Yes King - Rock This World

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Mark Rae, former owner of Grand Central Records and one half of Rae and Christian, is back with a new partner in crime. Rae, long-term collaborator Rhys Adams and an array of guest vocalists are Yes King. They do for reggae and dancehall what Rae and Christian did for northern soul. It’s an exciting sound, building hip hop on a solid foundation of Jamaican influenced sounds, while retaining a “south London swagger”.

The duo pull in a wide variety of guest vocalists, and entirely unsurprisingly, the likes of Veba and Mystro deliver an excellent performance. Mystro’s tale of a run-in with the police, One of Those Days, shows why he’s regarded as one of the UK’s premier MCs. Similarly his verses on Crunch and Champion Sound prove that he is both a talented and skilful lyricist. Those familiar with Rae and Christian’s back-catalogue will not be surprised that Veba’s contribution on 40 Long Days, small though it may be, is outstanding. The duo also make use of some lesser known names. Tor’s verse on Crunch and Ayak’s work are particularly impressive. The latter was born in Sudan but has resided in London since the age of one. If her work here is any indication, you’ll do well to keep an eye out for further releases from this talented young artist.

The overall vibe of the album is very positive. War, Rock this World, Tomorrow is Another Day and Love Revolution all carry the message that better times will (have to) come – a decision that Rae and Adams say was very much a conscious one. At the end of the day this is very fun music, but it’s unlikely to attain the classic status of, say, Rae and Christian’s Northern Sulphuric Soul. There’s a lot to like, but that special something extra just isn’t quite there. The inclusion of a slew of remixes suggests that something was needed to pad out the album, as they don’t really add that much to the originals. Still, they hope to get out here this coming February (Good Vibrations, anyone?), and I have no doubt that they’d be an absolute hoot live.

Yes King’s Rock This World is out now in Australia through Loop Recordings and Stomp. Check out ITM’s recent interview with Yes King here.

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