Julian Marley’s much anticipated 4th album, As I Am, is available for pre-order now and is giving fans a delightful taste of the soul-powered production with an immediate download of the track “Straighter Roads” with every purchase. Fans have been patiently waiting an entire decade since the release of Marley’s previous album, Awake, which won ‘Best Album of the Year’ in the International Reggae and World Music Awards, on top of being nominated in the GRAMMY’s ‘Best Reggae Album’ category.
The full album is tastefully coated with style and sound elements from a variety of musical backgrounds…
Marley commented, “Time is the master – we’re always working on music even though you don’t hear it. Music is a feeling and we don’t rush it. The public can expect something that’s not out there, a unique album tailored-cut to uplift, charge up and feel good.” The full album is tastefully coated with style and sound elements from a variety of musical backgrounds, and features a hubbub of international icons such as Snoop Dogg, Shaggy, Beenie Man, Spragga Benz and reggae’s renowned The Tamlins. It is obvious the attention that was taken in blending these elements to create something truly transcendant.
Produced by Ghetto Youths International and Zojak World Wide, Julian Marley enlisted creative contributions of a few super stars – his own brothers! Reggae artists Damian “Junior Gong” Marley and Stephen Marley serve as executive producers and producers. The overall collaboration is crisp, clean, authentic, well-rounded and, most importantly, worth every moment spent in anticipation. As I Am takes us on a spiritual journey, offering inspiration, points of confusion, clarity, seeded uncertainities and well-processed revelations. These ideologies are layered elegantly and meticulously to produce a profound statement: music can free us, love saves us and humanity can rise above.
The artist stays true to the fundamental principles of roots-rock-reggae by proffering an album fueled by universal love. The single “Magic Of Love (Compassion)” brings on the intensity through psychedelic guitar riffs, rigid basslines and a fluid chord progression that synergises and collides effortlessly with a heartbeat-like drum and bass rhythm. This still coincides perfectly with the overall message: “Love where have you gone // I am only simply asking // Save us from the madness // We are needing all the magic of love.”
Julian is inspired by life, spirituality and, while remaining true to his reggae roots, the crooner transcends musical genres. Digital effects are explicitly and poignantly laid throughout the majority of the album’s raw instrumentals in a truly timeless fashion. Like his father, Bob Marley, Julian’s goal is to voice the grievances of the downtrodden through the vibrations of music.
“Each song is an expression from within, each feel represents who I am,” explains Julian. “I was inspired by GOD, life, love, family, people and the social issues we live in today and from ever since. Music is to gather the people under the umbrella of love and the love is in the music.” He continues, “It’s called As I Am because it represents me as it’s what comes from within.”
The record flows seemlessly through the chapters of Julian Marley’s inner journey, his relationship to music and ultimately the world thus far. The opening track, “Are You The One” offers an intrinsic insight to music’s ability to heal and liberate from the restraints of modern civilization. “Reggae music spins through the levels and stages // Teaching the people since ages // Bringing joy to the desolate places // To energize so you never get wasted.”
“Each song is an expression from within, each feel represents who I am…”
As a final treat, “I Am The Sound (Addis Pablo Version)” feels like a deliberate and lovely way to encourage a free form thought continumum amongst listeners. This song stands as a chance to wind down and reflect on our own connectivity to the world after being so deeply absorbed in the powerful messages brought to life. Julian Marley certainly makes one hell of a stamp – not just for the reggae scene, but for the overall global conciousness movement. As a humanitarian, visionary, songwriter, artist and friend, his choices in trusting the process of creativity, timeliness and personal growth has led to what should be known as an instant classic and a monumental work of art.
As I Am will officially be digitally released on January 25th, while the physical format drops on February 8th, 2019. “I don’t plan the next step,” says Julian, “I just continue on with Jah Works and, somehow, things seem to just come together naturally that way.” Julian Marley may not make too many plans, but fans can stay hyped for more great music, music videos and an eventual As I Am Tour in coordinance with the release.
Pre-order As I Am album or stream singles:
- Are You The One
- Hey Jack
- Broken Sail
- Chalice Road
- Coolin In Jamaica
- Baby Lotion
- Too Hot To Dance, feat. Shaggy
- Magic Of Love (Compassion)
- Straighter Roads
- What’s New Pussycat, feat. Beenie Man
- Family & Friends
- Panic Mind State, feat. Spragga Benz
- Can’t Cool The Fire
- War Zone
- I Am The Sound (Addis Pablo Version)
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.