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Judgement Days

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Album Review

After winning the 2002 Mercury Music Prize Award and a host of Brits the following year for her ground-breaking debut album A Little Deeper, U.K. MC/vocalist Ms. Dynamite's career crashed almost as rapidly as her rise from the underground, thanks to a series of rather unfortunate events which contradicted her previous vocal social conscience. Arrested for a brawl outside a London nightclub, she was then convicted of assaulting a police officer while in custody, a far cry from the refreshing anti-crime message that set her apart from her U.S. "gangsta" contemporaries. It was a stance she continued to promote just six months prior on her long-awaited sophomore album, Judgement Days, with songs tackling firearms ("Put Your Gun Away"), racial violence ("Self Destruct") and child abuse ("Father"). But even before her hypocritical brushes with the law, Judgement Days' dominating themes of political and social injustice feel as though Dynamite is trying a little too hard to put the world to rights. Of course, it's admirable when hip-hop artists provide a welcome antidote to the meaningless bling-obsessed lyrics that define the genre. But whereas A Little Deeper showed some restraint and even flashes of humor in her unique dissection of British life, the pure anger and constant preaching on Judgement Days makes you feel like you're being repeatedly battered over the head at a highly fraught protest march, particularly on the Tony Blair-baiting "Mr. Prime Minister." The constant diatribes may be a little easier to swallow if they were accompanied by the kind of inventive hook-laden, ragga-infused hip-pop she displayed early in her career. But despite the presence of esteemed pop producers Christian Karlsson (Britney Spears) and Reza Safinia (Kylie Minogue), the majority of its 13 tracks serve up a meandering and aimless supply of watered down nu-soul, insipid acoustic R&B, and phoned-in guest appearances from the likes of Lil Wayne, Chink Santana, and U.K. rapper Sincere. The authentic lover's rock reggae of the toe-tapping, Ken Boothe-sampling "Fall in Love Again," the uplifting summery vibes of "Shavaar," a heartfelt ode to her newborn son, and the gorgeous, twinkling production of the Mary J.Blige-esque "Back Then" provide a much-needed gentler and more soulful edge to the proceedings, revealing Dynamite's ability to produce light and breezy melodies hasn't totally deserted her. But overall, Judgement Days is a disappointing follow-up to its predecessor, which managed to address difficult issues without descending into self-indulgence and self-righteousness. The carefree party sound of her two-step garage beginnings seems a long, long time ago. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews


For the first time in a long time (I think since Misundaztood by Pink actually), I woke up forgetting that I had bought an album yesterday, and then, upon remembering that I had, I felt like a child with a new toy and jumped on to the computer to listen to it again. An excellent album indeed. Dynamite's lyrics once again tackle and protest against the terrible things that effect us all, with a heavy emphasis on gun crime (much like the last album). It also includes the inspirational cover of Bob Marley's 'Redemption Song' that she recently performed at the Live8 concert in London's Hyde Park. From the melodic, chilling-yet-gripping tunes of 'Judgement Day' to the borderline-haunting yet catchy 'Pain' and to the uplifting love song Shavaar (Shavaar is the name of her son), Ms. Dynamite has managed to pull it off - releasing a great album which, although doesn't quite live up to the groundbreaking changes 'A Little Deeper' made to the music industry, is a very good addition to your album collection.


I like this Album, in my eyes she is the most Talented, under rated artists in the UK at the moment. I have always liked all of her songs Booo, Danger and Ramp back in the day. Her 1st Album was amazing it was obvious the second wouldnt win all the awards the 1st one did - but you dont have to have trophies on your mantlepiece for it to be a masterpiece - I heard mixed reviews about this but I think its really good. I love Father (I like it when she sings with attitude) and not today is also good. Pain and Shavaar = you can really see how her singing voice has improved. I hope for her 3rd Album she does more spitting and RnB and maybe a couple of more tunes like Dynamiteeee. FANTASTIC!

If not for her, 2 gr8 rappers wouldnt' have been discovered

Ms Dynamite inspired the gr8 lady sov!!!


Born: 26 April 1981 in London, England

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Ms. Dynamite (aka Niomi McLean-Daley) grew up in North London, listening to reggae and turning to hip-hop at the age of 12. Even when she wanted to become either a primary school teacher or a social worker, her passion for music was stronger. After starting out in a pirate radio station called RAW FM, Ms. Dynamite met Richard Forbes (aka Sticky) in a West End club. The two began working on her debut single, "Boo!," licensed from DJ Jason Kaye's Social Circles label to London Records. Punch, Salaam...
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