Reviews December 17, 2014
Mixtape: Kabaka Pyramid's "The Lyricist"

In the course of his huge new mix CD, you can hear Kabaka Pyramid giving an interview, talking about his music, his Rastafarian beliefs, and the state of the world. When the music kicks in, the views keep coming, occasionally harshly and sometimes sweetly, but without fail enjoyably.

With a name like The Lyricist, the emphasis was always going to be on Kabaka Pyramid's words, but that's not to understate the contribution from Livity Movements' Dev Kutta, the “mastermind” behind the recording. Admittedly, around 21:00, the mix lulls a little bit; this might be more of a personal preference thing, but when Pyramid's r&b influences come out most clearly, the music's urgency and the inventiveness coming from its hip-hop and reggae influences fades a bit.

Nevertheless, the songs' themes range from “Ghetto Blues” to “Worldwide Love” and the production rises to span just as far, all while still feeling like a coherent whole. There are bass lines for miles here.

2014 was a good year for reggae, and a big year for Pyramid. Uploaded on Soundcloud, The Lyricist is a fitting victory lap for someone who still seems to have a lot more to say.