Roots is the cornerstone of the reggae genre, so naturally the name fits a rootsy project like Meta & The Cornerstones. Born and raised in Dakar, Senegal, Meta found his calling early in life as a self-taught musician performing around the streets of his hometown. Many years later, Meta migrated to the United States, bringing his West African flair with him to collaborate with other artists and eventually finding his ‘Cornerstones’ in one of America’s greatest cultural melting pots – New York City. Conjoining two continental musical tastes sounds like it would be eclectic, at best, yet the project renders a traditional roots style with a new age twist… and is catchy as hell.
the track almost pokes fun at how weed-smoking is still a serious issue in today’s society
With their upcoming album HIRA lingering in the near future, Meta & The Cornerstones recently gave the reggae world a preview of what’s to come with a rerelease of their 2013 LP Ancient Power – complete with two never-before-heard tracks! It hasn’t been determined when the new full-length album will drop, but the two singles “Yellow Cab” and “Mr. Jamaica” are more than enough for fans to vibe to until HIRA hits digital outlets. “Mr. Jamaica” is that quintessential song every reggae band has on every album about the same ‘ol issue – the persecution of Rastafarians over their eternal love for marijuana. Sounds boring, right? Well, Meta & The Cornerstones deliver the subject matter in such a fun and melodic manner, that it hardly seems commonplace! With lyrics like “my sticky green queen” and “oh my gosh, you’re so high”, the track almost pokes fun at how weed-smoking is still a serious issue in today’s society. Can’t you see, world? “It’s a medical affair… you cannot blame the Rastaman.”
“Yellow Cab” is also delivered in a tongue-and-cheek style, yet oh-so-subtly. The song is about an actual ride in a New York City cab, where the driver turned out to be drunk at the wheel and the band was left stuck in the back, praying their lives wouldn’t end on the Brooklyn Bridge. The story is a scary one, yet the tone of the track is soothing, with smooth horns over a complacent rootsy beat. That’s one way to turn a horrific experience on its head – make it into musical irony! Meta pleads in the track “take it easy, take it slow” to a cabbie out of control, which is conveniently also the Rastafarian man’s mantra to life; Meta is a metaphorical one, to say the least…
The band is currently on tour, having just headlined the Red Hook Festival in Brooklyn, New York. With one more show this month in New Jersey, Meta & The Cornerstones will soon head overseas on a Western European stretch of their summer tour – even stopping to perform at WOMAD, Europe’s biggest world music festival! So, for Euro fans of Meta & The Cornerstones, now is the time to catch the band while they’re in your neck of the woods!
Preview and download Ancient Power on
- Roaring Lions
- Mayan River
- Price of Everything
- Tijahni (feat. Capleton)
- Loneliest People
- Beloved Africa (feat. Damien Marley)
- Anywhere for Love
- Without Heart
- Rooftop (feat. U-Roy)
- Silence of the Moon
- Bound to Glory
- Ancient Power
- Without Heart (Acoustic)
- Mister Jamaica
- Yellow Cab
Meta & The Cornerstones “Without Heart” official video
Disclaimer: All views presented in this album review are those of the reviewer and not necessarily those of Top Shelf Music.