Damian Marley follows-up Welcome to Jamrock with the eclectic Stony Hill

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A review by Erik Magni for United Reggae

About a year ago Damian Marley released Nail Pon Cross, the first official single off his much-anticipated fourth studio album Stony Hill. The album was supposed to have been released in October last year, but was postponed several times. But in July this year it finally hit the streets. And many of the singles off the set have been very promising, especially CautionNail Pon Cross and Medication.

More than a decade has passed since his previous album – not including Distant Relatives with Nas – and Damian Marley has been busy touring the world, running the Ghetto Youths label with his brothers and producing other artists.

Welcome to Jamrock was a ground-breaking effort. Stony Hill is solid follow-up, but it’s hard to reach the heights of an album like Welcome to Jamrock, which rocked the music world with its blazing title track.

Stony Hill collects a hefty 18 tracks, of which some could have been shelved, especially some of the not-so-inspired dancehall numbers and ballads. Damian Marley flexes his vocal prowess throughout the album and he is at the top of his game when singing on cuts like the rootsy Looks Are DeceivingThe Struggle Continues and Everybody Wants to be Somebody. Songs in classic Bob Marley tradition.

One of the best tracks is however Living it Up where Damian Marley explores unknown territories. It comes with a disco-fused beat and an uplifting chorus. In the verses Damian Marley is at his most authoritative.

This album will probably not rock the world as Welcome to Jamrock did, but again – to exceed Welcome to Jamrock would have been an exceptional task. And Stony Hill is a solid album, which would have been even better with 12 rather than 18 tracks.

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