Reggaeville reviews IN A DI RED
by Justine Amadori Ketola
Cocoa Tea carries the banner of the true reggae singer. Over the years he has always been the "ranking'" - the bonafide singer to set the standards. He does not stray from cultural messages, positive themes, conscious lyrics and giving praises to Emperor Haile Selassie. He is as comfortable interspersing prayers in with humor, never takes himself too seriously, a realist and a true griot, telling the tales of the community with grace. We haven't heard much from him since the 2008 triumph, Barack Obama single which gained him a great deal of attention.
Now he comes with a new set of tunes created in collaboration with Roaring Lions Records and produced by Cocoa Tea and the crew at Roaring Lion studios. The crew opens the release with A Love Like Yours and Mine a '50's crooner type of love song set to a reggae beat.
Then on Beat U Drums he comes with Nyabinghi-style judgement, linking the lack of progress in the Jamaican ghettos to the decline in the adherence to African culture tradition. Cocoa Tea says, "Beat your drum and get out a di slum, beat your drum, lay down your gun."
On Crazy Crazy he continues on the romance path in a modern ska style, speaking to a particularly crazy relationship, and then he mentions all of the nationalities of ladies that he is crazy about; Jamaican, American, Japanese, English, German and etcetera. Continuing on the truths and rights mission, he addresses the media and issues of censorship and control on Press Freedom, set to a sultry one-drop riddim. On A Single Step Cocoa Tea makes a pledge to his love to never let her down now that he has found true love.
One of the more intriguing riddims is found on Sufferation which uses Hammond B3 style organ sounds, prominent shaker percussion and vocal effects on the support vocals. The message is that many countries around the world have people who find themselves in tribulation and sufferation. He points at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for "drinking all of the gas out of the poor people's tank," his unique falsetto selling the issues sweetly.
His use of metaphor is a large part of his gift, and when it is combined with current-day issues, the combination is magic. On White Squall he refers to the dangerous violent windstorms which create problems on the sea for smaller craft. The issues of poverty from the Jamaican perspective are detailed with vibrant examples. Reference to the "sisters on the street dressing lewd, that tell you they are defending their food" and the fall of Cash Plus, the Ponzi scheme that collapsed a few years back, taxation, all paint a picture of the issues everyday Jamaicans face.
Cocoa Tea is joined by the great female deejay Lady G to play out the issues of a gold digger type of female or the tendencies of a kept woman. Cocoa Tea brings the real in his unique reggae vocal style, going up and down the scale in just one phrase, singing "man have them brain in a dem penis, you know them have a weakness for sweetness." He also calls out the girls with piercings every where, false hair and high heels while Lady G takes the role of the gold digger singing, "no romance, before finance."
The title tune In A Di Red, a metaphor for being in a bit of trouble features a jealous husband that is out to get the subject. He begs for his innocence and pleads for his life to the tune of an uplifting groove. He points out that every man thinks he is taking away their gal and blaming him because of the song Tek Weh Yu Gal - a hit single he had over a decade ago!
For Poverty Line his trademark chorus writing ability combines with legitimate concerns of the people, "25% are gone below the poverty line, politicians you better look out that's a serious sign." Cocoa Tea is joined by D'Angel former wife of Beenie Man, for the DJ portion of the tune. This is a true duet with the artist addressing the guest artist directly in the lyrics and she in turn commenting at the right parts during Cocoa Tea's portions.
On So Long Cocoa Tea outlines all of the time it took for him to get in touch with this particular female, delineating a plethora of contact information that we now possess in the 21st Century as in BBM number, Skype address, Facebook address - all of which he worked to get. The groove on this tune has live drums, rich harmonies that caress the hopes that the artist has to get with this love interest despite the concerns her family and friends have for him as a Rasta and possibly "moving as a gangster."
Back in the crooning mode, Tonight borrows from Stevie Wonder's "Lately" in the melody and lyrical style to build a playful case against a sound system which is destined for death. Preparing for dubplate sessions has taken on a new meaning with an artist actually writing a song focused squarely on the clash setting. As the set closes, Woman is Cocoa Tea reiterating that "'Woman is essential to I-man" and flexing the "behind every successful man is a good woman" vibe.
Cocoa Tea is a veteran in the industry, he exemplifies the tendency for artists to maintain their own unique style and originality that was prevalent in early reggae. Here he stays true to form based on the proven formulas for successful songwriting and performance over the past 30 years.
