Abdel Wright (Weapons of Mass Entertainment/Interscope Records – B0001931-02, 2005)
The first thing you will probably notice about this CD is his music is so easy to listen to but if you listen closer you will find there is an incredible depth in the way he plays his guitar and in his lyrics which are simple but bring such power with them. His songs are very socially and politically charged. In a time when most Jamaican artists have become hip-hop artists with a fascination for gangster rap his music couldn’t be more different. His writing demonstrates his maturity and incredible ability to deliver very serious topics in a way that is not hard to understand.
It is hard to make a choice but my favorite song of his has to be “Human Behaviour.” He writes about the greed in the world and takes pharmaceutical companies to task saying, “please remember Humanity’s the key and not cash numbers”. Another that I think is well written is “Babylon Wall.” Definitely some food for thought and you will have no doubt on where he stands politically in regards to the US domestic policies.
Wright is one of those musicians whose difficult start in life is probably responsible for his depth.Wright’s life story is as distinct from others as his music is from most of the musicians Jamaica has produced recently. His start in life was abysmal. At the age of nine months he ended up in an orphanage, which was partially funded by Johnny Cash. He started to write songs and was given a guitar for Christmas and taught himself how to play. He was kicked out of the orphanage at the age of 18 and got involved in crime. He was caught and sentenced to 8 years in prison. He spent his time writing songs and seemed to blossom there. His sentence was ultimately reduced and he was released after five years. His life after prison was hard but fortunately for us he had a lucky break and life has looked up ever since.
I cannot think of another Jamaican artist since Jimmy Cliff whose writing has really made me stop, listen and really think about the world we live in. This is not a CD for those who are fans of traditional reggae or the new hip-hop gangster type of Jamaican music but it is well worth a listen. You may find you’ll fall in love with it as I have.
Purchase the CD:
In the US: Abdel Wright
In Europe (UK): Abdel Wright