Fantan Mojah
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Fantan Mojah


Band World Reggae


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The best kept secret in music


"Big Debut"

n a rather odd occurence, in 2005 roots reggae upstart Fantan Mojah, easily one of the most sought after conscious dj's in Jamaica, has signed a deal with UK reggae giant label Greensleeves to release his debut album, Hail the King, named after his most successful single to date. We didnt have to wait very long for the album to come out, as Mojah had just really bust on the scene in 2004 and had been flooding the market with strong material with a few very large hits mixed in.

Even more unusual is the fact that the usually timid to release an artist's album (not named Sizzla) Greensleeves released his record exactly when they said they would. And somewhere in JA Kurrup and Predator (GS's seemingly forgotten dancehall signees) continue to be overlooked (and last time it was by Anthony B who doesn't even work for GS). Nevertheless the world of music is a better place with a Fantan Mojah album on the racks.

The most non-surprising facet of this deal is that, expectedly, Mojah's debut album is a rich, inspiring and healthy tour de force of roots music. The young chanter proves that his somewhat unusual style can indeed support an entire album with no real weak spots throughout its 18 tracks. Hail the King is a wonderful debut for a soon-to-be King of roots.

The best tune here (again, no so surprisingly) is the MASSIVE title track on the maroon riddim which might make Count Ossie himself proud of the beautiful Nya drumming on the track which goes completely in one direction of showing the still developing Mojah's talents as it comes off as more of a chant than a dj's tune. Also standing out on Hail the King is the high profile combination with the incarcerated, but still ultra busy ridiculous voiced Jah Cure, Nah Build Great Man. Everything Cure has been touching these days has been turning into gold (literally) and Nah Build Great Man is no exception, the tune works completely.

Fantan Mojah becomes the second artist (after Sean Paul) to be lucky enough to have his album blessed with terrifyingly beautiful Seasons riddim from superproducer Vendetta, and he handles it just about as good as anyone (not named Jah Cure). He also makes use of a timeless Bobby Digital riddim, best known as the backdrop to Sizzla's brilliant Words of Divine on King of Kings, which I initially thought to be just wrong but the youth makes it work completely in proving himself worthy.

Of course you have to check Mojah's second biggest tune, Hungry, over the Invasion riddim, very fine tune; Feel the Pain, a rather clever testament to the strength of the Black Woman; Corruption (which I'm certain Mojah's base label and album producers, Downsound, are touting as his next big tune, because they also remixed it); speaking of remixes, Hail the King's remix is even more luscious and vibrant and nearly as good as the original; and 2 of the other combinations here, Uplift Yourself with First Born and especially Rastafari is the Ruler are both relatively big tunes. And I can't forget about Search, probably my 3rd favorite tune here overall (after the title track and Nuh Build Great Man).

Overall, Fantan Mojah's style may take a little while to get used to, even for the most experienced of modern roots fan, he kind of shifts in between pure djaying, pure chanting, and pure singing as several of his contemporaries (i.e. Sizzla, Turbulence etc.) but where you're completely used to hearing such from them, Mojah's heavy raspy voice is another 'weapon' which he makes work doing whatever he chooses. Get past that and Hail the King is a wonderfully vibrant debut from an artist, whose time appears to be in the future, but listening to him right now certainly is fun. Biggup to the artist and GS for another wonderfully packaged product, which is very important for promoting the music to the non-reggae fan.

