the chorus, "we blessed, not because man said it, but God said it."
Another highlight on this album is the heartfelt, synth and organ-drenched "Mama Song" in which Andrew G dedicates the tune to his mother for all the rough times she\'s been through. Who is it doing the background vocals in a deep, heart-wrenching fashion? It\'s Andrew G himself, showing he can get as soulful as the next guy. With an early 80\'s feel, we are blessed with a touching message over a sweet one-drop reggae beat.
"Alphabet Praise" finds Andrew G in the classroom teaching the little children their ABC\'s- but in a way in which all parents will want to be there as well to join in on the fun! An infectious dancehall beat provides the right canvas for Andrew to expound upon the many reasons to praise the Lord, from A to Z. "Alphabet Praise" should be a part of every child\'s (and adult\'s) curriculum.
"If You Ago Help" gets back to some praise and worship inna ragga style with lyrics urging the listener to "stand up on your feet and praise the Lord for yourself" --yet another track that will almost guarantee the participation of the listener in shouting out praises.
We get a taste of crucial dancehall roots with "I Surrender All," a track that features Andrew chanting on the verses and singing on the chorus along with a number of backing vocalists. Some may be put off a bit by the slightly off-key sounding vocals, but in my opinion it somehow works to advantage. It\'s a deeply devotional track, which showcases a roots vibe, revealing another side of Andrew G.
On "Rollin" we get treated to a sparse, funky, urban rhythm track featuring E. Nez and fellow Blood Brother Connie T. With the infectious chorus, "I\'m rolling with the Savior so I don\'t even care about your valuables...and the things that He gives to me can\'t nobody take away from me," E. Nez smoothly sings while Connie T and Andrew G trade verses. E. Nez shows his versatility with a straight rap flow on the last verse. Wow--even more variety and pure blessing!
"Ghetto Youths" is pure ragga with a classic vibe that is aimed at encouraging all ghetto youths to "seek the face of the Father." With lyrics that come from a personal level, Andrew G delivers a track that serves to uplift those caught up in the destructive lifestyle of the mean streets. It is no-frills, raw ragga with strictly righteous lyrics.
More of the laid-back, funky dancehall feel is prevalent on the combination track with L.P. Miller called "The Joy." This testimony-filled cut is a great fusion of gospel and dancehall that is likely to appeal to those who don\'t even normally listen to reggae.
"Blesss" (remix) is my least favorite track as it seems to be a musical and lyrical free-for-all which is suitable for giving your woofers a workout with lots of thumping bass and drums. Incidentally, I hear no reference to the original "Blesss," which I like far better. Maybe it\'s just not my cup of tea. The song features guest appearances by Amani, Kevin Sinceer, and Lyric Child.
"Old Rugged Cross" is an inventive version of the old hymn and is blessed by the sweet vocals of Lady Kimberly. Andrew G exhorts many people by name and all listeners to "cherish the old rugged cross" upon which Jesus the Savior surrendered His life. The rhythm track sounds like a 70\'s era Wailers band but inna contemporary dancehall style, yet retaining the roots vibe. Towards the end, Andrew iterates "no cross, no crown," giving the listener something to think about. "Old Rugged Cross" has "hit" written all over it.
Along with all the musical tracks, Andrew gives us a couple of short canella tracks, such as the Blood Brotherz have become known for, as well as a few spoken words, but primarily this album is packed with solid, musical and spiritual nourishment that no Christian soldier or conscious reggae fan should be without. To my ears, "I Declare War" is a huge success with the capability of penetrating the streets, dancehalls and church youth groups with the life-giving message of the gospel.
Review By Mike Roots - Jan. 2003
Also available in the store are The Blood Brotherz "Excellent" and The Blood Brotherz "The Second Coming" CD\'s.
- His Mercy (Intro)
- Jump Up
- I Declare War
- Reckless Gambler (Featuring L.P. Miller)
- I Feel Good
- Mama Song
- Alphabet Praise
- If You Ago Help
- I Surrender All
- Rollin (Featuring E. Nez & Connie T)
- Ghetto Youths
- The Joy (Featuring L.P. Miller)
- Blesss (Remix - featuring Kevin Sincere and Lyric Child)
- Rugged Cross (Featuring Lady Kimberly)
- His Mercy (Outro)