Caribbean Rastafarian singer and songwriter Taj Weekes has recently announced the release date of his upcoming fifth studio album Love Herb & Reggae off Jatta Records, to hit all digital outlets February 12th, 2016. As a poet and a humanitarian, Weekes has always catered his music to the struggle of mankind versus oppression – whether that be from governing bodies, restriction of basic human rights, or spiritual limitations. Although artists in the roots reggae genre have always exhibited these themes of equality and tranquility in their musical works throughout history, Weekes takes elements of modern-day society and embeds them in his lyrics as problems that still need to be addressed. For instance, instead of claiming that weed is relaxing and brings you closer to Jah like other reggae artists in this day and age, he demands that it to be recognized for what it is. Setting the proverbial and literal record straight, Weekes is an inspiration to roots reggae, progressing it forward one call to action at a time – an element conspicuously missing in most recent reggae albums across the board. What happened to good ol' fashioned lyrics for a cause? In a world buried under pop culture stars singing about notoriety and nothing else, it's nice to hear an album that focuses on real issues.
Weekes has always catered his music to the struggle of mankind versus oppression
Love Herb & Reggae is a 14-track LP, with all the usual constituents of roots reggae tracks mixed with some novel sounds. For example, Weekes combines classic keys, bongo drum beats, and reverb with innovative, almost robotic sound effects in the song “Let Your Voice”. The sound effects, in conjunction with Weekes' falsetto lyrics “let your voice be as loud as your silence”, help to illuminate to listeners that they may, in fact, be so programmed into the status quo (like robots) that they may not even notice how silent they've actually become. Pretty heavy stuff – and that is only the first track on the album! The second song “Life in Red” has lyrics like “slave, I am” laid over the clanging sounds of a cash machine; if Pink Floyd were to rewrite their hit song “Money” and twist it into the roots reggae category, it would probably sound a lot like this track. The album proceeds on to address a plethora of religious, societal, and personal hardships such as love and herb and oh yeah, reggae in all of its glory. “Here I Stand” has two versions featured on the LP, one with a “radio edit” title attached as if this track may be already playing on the Caribbean airwaves. This wouldn't surprising, considering the song's irregular backbeat rings considerably smooth as if dancing a tango. To put the whole experience in a nutshell is impossible: you'll just have to tune into the LP upon release.
Taj Weekes is joined with his band Adowa to convey his words to the world, and a tour is probably to follow the album release. Based out of the Caribbean, it is yet to be determined if the socially conscience roots crew will travel north for an American tour. One thing is for certain though: Weekes' poetic justice exposed in this loosely conceptual album will be heard loud and clear in due time.