On a side note, you have to love 2005 if you're a fan of modern roots reggae music. Multiple releases (as usual) from Sizzla, Turbulence, Luciano and Anthony B, albums from established artists such as Junior Kelly, Everton Blender, Freddie McGregor, Warrior King and Damian Marley, debuts from Mojah, Natty King, I Wayne and conscious tinged dancehall artist Assassin AND a Queen Omega album! Wonderful year for the music. - Achis


Singles: Stronger, Hail the King,
Album 1 - Hail the king on Greensleeves Label
Album 2 - Strong on VP/Greensleeves Label
Singles - Stronger, Hail the king



The release of the "Hail The King" album heralds the international arrival of a major new talent in Jamaican music but, on the strength of his achievements so far, Fantan Mojah already deserves his rightful place in that illustrious roll call of culturally inspired, and inspiring, Jamaican artists running from Count Ossie through Bob Marley, Burning Spear to Garnet Silk and Luciano on to Buju Banton, Capleton and Sizzla. Fantan Mojah was born Owen Moncrieffe in the fruitful country parish of St. Elizabeth, the "cockpit country" of the Maroons, runaway slaves long famed for their resilience and resistance. Their unbroken link with their African ancestry has resulted in a latent culture that has retained much of that African oriented past and this is most audible in the music coming from the region and now exemplified by the music of Fantan Mojah.

The young Owen Moncrieffe was always motivated by music and, at the age of nine years, began performing at local concerts winning several talent competitions while still at school. His parents soon grew to understand that Owen's sole aim in life was to be a deejay and in order to further his musical ambitions he moved to Kingston. He found work there as a handyman with top Sound System Kilamanjaro gaining experience and gradually building up a reputation as he sang and deejayed over rhythms during sound checks. Initially he called himself Mad Killer (after dancehall deejay Bounty Killer) but he was drawn more and more towards a strictly conscious approach to music. In 1997 he came under the influence of cultural deejay Capleton who encouraged the youth to become known by a more spiritual name and so he became Fantan Mojah in order to clearly define his Rastafarian beliefs and to underline the serious content of the music that he felt compelled to make. His experiences as a young man growing up in St. Elizabeth had now become coupled with the aggressive urban environment of Kingston enabling him to blend an honest rural flavour with the hype and brutality of urban poverty and he began to create a music that was indelibly his and, spiritually, emotionally and artistically his new name represented his coming of age.

Fantan began recording with the Black & White team of Andrew 'Prento' Prendergast and Joseph Bogdanovich of Down Sound Records in 2004 and their first seven-inch release "Hungry" shot to the number one position in the Jamaican charts where it stayed for eight straight weeks. The anthemic "Hail The King" followed it to number one and has become one of the most talked about, and listened to, records of 2005. The accompanying videos not only emphasised Fantan's visual appeal but also reinforced his image as the chief celebrant and armour bearer for Rastafarian music. Down Sound was one of the flag bearers for the change from the excesses of "bling" dancehall redirecting the music to its original mission of social and economic opportunity and equality and other major record producers involved in the "One Drop" movement are also represented here. The telling "Nuh Build Great Man", with Fantan in combination with Jah Cure whose vocals were actually added at Tower Street Correctional Facility, should leave the listener in no doubt as to the importance and significance of Fantan Mojah to Kingston's current resurgence of roots and culture.

Fantan has headlined prestigious Jamaican stage shows such as East Fest, Spring Break, Sting, Fully Loaded, Summer Jam and the West Kingston Jamboree and toured extensively: to Canada for the Montreal Reggae Festival in 2004, and in 2005 to the UK for Culture Fest and to Italy for the Rototom Sunsplash. He has trod his righteous path through Cayman, Barbados and Bermuda with his uplifting music making many new adherents to his ideals. His lyrics are concerned with truths that should be obvious but Fantan states them in ways that compel the listener to think again: for if it costs nothing at all to praise God then why not do it? The cost, if nothing in terms of money, is everything in terms of salvation and here he offers a chance for reggae music to reassert itself as positively influential and divine.

His plans for the future are to continue spreading his message worldwide and his debut album not only confirms his mission but also consolidates his position with songs that are inspirational hymns to goodness and to love, calling the faithful to prayer and preaching the message to the youth that evil is not unavoidable. We urge you to savour the talent of this very genuine and gifted young man and we are sure that you will join us in celebrating the richness of his vision and purposefulness of his mission which is, basically, about peace and love among all peoples of the earth