For a long time, the public has lamented the lack of essential riddim projects that amplified the potency of the 90s golden age. Just like in the 90s when Xterminator largely re-energized the local reggae sound within the digital production space, they are still here pushing that same line with their latest project Special Request. Back by popular demand, Special Request is a vibrant, soulful, groovy but most importantly cultural riddim featuring veteran artists like Morgan Heritage, alongside young and promising acts like Dyani. This first release under the title is sure to fill the void in the reggae dancehall space for music of the Dropleaf Riddim-esque anthologies depicting the realest aspects of Jamaican culture.
Special Request Riddim, an XTM.Nation release by Kareem ‘Remus’ Burrell is in fact a continuation of the legacy set out by his father Philip ‘Fatis’ Burrell, who had a similar ambition of mixing older traditions within the sounds and narratives of the music with a fresh perspective. Special Request is just that. It is a look back at an era in which we were all in love with our own music. The quality of the music was a great factor, and in a similar way, the quality in the production of Special Request is evident. But it is also uniquely its own sound, which Kareem achieves by tapping into the reggae dancehall’s sister genre Hip Hop. An influence we can hear faintly in the bass drums that create the initial excitement, like a great sales pitch. Only to enrapture the audience in a thorough musical drama.
With four tracks in its initial release, this Riddim project is kicked off by the lead single, “Just A Number” by Morgan Heritage, which was released on the 27th of January. The highly anticipated single by the grammy-winning artists will also be supported by an official video directed by Samo, as well as a lyric video by Joshua Solas. These veteran artists do what they are known for: write, create, and perform lyrics and melodies that make us wonder how they do it. Younger acts on the project like Natel deliver exceptionally with the single, “Island In Your Sea”, producing vocals that rival that of a choir. Medisun’s, “Take You Home” is another performance of a beautiful but complex and traditional riddim.
Special Request is a great listen but it’s not in any way easy to jump on. These younger artists like Dyani demonstrated expertise and skill on his single, “Live A Little”, by not just creating great stories but also matching the skill level of grammy veterans like Morgan Heritage. Everyone in some way will be able to relate to the sense of gratitude in the song, but the official music video for the track does a great deal to translate the feeling. Directed by Samo, the scenes feature the spirited lives of regular people as they do their best to find their own joy.