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Album Review

In Kingston, Jamaica, the neighborhood of Halfway Tree is seen as a meeting place, a junction between the rich and poor parts of town. Damian Marley, the youngest son of reggae icon Bob Marley, wants his music to do the same thing, to be a bridge between the rich and the poor, the new and the old. For the most part, he succeeds as his North American debut offers enough social consciousness to keep his father's fans happy while still dabbling in newer forms of dancehall and hip-hop. North Americans may be familiar with Marley's work from his cameo appearance on Eve's album Scorpion. On Halfway Tree, Eve returns the favor as she appears on "Where Is the Love?," one of the funkiest tracks on the album. Another highlight is "Stand a Chance," which features some funky harmonica as well as the rhymes of Treach of Naughty By Nature as well as the sweet vocals of dancehall legend Yami Bolo. Tracks like "More Justice" and "Give Dem Some Way" feature the kind of social commentary you'd expect from a member of the Marley clan. The family influence is also felt throughout the album — his brother Stephen Marley, produced much of the album and they even sample their father's classic "Could You Be Loved" on their track "And Be Loved." But Marley also strays away slightly from family tradition, dealing with love and sex in a raw, direct way on tracks like "Mi Blenda" and "Cool and Dandy." For the most part, Marley does an excellent balancing act. He handles his legacy and his future flawlessly and what's more surprising is that he makes it look easy.

Customer Reviews

Absolutely Inspirational

As a lifelong Bob Marley fan, I can honestly say that Damian "Jr Gong" Marley has not only the knowledge his fath possesed, but the talents as well. I was turned onto Damian by my Aunt and Uncle, the same Aunt and Uncle that gave me Bob's "Survival" album when I was 10 years old after going into remission from leukemia. I can remember laying on the floor with headphones listening to Bob preach and teach me, some of his more prophetic versus not comming to full light until recently. Over the last 14 years I have been learning spirituality and humanity through the words of Bob Marley. On this album, from "Educated Fools" to "Born to Be Wild", Damian shows the same unapologetic contempt for the Babylon System, poverty, war, racism and hatred as his father did in his works. Listening to the album in it's entirety is a breath of fresh air in these tense times in the history of the world. I have yet to hear anyone touch on as many subjects with such diversity as "JR Gong" has here. This is a must hear for any social conscience person who is looking for something with substance and spirituality. I look forward to hearing future works from Damian and the Marley Family. May the Lord of Lords continue to give them the strength and insight to uphole the struggle against the oppressors.

Pretty Good

I like this CD and its pretty good like "It Was Written" is a very good song and some others but, there are also songs that are crap. Also a couple of the tracks are just filler and just make the album more expencive. Over all this is a good album but make sure you really like Damian Marley before you get it. If you want to just try him out I would suggest his album "Welcome to Jamrock" instead.

Another JR GONG classic

This album is a masterpiece one of JR GONG's best if not his best. He is one of reggae best artist and he is leading the Marley legacy. Still Searchin' is a wonderful song, and It Was Written is talkin about some deep stuff. It is a must buy, must have for any "true" reggae fan.

Biography

Born: July 21, 1978 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Damian Marley was only two when his father died, but the youngest of the Marley sons must have learned something. At the age of 13, he formed his first band, the Shepherds, which also included the son of Third World's Cat Coore and the daughter of Freddie McGregor; the group even opened up the 1992 Reggae Sunsplash festival. By 1994, Damian was working on his own solo project, and with the help of his father's label, Tuff Gong, he recorded Mr. Marley. Also lending a familial air to the sessions was...
Full Bio
Halfway Tree, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley
View In iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Genres: Reggae, Music, Dancehall
  • Released: Sep 11, 2001

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