New Kingston 
Kingston City 
Easy Star Records 
Street: 01.27 
New Kingston = Tribal Seeds + Barrington Levy 

Switching this on, my initial reaction to this album is one of hope and excitement. Reggae has always had an edge that comments on social issues, and at first, I am not disappointed. What strings through my consciousness, however, is the bitter realization of a certain bland, vanilla, poppy aftertaste. Certainly, Kingston City has its smoothness, but the evident and defining neo-R&B crap that makes up this record leaves me longing for something that actually has roots to it—not something safe and predicable. Rather, give me the grittiness that makes this genre so rich. Notable exceptions to this negative rant are the numbers “Honorable”; “Conquer Dem” featuring Sister Carol; “Mystery Babylon,” which features Madd T-Ray and E.N Young (Tribal Seeds); and the socially aware “Today.” Other than these four tracks, which are good, the record is strongly wanting in something else. –Nick Kuzmack