The Lambsbread & Mykal Rose: Nah Stop Chant Single Review by Mr Topple for Pauzeradio.com.
Hot off the heels of their recent hit Lockdown, The Lambsbread are back with another fresh cut. This time, a Reggae legend comes on board – and it immediately indicates the level of quality present across the track.
Nah Stop Chant sees The Lambsbread join forces with Black Uhuru’s Mykal Rose. Production is via Jubba White from Dubtonic Kru. And these two factors alone have made for a track that’s pure class: elegant yet brooding, and with some smart arrangement and production, too.
The track appears an overly Roots affair – but as is always the case with The Lambsbread, nothing is that straight forward. There are some rudimental elements in play: keys run a bubble rhythm; the bass is syncopated, mostly working around the root triad chords, and an electric guitar runs a riff. But there’s real attention to detail in all these lines – elevating the track above standard Roots fayre, if you listen carefully.
The drums for example avoid a classic one drop. The kick focuses on the one and three (the downbeats); snares hit the two and four and hi-hats tinker in between. But that driving kick moves the vibe of Nah Stop Chant away from Roots and into more Revival/Hip Hop-led territory. And the snare on the fourth beat has additional reverb and high-pass added to it, creating a stark, abrasive sound which accentuates the end of each bar well; again, drawing away from Roots.
The drums are aided and abetted in this task by the keys. Because while the bubble rhythm is there, straightforward it is not. It lifts itself above just chords on the offbeats, with the right hand doing additional riffs at the end of some phrases. At times, it also runs a more intricate countermelody in the treble clef’s upper register. White has at points added some delicious decay and growing high-passing, to give a nod to Dub as the keys’ sound morphs and evaporates into the distance.
Nah Stop Chant’s electric guitar avoids the usual skank, which again enhances the more Hip Hop feel of the rhythm section – because it reduces the track’s wind. At times, it drops the riff down an octave with a distinctly wah-wah, raspy sound going on; you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a lower register melodica. Combine this with the bass’s lack of a drop beat – and overall, the music is more that Hip Hop-influenced Revival sound than it is Roots, with the keys’ bubble rhythm being the only full nod to the genre. Of course, when The Lambsbread and Rose enter then we’re reminded it is still, though, very much conscious Roots.
Kaya is, as always, compelling while effortless. That almost whispering, thoughtful delivery that he does so well is especially strong here – grabbing you ear and refusing to let go. And, it juxtaposes perfectly with Rose’s contradictory performance. He’s urgent, gritty and pensive – with a razor-sharp tone and increased dynamics compared to Kaya. But elements of Soul shine through in his delivery too, with some nice runs, riffs and scat singing when he does responses to Kaya’s main chorus call. Nadia finishes off the pair’s work perfectly: her light, airy soprano brings additional, almost otherworldly quality to the overall vocal arrangement. And lyrically it is potent and pertinent, discussing the system and how it divides and conquers us – but repeatedly poses the question that, if humanity truly unified, then we could ‘bun down Babylon’.
Nah Stop Chant is a relentless, brooding affair – with both these elements being cleverly and heavily enhanced by the Hip Hop, Revival-style composition and arrangement. The Lambsbread and Rose are all extremely powerful, complementing the unsettling tone of the track and White’s intricate production well. Overall, it’s another success for The Lambsbread – showing once again they are the masters of thoughtful and affecting Roots-derived music.
The Lambsbread & Mykal Rose Nah Stop Chant review by Mr Topple (27th Sept 2020).