Island Stage Album Review ‘Rebel Frequency’ – Nattali Rize
Written by Jen Cheshire
After seeing Nattali Rize perform at Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in June 2018, I had to buy this album.
“Rebel Frequency” is an album that has restored my faith that reggae music with a message isn’t dead. Recently I heard somebody say “With all that’s going on in society today, where are the protest singers like we had in the ’60s and early ‘70s?” Well, I am happy to say they are out there with the likes of Nattali Rize.
The title track of the album, “Rebel Frequency” speaks of how ‘the system’ tries to dumb us down, it encourages us to not be reliant on what our governments tell us. “The mission is resistance”, a common theme throughout the album, “Now you know what we’re fighting for”. Set to a marching beat, this track stirred up my rebel instincts and made me want more.
Track 2, “Natty Rides Again” featuring Julian Marley, describes the Rasta philosophy. The combination of Nattali Rize and the son of Bob Marley epitomizes Bob’s message, summoned up succinctly by the line “Rastas stand for positive, love is all we got to give”.
“Warriors”, the next track, is another song with the stirring marching beat. I can see songs like this with the reggae message of injustice, but with the modern twist, rousing the younger generations as the protest songs of the ‘60s did with that generation.
The next track, “One People”, is warning Babylon that with unity we will rise up and confront them, worldwide, on what they are doing.
“Evolutionary”, the following track, features Dre Island and Jah 9. This track suggests that revolution is part of evolution, and is inevitable. Despite the marching beat, it’s not suggesting violent revolution but a revolution of unity with peace and love.
Track 6, “Heart Of A Lion” features Notis Heavyweight Rockaz (a duo consisting of Wayne “Ungar” Thompson and Jason “Bigbass” Welsh). This track has a beautiful violin segment and the lyrics compare a Lion and Lioness in the jungle to a man and woman together fighting the fight in the concrete jungle.
Now for a change of theme and pace. “Fly Away” is a love song featuring Raging Fyah. This track shows the pretty side of Nattali’s voice, combining beautifully with the melodious tones of Kumar, former vocalist of Raging Fyah. It’s a sweet song that breaks up up the militant tone of the previous tracks. I look forward to more collaborations from these two.
“Meditation”, the following track speaks of how music is meditative and restoring, “music guiding us to a higher state”.
Track 9, “Generations Will Rize” featuring Kybaka Pyramid and Notis Heavyweight Rockas, reassures us that people are becoming aware that, with unity, they are powerful “The people have the power. They keep waking by the hour”. This is something that has become apparent recently as people around the world are coming together and protesting against the decisions of their respective governments.
The next track, “Hypocrisy” speaks for itself. It’s speaking about how the youth are taught to follow the system of education and work, “Don’t want to be another rat in a different race”. It states that change is needed. “Just as long as the game stays the same, it ain’t ever gonna change”.
The penultimate track “Free Up Your Mind” is reminding us to educate ourselves and evolve and not to let the system dictate what you will be because the system is a lie. Freeing up your mind frees up your life.
“Ever Rizing Dub” completes the album. This dub track is an infectious, piano-based dub with a marching beat, sure to be a favorite with the dub lovers.
Every time I listen to “Rebel Frequency” I am stirred up to do something towards changing the way the world is today. I believe that Nattali Rize is the Peter Tosh of her generation. She brings the true reggae message but in a fresh and updated formula, attracting the younger generation in a way that the foundation reggae music is no longer reaching. I highly recommend this album.