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Raver’s Top Ten Midnite albums

A reader recently emailed me and asked what were my favorite Midnite albums. I had never really thought about it like that before.  However, first allow me to explain why I livicate so much blog space to Midnite/Akae Beka.  When Midnite first emerged on the scene in Washington, DC in 1994 they were an instant hit with the Jamaican population in the city as well as the reggae fans that live in the DelMarVa.  If you recall the reggae scene in 1994/1995 there wasn’t a lot going on.  Dancehall had put the dagger in the heart of our music.  RAS Records was in the process of trying to bring back some credibility to the music by signing artists like Yasus Afari, Charlie Chaplin, Luciano, Mystic Revealers, Sizzla Kalonji, Yami Bolo, and Yvad.  Midnite’s sound was unlike any other reggae act I had ever heard in my life.  It was a modern roots reggae sound with heavy elements of RnB.  They weren’t the first to marry reggae and RnB, however, they did it better than any other artist that came before them. 

It scares me when I think about what reggae would be like today if Midnite had never existed.  Not only did they influence the sound of reggae, ushering in a new golden era for roots music, but they also reconstructed the way reggae songs were written and delivered.  Gone were the days of singing about guns, drugs, and pussy.  Now you had to come with some knowledge, and no other reggae artist is as knowledgeable as Vaughn Benjamin.  It is just an indisputable fact.  With each album release Midnite set a new standard for every other reggae artist.  They exposed the talent void in reggae for the world to see – like ripping a Band-Aid from an infected, oozing wound.  Just as there will never be another Bob Marley, there will never be another Midnite.  Never be another band that is as prolific,as influential, and as transformational as Midnite has been in reggae over the past 25 years. 

So when it comes to their discography, I mean I knew that I love their first three albums (Unpolished, Ras Mek Peace, Jubilees of Zion). In fact, I think that those three albums are modern roots masterpieces. In Raver’s Top 50 Reggae Albums of the 2K I ranked Jubilees of Zion as the #1 album of the new millennium. Obviously the I-Grade collaborations were always strong. Also, the albums produced at Ron Benjamin’s Afrikan Roots Lab studio in St. Croix featuring Ron on all instrumentation were very impressive. I’m a big fan of the Lustre Kings’ sound which is heavily influenced by hip-hop. OK, I think I’m ready to do this:

1. Jubilees of Zion

Crucial Track:  “Birthright Is The Ticket”

 

2. Unpolished

Crucial Track:  “Time And Time Again”

3. Lion Out Of Zion

Crucial Track:  “Force and Flames”

4. Ras Mek Peace

Crucial Track:  “In The Race So Far”

5. Children of Jah

Crucial Track:  “Incline”

6. Beauty For Ashes

Crucial Track:  “Weather The Storm”

7. What Makes A King

Crucial Track:  “Jah Bless Her”

8. Assini

Crucial Track:  “Reminder”

9. Nemozian Rasta

Crucial Track:  “Mountains”

10. Ride Tru

Crucial Track:  “Calm The Day”


midnite

 

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