There is a new flavour of Reggae Dancehall in town. JK Warrior, a versatile Producer and Singer based in Lilongwe, seems to be at the helm leading.
In January this year he released an Album dubbed ‘New Government’. We hereby present it to you its review.
I Know: The Album opens us with a song that has some sweet singing that expresses optimism to make it stand out as one for all ears. JK Warrior asserts that he never lets negative energy take a good part of him in the pursuit of his own goals. Firm and strong, never accepting defeat! Having no doubt in the works of his hands and at the same time finding comfort in the power of prayer, the journey artist does not put himself at the mercy of doubters. He therefore professes faith, hard work and self-reliance on a very memorable and catchy hook. He encourages ‘ghetto youths’ to work hard to achieve their goals and wait upon the right timing for ‘Jah Jah blessings’ rather than rely on envy and grudge when they see signs of prosperity on a colleague. “I know everything is gonna be alright”, he sings, “as long as I am working hard Jah Jah a go bless I”.
New Year: Every new year offers a blank slate – an opportunity to reflect on the journey and get things right. When we set New Year’s resolutions, we signify a desire to make a step towards positive change. A new year’s resolution is a promise a person makes for the new year. It seems that regardless what resolution one resolves to commit to, the goal is always to improve life in the upcoming year. JK Warrior lays out his resolutions for the New Year so that at some point in the year, he can hold himself accountable and follow through. Every year is a new year, and so new resolutions are made. This is why this song will always remain relevant with every new year!
Need You: In almost all the music genres across the world, romantic love is one of the most enduring subjects for artworks through the ages. It seems Reggae Dancehall has not been left out on this one as JK Warrior jumps on a trap beat to express his emotional intimacy for ‘his other half’. He expresses feelings of passion and an intense longing for someone, to the point that seems he might be obsessively thinking about the need to be in their arms every time. Those feelings produce the title of the third song – Need You. The title being self-explanatory as it is, you can as well notice through the lyrics the positive thoughts and feelings that he has towards his ‘favourite’ person. It is the fact that he finds that person’s company to be more rewarding that drives him closer to them at all times.
Last Lover: Realising the damage that loneliness would cause as if wishes of the preceding track don’t come true, JK Warrior then moves swiftly in the next one dubbed Last Lover to strengthen the bond he shares with that ‘special someone’ as he now tells her to come closer. Never a cheater, but having been cheated on before by his ex-lovers, the artist makes an emotional request to his current lover that she be the last one that he will ever be hooked up with. Si iwe oyamba/ Koma Ndiwe Omaliza/ Akazi enawa ndithu ankangondinamiza/ You are me last lover/ Don’t stay away come closer, sings JK Warrior on the chorus to a fast-paced dancehall beat.
Ukamandiyenda Njomba: This is a track that is most likely to surprise the artist’s longtime fans. Ukamandiyenda Njomba is a Conscious Reggae tune that expresses desperation for a somewhat unfaithful partner. The ‘One Government Warrior’ is at a loss from the understanding that his ‘other half’ never loved him from the start. Now that he can see her true colours emerge, desperation takes a toll on him as he is pondering on quitting his job just to provide security to his lover from the multitude of other men that she is reportedly going out with. But with the fact that the woman only loves him for the things that he is able to provide for her, JK can’t also quit his job for that would result into failure to satisfy her luxurious needs. This explains why the artist is on the verge of quitting the relationship altogether as he worriedly sings “ukamandiyenda njomba/ Uziziwa m’makukonda/ Kodi umafuna kuntchito ndizijomba? Kuti ndikhale wako mulonda/ Tsono sindikwanisa zokhala wako mulonda.
Palibe Chimakoma: When the need to be close to that special person is thwarted, we are beset by loneliness and rejection. Greater heights are reached when we might also feel adrift, blocked and stagnant in our lives. This is JK Warrior’s mood in the subsequent track as he intimately informs his lover of the negative feelings that he experiences when they are temporarily not in good terms. He confesses that lack of sleep and appetite and general boredom take a toll on him as soon as he is out of terms with his loved one. Palibe chimakoma/ Mkayambana Nawe/ Kusowa Mtendere/ Usiku Onse Kukanika Kugona/. He sings in that intimate fashion to an exciting modern hard-kicking dancehall beat.
Fulli Girls: Then the Producer-cum-singer steps out of his regular position and jumps on the Dengue Riddim that was produced by Country Hype Entertainment of Jamaica early 2020. JK spits bars in a rather less-complex but exciting flow akin to Jamaican dancehall deejay Jahvillani. He portrays life in his New Government Camp as one of luxury, designer clothes, and full of hot girls from varying races. Any collector who goes for a variety of concepts will definitely find a place for this one in his collection.
Mau a Mulungu: Being tasked with the responsibility of a bread winner, mankind works hard each day using clean ways to fill up that empty jar. However, when ends seem not to meet, man sometimes gets nervous and resorts to using dirty ways to get hold of that hard to find key. It is in those anxious moments that man needs words of hope to realise that all is not lost; simply that the hard work will bear fruits at the right timing. In ‘Mau a Mulungu’, the Alliance Records Producer uses creativity to take the place of the immortal being and directly talks to a somewhat desperate soul in a seemingly encouraging way to give hope. He sets the ball rolling in the first verse by condemning jealousy towards one another and encourages to let love lead even when all doesn’t seem to go as planned. He then reaches the climax on the hook as he uses a loud tone to give hope to any listener that can relate.
“Koma Musadande/ Nthawi yanu ilipo nzakudalitsani / Ndipo musamadabwe/ Ndinu anthu anga/ Ndli nanu ma plan/ Musaone kuchedwa/ Nthawi yanu ilipo nzakudalitsani/…“
In the last verse, the Chikondi Cha Pa Phone artist warns mankind against inviting the wrath of God by using unfavorable means to fulfil their ego. Recognising that other ‘not so clean’ means and ways of earning a living exist, JK encourages man to stay away from the path that will lead him to trouble and fall from the grace of God. He warns that God is an immortal being whose eyes see everywhere and cannot be cheated.
Don’t Play: Then there comes a time when one realizes that he will never unite with his enemies; and so in those times one has to employ self defence. In ‘Don’t Play’, the One Government Boss doesn’t waste time but sets the fact straight to prove that his gangster lifestyle is not fiction but actually a true life he lives. “Bad we bad inna real life/ Many guns inna me waist that’s a Gee life, he declares on the get-go. Using gun lyrics to boasts about his shooting prowess, JK continues to blow his own trumpet as he brandishes how his guns never run dry of bullets. Full of amour and artillery, the Warrior will go to greater lengths to defend himself and his ‘One Government’ family from any form of disrespect. This is a real bad man song which brings variety to the Album.
Warning: Twisting his tongue constantly and sounding in a voice similar to that of Jamaica’s celebrated deejay Alkaline, the Journey Start artist fires warning shots for his purported enemies. It is known in military and police contexts that a warning shot is an intentionally harmless artillery or gun shot to enact direct compliance and order to a hostile perpetrator or enemy forces. In ‘Warning’, JK Warrior features rap artists Cartoon Boy and Will Cee to caution the enemy forces before they actually draw the battle lines. Nuh lef me gun anywhere me go/ Make dem lock dem mouths when me shot a pour, the ‘hot-headed’ artist talks tough on the chorus of this one. Indeed, the enemy camps will only ignore the warning at their own peril as the action that would follow from the One Government Camp can be predicted.
One Step: After a series of warnings with no sign of compliance from the enemy camps, the battle lines are finally drawn. JK Warrior features fellow dancehall artist Mwenecho who doesn’t waste time but makes one step towards the attack. In a rather serious mood, the duo takes turns on the chorus and create a duet that proves all of them to have equal importance to the song. Employing various armour for the attack, they exercise their trigger fingers in broad daylight to have the others running for cover from the brazen onslaught. The bars they spit just prove that the One Government Camp is in some different level thing not just at warfare but also in the quest for finding that elusive key – money. This is corroborated by Mwenecho as he sings, Make the chedda any weather/ and shame all a dem haters. Such delivery in a not so calm way probably settles any old scores that the One Government Boss could have had for a long time with his opponents.
Skript (Freestyle): Ironically, on the list of secrets to thrive in this fast-changing world is adaptability and originality at the same time. Adaptability relates to embracing change whilst originality relates to maintaining uniqueness. With every change, Dancehall will always sound different, but it will always be what it is – Dancehall and thus maintaining its uniqueness. This means no matter how it is fused it with other genres, dancehall will never be what it is not. As if to prove the originality of dancehall, JK takes us back to the 90’s as he delivers a freestyle on an old school dancehall beat to wrap up the album. If you are a fan of old school dancehall than the new school, well then JK has something for you to add up to your collection.
New Government Cypha: Dancehall is changing and a new generation of dancehall is slowly taking charge as it continues to deliver what is nowadays being known as the ‘New School of Dancehall’. Listening to the new school of Dancehall, one will notice the influence of Hip-Hop without trouble. The new school has that flavor that takes care to still utilise the ‘Patois’, but in a less aggressive flow that sounds closely related to rapping than it does to Dancehall’s in-born ‘deejaying’ characteristic. Prominent artist driving this change in the international scene include Popcaan, Vybz Kartel, Alkaline, Intence, Masicka, Shenseea and the list would go on like that given the abundance of talent in the new school. What’s interesting is that even more Conscious artists like Protoje, Chronixx, Bugle, Koffee and Lila Ike would only be left out in this discussion because they are more recognized with Reggae than Dancehall. So here comes JK Warrior with a song that he titles New Government Cypha. Cypha? Yes, Cypha! That’s what the evidently hip-hop-influenced new school of dancehall is capable of doing when it flexes its muscles. The Lilongwe-based producer-cum artist yet again brings variety to the album as he jumps on a typical rap beat whilst exchanging flows with rap artists that include Tropyx, Pero, Penior and Black Jaguar. When things like these occur, they only strengthen the dilemma that is out there; is the new school of dancehall more closely related to hip-hop than it is to Reggae, or is it more Reggae than it is hip-hop? Perhaps that’s the NEW.