Prince Fatty Touches on Old School Dub and Soul on Collaborative ‘In the Viper’s Shadow’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

You have to be impressed when you see some of the artists producer Prince Fatty has worked with. Among them are artists as varied as Lily Allen, Pharcyde, and Gregory Isaacs. In the Viper’s Shadow is the latest studio effort from Prince Fatty, and this reggae album features a lot of collaborations with guest artists.

Prince Fatty draws on an old-time dub sound at the beginning of the album. “Two Timer” features Cornel Campbell and Tippa Irie and is reminiscent of old Black Uhuru melodies. That is followed by a trippy, dub cover of “Get Ready” by The Temptations. The reverb on the vocals only makes the song feel more trippy – bordering on psychedelic. This is a far cry from the original, but it is utterly enjoyable. 

“Deep Sleep” moves away from dub to a more soulful sound – particularly due to the vocals of Shniece McMenamin and the horns featured in the song. The story of the song is a tried and true theme of putting a spell on an admired person. Namely the narrator sings about putting someone into a deep sleep so that he’ll fall in love with the first woman he sees when he wakes up. More soul sounds can be heard at the beginning of “Cassandra” featuring Earl 16. The song opens with horns and a guitar riff that sounds like it’s straight out of an Al Green song. Some of the higher vocals in the song are also reminiscent of Al Green.

This album also contains a song called “Everything Crash”, with a melody that is similar to the song of the same name by The Ethiopians. This particular song is a protest against global warming and everything else humans do to poison the earth. The song is so catchy that you may not notice the heavy nature of the lyrics, but it is a meaningful message.

The album ends with “Trouble” featuring Shniece McMenamin and Horseman. The bass line immediately grabs the attention and gets you bouncing. Then you hear McMenamin’s smooth vocals and you can’t help but be entranced.

This is a fun reggae album. While it contains a lot of strong messages, it is has an easygoing sound. It is the perfect soundtrack for enjoying your favorite beverage on the patio as the sun sets. More generally, it is a good album for when you just want to chill out either by yourself or with friends.

Photo credit: Premier King

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