Cocoa Tea produces on latest effort - Jamaica Gleaner
Staying true to the foundation of lovers rock reggae music, artiste Cocoa Tea has indeed proven that he possesses both talent and longevity.
On November 6, Cocoa Tea released his 22nd studio album, titled In a di Red.
The 15-track album is described as a joyful mixture of love, reality and conscious, praise-filled lyrics.
Produced by Cocoa Tea and Roaringlion Recording Studio Crew, the buzz for new music from the artiste was fuelled by recent live performances in Jamaica, North America and Europe.
"What is different on this album is that, for the first time, I have added two collabs with two female artistes - D'Angel and Lady G. It's the same reggae one drop that I am known for and I have added a little bit of a ska vibe to it," Cocoa Tea told The Gleaner.
In a di Red also focuses on current situations. Cocoa Tea uses strong social commentary to get his message across, while returning to the 'foundation' style of reggae that made him a legend.
The album includes songs such as There's a Love Like Yours And Mine, Trickster featuring Lady G, Love Is featuring D'Angel, and Press Freedom.
An all-star cast of musicians, including Kirk Bennett, Danny Dennis and Ernie Wilks, are also featured on the album.
The album also displayed another side of Cocoa Tea as he shifted seamlessly from the microphone to the producer's chair.
"There is nutt'n like being an artiste, but as a producer you have certain input that you know will work much better for you. You know your strengths, weaknesses, and you know what works best for you."
He further explained that although he is known as a conscious reggae artiste, he does not shy away from controversy.
"I like to be controversial at times. One of my favourite songs from this album is Press Freedom, and this song talks about payola and highlights some things that people wouldn't want to hear from Cocoa Tea's mouth, but that's just me; I don't mind being controversial at times. Controversy sells," he said.
In a di Red is now available at VP Records, iTunes, Amazon and all leading music stores.
Read the original article at http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121121/ent/ent1.html
Buy my new album IN A DI RED!
In Stores November 6th, 2012.
With a long list of classic hits to his credit, reggae veteran Cocoa Tea returns with a new album produced by himself and the Roaringlion Recording Studio Crew. "In A Di Red" is a joyful mixture of love, reality and conscious praise filled lyrics.
Thoughtful subjects for easy listening reggae vibes from the master vocalist whose music is as ageless as his countenance. Fueled by recent live performances in Jamaica, North America and Europe. The buzz is strong for new music from Cocoa Tea.
Feature tracks: "A Love Like Yours And Mine", "Trickster feat. Lady G". An all-star cast of musicians including Kirk Bennett, Danny Dennis and Ernie Wilks are featured on the album.
Strong social commentary and Rasta message - Cocoa Tea returns to the ‘foundation' style of reggae that made him a legend.
Cocoa Tea to be inducted into Reggae Walk Of Fame
Cocoa Tea will soon be inducted into the Reggae Walk of Fame in Trelawny, JA!
Find out more at http://www.bobartsinstitute.edu/Reggae_Walk_Of_Fame.php
Jamaica Star article on LOVE IS with Cocoa Tea & D'Angel!
Great article on the new single
Veteran artiste Cocoa Tea has teamed up with the self-proclaimed First Lady of the Dancehall - D'Angel, on a new single Love Is.
Speaking with THE WEEKEND STAR, D'Angel said she was surprised when contacted by Cocoa Tea to do a collaboration.
"He called me and said he wanted to do a collab. He's a foundation artiste that I really look up to, and I admired his work over the years. He sent it to me, I recorded my part and the rest is history," D'Angel stated.
Love Is will be the first single from Cocoa Tea's new album Inna Di Red, which is scheduled to hit stores on November 6.
According to Cocoa Tea, he chose D'Angel because she is talented.
"A lot of people underestimate her talent. I wanted to know if she had the talent to record on my type of rhythm - a reggae rhythm, and she has done very well," Cocoa Tea said.
He went on to say that the single has exceeded his expectations and that the response from fans has been overwhelming.
D'Angel also echoed similar sentiment, telling THE WEEKEND STAR that many persons were shocked to know that she was the one on the single.
growth for D'Angel
"People have been calling me, sending me messages on facebook and Twitter saying they can't believe it's me. Dem say dem love how me ride the rhythm and ting. Music has no boundaries and my talent has no boundaries, it's definitely a growth for D'Angel," she said.
Meanwhile, there are also plans to release a follow-up to Love Is, and a video for the single is also in the works.
In the meantime, Cocoa Tea is gearing up for tours in Nigeria, Europe and the United States.