Reviewed by Ian Thomson
The build-up to this album, its recession-inspired free release as a download, the host of featured artists on the cover, and the 20 years of pioneering gospel reggae that precede it mean that 'No Compromise' is a milestone for Christafari and gospel reggae, even before you hear the tunes. And, in general, the tunes don't disappoint, despite the fact that Christafari's commitment to roots reggae mean that this isn't the pop reggae of some acts.Take the "Move In You" reprise, featuring Avion Blackman and Jennifer Howland, for example. Fans familiar with Caribbean music will recognise more than roots here, the 10-piece band seguing seamlessly between dancehall, soca and hip-hop without forcing things. "Most High" is Mohr's personal history of drug-use set to music, "Protestors" gets abortion-political while "Gwaan Natty" attempts to build bridges to the Rastafarian community. And as you might expect from the title, Christafari's gospel is as clear and tough-talking as ever. The album ends a little ambiguously; "Messiah" is a semi-successful attempt to produce a reggae-worship song, and "Roots Reggae" meanders a little more than is comfortable. However, the pervading feel of the album is of good music getting better.
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