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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

WARRIOR KING

By Michael Stone
Published June 27, 2006

Hold The Faith
VP

Jamaica’s Warrior King (Mark Dyer) first made his mark with fellow DJ Little Blacks on a popular single produced by Cocoa Tea. Incorporating all the iconography of the Lion of Judah, he follows up on his critically acclaimed, self-titled 2001 solo debut with a paean to the Rastafarian faith, opening with a reflective invocation of the spirit, and moving through a mix of conscious preaching, prophecy and reasoning, dancehall reggae and lover’s rock. Warrior King’s plaintive tenor has won him a particularly ardent female following. The most musically engaging tracks make good use of solid session players, a sublime female chorus and unforced lyrics, as on “Judgment Day,” “Freedom,” “My Life,” “Judah” and the title song. A trio of novelty numbers—“Education” (a mento setting with children’s chorus), “K-I-N-G” and “Motherland Awaits”—reveals another, more whimsical side of Warrior King, and provides a lighthearted counterpoint to the burning ideals expressed in the explicitly political material. The more patently sentimental love songs fall flat, though, burdened by saccharine lyrics and plodding tempos that do no justice to the singer’s considerable vocal instrument.