Kelissa releases Anbessa World Mixtape with DJ Shacia ‘Payne’ Marley
Just over two weeks ago, Kingston, Jamaican singer-songwriter Kelissa released two remixes gearing up to her mixtape project, Anbessa Word. These releases—”How Many More Remix” featuring Sa Roc and “Topsy Turvy Remix” featuring Kabaka Pyrami—were both radical teasers to the new release. The recently released mixtape is a collaboration with DJ/producer Shacia “Payne” Marley, who is known for her affinity for the early dancehall era.
Their partnership sees them exploring new sounds and paying homage to industry veterans and icons. In a style reminiscent of sound system “toasting,” Kelissa shows off her edge, lyricism and versatility with each track. The mixtape concept is inspired by diverse expression of African traditions, both on the continent and in the Diaspora, that are rooted in Jamaica’s traditional music, i.e. reggae and its sub genres like dancehall, ska and dub. Anbessa World marries these expressions with other closely related music forms like hip-hop, RnB, Afrobeats, jazz and blues and dubstep, creating an integrative, experiential hour of borderless music.
The 17-track mixtape, though upbeat, still manages to explore complex themes and take the listener on a journey through several moods, from wanting to dance to wanting to cry, even. Beyond the intricate rhythmic and melodic blends, the lyrical content questions the way we live and think, recalls history through conversation and expresses ideas that challenge stereotypes, outdated traditions and political systems. DJ Shacia Payne complements this approach, weaving in the nostalgic-meets-futuristic sound effects beautifully.
Produced by Kelissa and a series of other young talented producers, Anbessa World uses samples—music, speeches, movies etc.—which makes for fun listening and replay value on the songs, namely:
“No One” by Alicia Keys sung over renowned 1970’s reggae beat, “Taxi Riddim;” Sizzla’s “Take You There,” reimagined with some original lyrics; Queen Latifah’s “U.N.I.T.Y.,” by fusing 90’s conscious hip-hop with Jamaica’s traditional Rastafari music—Nyabhingi drumming; “Carolina,” a Jamaican folk song originally recorded by The Folkes Brothers in 1960’s, and, later, sampled by Shaggy in the early 90’s; and marijuana anthem “Color of Love,” which samples Alton Ellis’ 1970’s tune “You Make Me So Very Happy.”
The mixtape includes remixes to previously released singles—”How Many More” featuring Washington-based rapper Sa-Roc, and “Topsy Turvy” with Kabaka Pyramid; both heavily hip-hop influenced.
The songs are all relevant and well-produced, giving the entire project a resonance and feel-good vibe. Among its prominent social commentary themes are: women’s experiences navigating male-dominated spaces; a need for the evolution of women’s roles within the Rastafari tradition; marijuana and how policy changes about the plant affect community and society, as well as lighter topics.
Anbessa Word is a very entertaining listen and available for streaming below.
You can follow @KelissaMusic on Instagram.
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