Chronixx, "Chronology" (Soul Circle)
On his first, full-length album, Jamaican musician Chronixx modestly sings that "If one person remembers my name, that means I made a change." Well, that was easy: It's going to be hard to forget him after this astonishingly rich album. Chronixx's debut sounds like a greatest hits compilation — and he's not yet 25.
Chronixx's 15-track "Chronology" is a mix of relatively old and new songs that show how far he can stretch, ranging from 2013's breezy reggae "Smile Jamaica" to this year's sexy, R&B-flavored "Majesty." It veers from the pop radio-ready "Tell Me Now" and "I Can" to the twangy, almost country "Christina" and the socially uplifting "Selassie Children."
Isolating standouts is a ridiculous task but some include the political slow jam "Black Is Beautiful" — with the lines, "This is not a racist song/This is a song for the children who was never told about where their race is from" — and the sweetly spiritual, sing-a-long anthem "Legend."
Chronixx, born Jamar McNaughton, gets funky when he teams up with his father — the dancehall artist Chronicle — on the terrific "Big Bad Sound." On the sludgy dancehall tune "Likes," he calls out Drake for his so-called tropical house exploits and also mocks those searching for internet fame ("Do it for the love/Me nuh do it for the likes.")
Chronixx had a hand in writing every song and produced or co-produced the bulk of "Chronology." In it he raps, sings, uses his falsetto, employs patois slang, backs off for the odd guitar solos and uses a full orchestra for three tracks.
Lyrically, he gets spiritual, serious and empowering, and also a little lusty and cheeky. "Forget your troubles and rock with me," he asks. He respectfully nods to the past — mentioning reggae giants Bob Marley and Peter Tosh — and yet is also completely current, offering shout-outs to "Black Beatles" and Venus and Serena Williams.
"I am a lion but you never heard me roar," he sings.
Now we have.
Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits