Black Culture
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Black Culture

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Black Culture is not a group, but a guy. And not just any guy, but this generation’s Ijahman Levi. If you know Ijahman, that may sound like extravagant praise, but just listen to “Haile I Selassie I.” (In fact you have, if you’ve heard last year’s Bambú Station compilation, Talkin’ Roots II.) What you hear on that track reflects exactly what you will find throughout this disc: thoughtful, beautiful singing and chanting over a patient, steady one-drop. You’ll also find subtle, pretty melodies and impeccable arrangements. This is gorgeous reggae, attractively packaged for good measure.


This music on Lion’s Den Adversity is all the more impressive when you read the liner notes about the singer/songwriter’s background as an American black youth. His early exposure to soul music gave way to “the beats and the vibes of Rap music and Hip Hop culture” through which he became “adept at the lyricism and floetry of the genre.” But in a non-standard twist, he then adopted the Rastafarian outlook and lifestyle, tuned into roots reggae, and even founded a cultural gathering place to promote “communal livity.” Apparently he was awaiting trial for an unidentified “Babylon offence” when he joined with the talented Bambú Station crew and recorded all these songs over a period of a single, intense week. It’s a remarkable setting for all the creativity and beauty that shines forth in the music.


So although Black Culture’s lyrics dwell in the land of Rasta-speak, their emphasis is on socially responsible behaviors and lifestyles, rather than the holier-than-thou, aggressive vengeance and burning scenarios of so many of his contemporaries. He offers lots of syntax-free advice: “Move from the ego and humble, true be humble and feel alive/Forever keep we eyes on the process, it is a treasure for only wise.” But his pleas for balance and sanity are most effective when illustrated with details from his own life: “me Dada never there,” he sings in “Absent Parent.” Later in the album he refers to “the love I have for my son.” He continually links the personal with the communal. Wisdom lies within these tracks.


Given the artist’s insistence on stability and reason and responsible behavior, you might expect something akin to wimpiness in the music itself. Nope. Not wimpy. There’s muscle here, and variety. It’s by turns luxurious, spare, dynamic, atmospheric, bubbly, pensive, friendly, challenging. “Never underrate a good cup a cocoa,” Black Culture advises in one of his songs. Never underestimate a good, warm and nourishing reggae album either, I would advise. This is one.


- Ted Boothroyd


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Black Culture: Father; son; brother; singer; artist; entrepreneur; survivor. Troy D. Bond aka Black Culture comes from the 'Commonwealth' they call Virginia. He represents that all to familiar segment of the community where wealth or access to resources was not so common, and thus his journey started, a young brother, in the confederacy of North America. Black Culture received much counsel from his grandmother and mother and was raised on the sounds of the soul singers of yesteryear. His Grandmother continuously exposed him to Gospel and all its connotations and his Mother infused him heavily with the likes of Heatwave, Marvin Gaye, The Commodores and other soulful singers of that era. The early eighties saw the emergence and impact of Rap and the Hip Hop culture, and as many youths in his time, Black Culture embraced the beats and the vibes fully. Afrika Baambata, Zulu Nation and KRS-1 dominated his listening and Black Culture soon became adept at the lyricism and floetry of the genre. As a young adult, Black Culture was introduced to the teachings and livity of Rastafari and sought fully the understanding of the teachings of His Imperial Majesty, Haile I Selassie I and resolved to live as a Rasta. This trod for culture and truth naturally oriented him to the powerful tones of roots reggae. Black Culture loved the upful aim and counsel of this foundation and his first and impacting inspiration came from the stalwart, Burning Spear. To further his aspirations for communal livity, Black Culture founded the Lion's Den Culture Shop in Norfolk, Virginia. Not close to an easy endeavor as most culture shops attest, paying the rent was a constant challenge, yet the love to provide knowledge, information and a gathering place for upful fellowship was core to Black Culture's heart. This was his contribution, purpose! In Summer 2002, while awaiting trial for a Babylon offense, Black Culture linked with Bambu Station and in 7 days poured his heart, soul and being into writing and recording these songs. The studio sessions were long, spirited and impacted every musician with a sense of profoundness. When the album was finished, the fullness of Black Culture's core was simply introduced to the real adversity! This release begins the healing of a nation and the conquering of such adversity. The Black Culture lives and so we are all...blessed. Lift ev'ry voice and sing! LIONSDENVIBES.COM MTNEBORECORDS.COM