Having started in music professionally around 96′ in Martinique, after two brief passages in France Rastaman Byr aka Bhy2r concentrated on the Caribbean, more precisely Jamaica and Martinique. To his credit, he has collaborations with: Clive Hunt,Turbulence, Delroy ‘Fatta’ Pottinger, JahVan i, Terrie Ganzie, Earl Anthony, for Jamaica, Daddy Twan, Carl Gustave,Ras Bonté of St. Lucia, as well as French artistes like, Daddy Mory “Raggasonic”, Anbessa Music, Straika D, Kulu G “Ruff Neg”, Djama Keïta among others. Rastaman Byr also has a passion for producing other artists, including those in Jamaica, Dominica, St. Lucia, Martinique, France, London, and Africa. His latest album is the 16 track album, “Rasta Music”.
While “Rasta Music” is a thorough examination of roots reggae, it touches on rootsy vibes as a springboard to launch into a spectrum of sounds. This broad approach to music is business-as-usual for Rastaman Byr, who has a long history of blending reggae and dancehall with hip hop, R&B, and pop stylings.
The sonic diversity works to Bhy2r’s advantage, showcasing his ability to stand out in a variety of musical settings. Overall though, “Rasta Music” is a top selection which draws more from reggae tradition than from the platitudes of pop or any other genre.
“Brainwashing” is a typical bass-heavy driven riddim that blends roots reggae and dancehall phrasing, showing why Rastaman Byr is one of the most impactful artists in the game. “Rock My Bones” has a mellow but attention grabbing horn section and crispy, unwavering drums.
“Dangerous” forges the power of live keyboards and bass sounds in reggae, while Bhy2r lays down a set growling verses. The combination is intoxicating, with a well-rounded flavor that combines all that is great in Rastaman Byr’s music.
“Allright” heads in a different, more dubwise direction, with a slower, heavy riddim that again allows the rolling bass and Bhy2r’s voice to shine. “System 2 Bad” rides on a fast paced beat where Bhy2r shows off the range of his vocals, moving in a higher melodic register.
The result of Rastaman Byr’s diligent work and perfect skills brings a formidable mix of styles and messages on this album. In traditional Reggae manner, he delivers the theme of positivity and righteousness on “Ayo” backed by an acoustic soundscape. “Money Gyal Love” has its place as well, with a natural mystic flowing our way on the spiritual “My Voice”.
Just as quickly as the jangly keys and boiling bass open “Gi Mi Di Reggae”, does the groove settle into a forward motion, and Rastaman Byr arrives. It’s a musical statement as bright and shiny as the lyrics are probing and thoughtful.
This is a pattern that plays out over the course of the album, with the singer volleying between major and minor-key settings, touching down in familiar spiritual and social territory. Check the impactful potency of tracks like “Chant U Down”, “Bigga Town” and “Food”.
If like me, you adore your reggae riddims smothered in sweet melodies, then the 3 songs not to be missed on this album has to be, “Rebel Soul”, “Wicked Man” and “Natty Dread Rebel”, a cover of Marley’s Natty Dread.
These archetypal reggae themes are in the hands of one who knows and cares, as Rastaman Byr continues to be a conscious caretaker of the genre with a scrupulous approach. His arrangements are crisp and polished, yet grounded in traditional instrumentation, accented by a terrific rhythm section.
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