London-based reggae producer Jstar continues to gain critical acclaim for music off his recent debut LP Stand to Order, and his “Bad Boy Stepping” single is of no exception. Following his first track off the album, “Liar Liar”, and an entire dub remix of the album entitled Dub to Order, “Bad Boy Stepping” is a bass-heavy horn track that is low-key enough to vibe to, yet emphatic enough to shine a light on social justice.
…an eclectic blend of styles forming one simply unignorable social awareness anthem.
Featuring a myriad of artists and MCs, the new track illustrates life on the streets of the UK and how gun violence has grown into a regrettable social norm. Getting through life is hard as it is without adding the impending doom of senseless violence. Joining Jstar on the track is Jamaican native MC Ranking, New Zealand trombonist Gareth Thompson Darling, and jazz trumpeter Alex Manuel Figuera. Add in remixes from Freedo, Dreadsquad, and Mo’ Matic, and you’ve got yourself an eclectic blend of styles forming one simply unignorable social awareness anthem. It’s time that citizens across the board – from the bourgeois to the suburbs to the ghetto – “put down yo’ guns” and settle disputes without semiautomatics. It isn’t just the impoverished getting killed these days. Furthermore, Jstar reminds his listeners that the term ‘gangster’ is a complete social construct: without reinforcement in the entertainment industry dictating and glorifying that kind of ‘hard’ and ‘dangerous’ lifestyle, we wouldn’t want to live like a gangster – we wouldn’t even know how to.
To add illustration to the illusion, Jstar released a “Bad Boy Stepping” video chocked-full of examples. The video is a compilation of gun imagery throughout the 20th Century, either pulled from old film noir movies or original Warner Brother cartoons, to instill a sense of not only nostalgia for the viewer, but also a reality check that guns have been constant in Western culture since the dawn of the moving picture. Our great-great-grandparents were the first to witness the ‘gangster life’, and it has since locked, stocked, and barreled into what it is today. The video is of the fun acid-trip variety, with clips switching back-and-forth between gun discharges, horn sections, and the city of London to completely melt your brain. And, no matter if you’re a movie buff or if you’ve never owned a television in your life, chances are that you will recognize at least a few of the cultural references!
“Bad Boy Stepping”, as well as the rest of the Stand to Order album, is now available on all major digital outlets for purchase and download. Jstar just finished up his January New Zealand tour, and is now traveling through Hong Kong, Manila, and Greece for live February performances – with more shows to come this spring! For more information, visit the Jstar website here.
“Bad Boy Stepping” Video:
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.