Album: Ghetto Priest

Vulture Culture, On-U Sound
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The Independent Culture

A former football hooligan turned Rastafarian preacher, Ghetto Priest is the latest Adrian Sherwood protégé to appear on the dub producer's On-U Sound imprint, and a welcome reminder that the UK roots-reggae scene has not been entirely washed away by the tide of dancehall slackness and bling-obsessed garage. Ghetto Priest ran with the Arsenal hooligan crew, before making the move into grown-up crime and getting nicked for a post office stick-up. In prison he turned to Rastafarianism and began writing lyrics, and after his release he became part of Sherwood's African Head Charge collective and began singing on the producer's live DJ sets. This debut features a blend of righteous incitements like "Come Now", "Rise Up" and "Show Them" and damning indictments of Babylonian establishment such as "Boom Fire" ("Somebody sound the sirens! Get rid of the tyrants!") and "Masters of Deception". The latter is a remarkable piece, combining shouts of "Scandal!" and lines like "Their god is greed/ Money their only law" over a sinuous, buzzing groove punctuated for the chorus by intense bursts of distorted electronic feedback. Elsewhere, "Strange Cargo" returns to the classic slave days theme, and "System of the Lost Cause Man" offers a commercially potent rejection of establishment mores. The result is as spiky and infectious a call to arms as has been heard in quite some while.