Reggae can sometimes be filled with spiritual filigree—songs showered with praises and inflated proclamations to Jah until they lose their meaning, and Luciano’s newest album Child of a King is no different—except that his exclamations are so sincere they’ll have you questioning your own devotion.
“I am a blessed child, a messenger delivering the message of the king,” says Luciano, aka Jepther McClymont, with a saintly piety. “I have acknowledged my position in life as a comforter for the people, to guide them with positive inspiration through music.” And whether it’s guidance you’re seeking, or the path to a higher consciousness, Luciano will make a believer out of you—if not through his slick roots reggae then with his staunch message of peace and hope for mankind. His latest musical missive is a black history lesson, Bible class and plea for peace fashioned into 15 tracks of roots music. Child Of A King rolls on a modern reggae chassis, with church-like choruses giving the songs a world music and gospel feel. Although the production has slight R&B flavors, peppered with synth effects and digital distractions, Luciano’s message never falters. Taking cues from Garnett Silk and Dennis Brown, and nicknamed after opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti because of his booming voice, Luciano lays spiritual harmonies atop songs about love and devotion.
The album starts with a simple acoustic track, “Remember When,” on which Luciano speaks about the importance of remembering African heritage. “It is very crucial for us to remind our people of where we are coming from and who we are,” says Luciano. “So in managing ourselves we can really live better and live to the fullest of I and I’s expectations.” That’s followed by “This One Is For The Leaders,” an appeal to the governments of the world to stop wars and aggression—a peaceful message that’s repeated throughout the album. And like a modern day Jonah, Luciano encourages people to repent and “make their crooked straight” on “Brother Man.”
“Jonah was sent to Nineveh to tell them that if they changed their wicked ways the city would be saved. Right now, my duty as a messenger is to remind the people that there are terrible days ahead if we do not repent from our wicked ways,” says Luciano. “We see them gearing up for wars, we see them building up WMDs and if we don’t try to get it into their heads that all this is wrong then we just gonna kill ourselves off. My duty is to remind the people what we are here for as human beings: we are not here to satisfy our bellies and our desires, we are here to glorify the almighty God and to live in abundance of peace and brotherhood.”
Luciano believes reggae music is going to be more and more respected as things become worse on Earth and people look for an alternative out of the wickedness. “The Bible tells us that ‘the stone that the builder refuse shall be the head corner stone’ and I believe right now that reggae has to be the head corner stone for all the people in the world,” he says. “Our duty is to maintain the message and keep it spiritual so that from time to time those who have lost their way can find it through the music.”
“So Much Goin On” is a sincere pleas to turn the wicked around, with Morgan Heritage-esque harmonies, a bouncing bass line and spiraling melodica. Its thoughtful lyrics also remind the listener that Luciano, the singer, is as much a guiding light as his music. His booming voice and compelling lyrics also shine through on “Not Until,” “Child Of A King” and “Silver & Gold.”
Child Of A King also features spirited love songs “Desperate Lover,” “Can’t Take No More” and “International Cannabis,” a love song of a different kind. But overall, the album spins like a lost gospel written by a devout disciple. Asked how he remains so positive in a world riddled with trouble, Luciano doesn’t hesitate to pledge allegiance to Jah. “Over the