The Washington state based label, Sick Donkey Records has more than a handful of stunningly talented artists on their roster. One of these is without a doubt, Mark Wonder. Mark, in collaboration with singer and songwriter Micah Shemaiah recently completed the vocal work on the track “City Streets”, which is built on the 21 Gun Riddim produced by label founder, Bluejay Hankins aka DJ Sticky. For this effort, Bluejay also brought together members of Stephen Marley’s band including Squidly Cole (drums/keys) and Rica Newell (harmony vocals). The house band included Seattle’s multi-instrumentalist Stingshark (bass) and Earl “Chinna” Smith on guitar. This is an exceptional piece of work. Mark Wonder has a voice that can effortlessly blend ghetto poetry, lovers’ rock, and street storytelling with fervent balladry, delivering cohesive sets with near-flawless elocution. And that’s what he does here on “City Streets”, a tale about the ongoing corruption in the City of Kingston and the world at large.
Wonder goes from strength to strength as he trades bars with Shemaiah, while riding the smooth forward momentum over the DJ Sticky produced beat. “City Streets” is evidence that Mark Wonder is among the most talented artists of the modern roots era. Wonder’s rich, passionate voice imbues the lyrics with the pressure of earnestness, calmness, and stirring momentum.
The riddim is velvety, textured with layered colors, and effervesces with cool, undulating sonic patterns as well as dulcet vocal harmonies. The surfacing guitar and keys, add substance and depth to the music’s flow, contriving sophisticated, polished moods in artful sequence.
Both Mark Wonder and Micah Shemaiah radiate an imperturbable dignity and the stylish essence of superb reggae. Their soulful tones infuse the tune with sensitivity and rapport. They definitely have it going on in this one. Mainstream reggae has arguably dipped in terms of commercial prominence, so artists such as these are sorely needed.
“Rejoicing In Jah Glory” is another Mark Wonder track that can be found nicely embedded in the Sick Donkey Records catalog. Lyrically, he gets spiritual, serious and empowering. The long-gestating track finds the genre in a curious place, but can easily be appreciated in the mainstream, with the genre vibes, chords and conscious sensibilities serving as the foundation to convince newcomers of its undeniable greatness.
Mark Wonder, and shall I add, Sick Donkey Records’ focus, is on creating authentic music with universal appeal. Throughout their catalog, they largely succeed, primarily thanks to an authoritative approach that takes the temperature of the international zeitgeist and organically crafts universal sounding winners.
The result being music that is firmly grounded in roots reggae but fearless in its integration of any other source elements. Mark Wonder is a mature artist; charismatic with personality and obvious intellect, all of which serves him well on the world stage as he brings his tracks to life.
Mark Wonder “City Streets” ft. Micah Shemaiah and Mark Wonder “Rejoicing In Jah Glory”, are very strong songs – the production is as good as any music in the business. It just needs time to marinate in the ears to really appreciate these works.
Link Up with Sick Donkey Records:
Purchase / Stream links:
Reggae Record: https://www.reggaerecord.com/download/en/description.php?release_id=983118