Jo Mersa Marley’s New EP ‘Eternal’ A Fresh Take On The Link Between Reggae, Dancehall and Hip Hop
New York, NY, May 21, 2021. After the release of his well-received EP Comfortable in 2014, Jo Mersa Marley took some time to work with some of the giants in the music and hone his sound. Scoring features on tracks like Light It Up on Morgan Heritage’s Grammy award winning album Strictly Roots, Stephen Marley’s Revelation ll: “The Fruit of Life”. Jo also embarked on working with his brother Yohan Marley again on Brickell and released several singles such as Nothings Gonna Harm You, Everlasting feat Minj and Point of View feat Damian Marley, just to name a few. Now six years after his first EP Jo Mersa releases his Sophomore EP Eternal. The seven-track project features the likes of Busy Signal, as well as label mates Kabaka Pyramid and Black Am I. This new body of work is an exciting glimpse into the potential that Joe has continued to display over these initial stages in his career.
With an introductory track like Guess Who’s Coming Home, co-produced by Jo Mersa, indirectly highlights his return after such a long time. Based in a rhythmic roots sound, but tactfully blended with the EDM, this track provides the ideal sonic foundation for Jo’s prodigal return. Yo Dawg also provides a platform for the young Marley to explore his love and fascination with early dancehall alongside one of his musical brothers, Busy Signal. Made It, which features the lyrical genius Kabaka Pyramid, is a discussion about getting to an ideal space in life and the joys that come with that kind of growth.
The gritty but conscious stylings of No Way Out gives way to the indignant side of Jo Mersa Marley we have come to know. Here, with the powerful Black Am I, Jo confronts the society, some of the injustices it perpetuates and the karma that is likely to come back tenfold as a result. Although this conversation is a necessary part of his brand of music, he pivots into a more intimate setting with Thinking. On this song Jo waxes poetic about the PG version of his experiences with the women in his life. It is backed by an infectious one drop dancehall beat, which the lyrical “killy” absolutely demolishes. Closing out the project is one of the strongest tracks on the album, That Dream, which is a commentary on the cycle of violence involved in a life of crime. He reflects tastefully on the kind of restlessness that comes with living in the criminal world, all the while backed by a catchy hip hop reggae blend.
As a complete body of work, Eternal has a light narrative arc that is connected through the sonic progressions, and tracks like the storied Guess Who’s Coming Home. It speaks on a variety of topics from growth, to justice, romance, and even alternative medicine. Jo Mersa Marley really opens in terms of range, while maintaining an easily digestible time of 23 minutes. Eternal is slated to be a banger for the coming summer and beyond.
Diving DEEP into the music, join me when I take out the Reggae Submarine every Sunday at 18 GMT.
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The 'G' rating applies to content that has nothing in theme, language, reference to sexual activity, violence, etc. which would be offensive to parents whose younger children listen. Some snippets of language may go beyond polite conversation but they are common everyday expressions. No stronger words are uttered. The reference to violence is at a minimum. Explicit references to sexual activity are not present; nor are there any references in favour of hard drug use.