I'm a big music fan, and listen to all types of
music, but have a special love for reggae.
The first album I ever heard was Bob Marley's "Survival" when I was
just 9, and it introduced me to a new world...a protest against the oppression of the
black people and a cry for the unity of black people in Africa, Jamaica, and the rest of
I was instantly captivated.
Now comes Midnite's Ainshant Maps, and they have expanded on this vision with an album that re-defines
"rebel music." Midnite manages to make one of the best reggae albums of all time, topping even
their own, unbelievably great catalog.
Resistance, rebellion, and rejection of Western philosophy are themes which, if you're
familiar with Midnite, should not come as a surprise.
"Ainshant Maps" is also musically and rhythmically perfect, and its fueled by the
same rage that Marley sung about so long ago.
In "Livity," Vaughn Benjamin sets the tone: "Look Ya See. look and see. Me no shy about
nothing weh a pain me. For as long as ghetto people still a hear me."
In "Abadan Abyss" he rejects Western
religions: "Drastically resistant to Rome. With them christian demographics. Them
falsify blue eye the black christ with them ethics. Them still pon them state. Them still
have the false image, deceiving the nations with it. Deceiving the nations with it. In a
de lying pathological chronic epidemic. The sermon is a death threat clinic. Talking bout
the devil's system, and them working for it. Man who standing up against it getting hurt
King" rails against the glorification of
violence in the greco-
roman/Judeo-Christian tradition: "Everything fe dem a gunnery, riddle is a word
or shot, same time, softly, Literary canon dem a tell you literally. Magazine could be
reading or a rifle steady."
for Sentence" expands further on the price one
pays for going against the grain: "So who testified at my secret trial. So who
amplified when your digits were dialed. No. I'm not innocent nor guilty no. Hypocrisy
judgmental is the plea I enter."
The consistency of "Ainshant Maps" puts it
over the top. Soulfully mixing elements of roots and dancehall, Vaughn is
at the absolute peak of his vocal powers, and brother Ron
Benjamin has never produced a musically
finer album. Going from smooth one drop roots to more organic sounds, the shift is
The result is stunning, and never more evident on
a great tune with a slow, sinister skank, crazy dub effects, and then Vaughn coming in with:
"Me never stop praise Jah me six string Yamaha. Please fe tell I who blood seed
you is working for. You get burned in you tell you knocka fia. Look it to Jah house as a
first time buyer."
The allegory and poetry that Vaughn
uses while never repeating himself is amazing. Especially given the trite lyrics and pop
stylings of so many other roots bands.
Somewhere, Bob Marley is smiling.