Patriots For Ever, is the mantra for recording artiste Jahmiel whose sophomore album “Legend” is arguably in the top 15 best body of work emerging from the genre in the past few years or at best #1 release since 2022. The 16-track album release by Sweet Music on April 15, 2022, in my opinion reflects not just a masterful balance between reggae and dancehall sounds, but is equally lyrically potent, capturing an eclectic mix of struggles youths face in Jamaica and throughout the diaspora.
Jahmiel’s road to fame and fall which is captured in the single “Story of My Life” shares a series of events that has clouded his career and personal growth in recent years. His recent interview with Nightly Fix/Quick Fix & Onstage, the artiste gave more context to his listed singles and the creative process behind the albums sound but more importantly, his version of the truth.
With his recent public appearance, comments, and listening to the album, there remains more unanswered questions not just surrounding his claims but his non-existent relationship with his former mates.
Whatever the truth may be, here are 5 notable take aways from Legend:
- Religion & Culture Struggles – Singles such as “Worthy to be Praised”, “Story of My Life”, “Legend” captures the struggle religion and culture has on youths in our society today. From an over churched and culture-centric society, we see how at times varying conflicting viewpoints and practices can lead to an undue burden but be the very thing that inflict the wounds and then heal it. Jahmiel’s music though prolific lends to a deeper personal issue. Often times the stories that we hear throughout the Jamaican society speaks to this, sometimes our mind is our own prison!
- Mentorship & Perseverance – Expressed on most of the singles on the album, the theme of perseverance is echoed. However, what can be noted is the artiste cry or a consistent theme in the music space that there is series mistrust and lack of adequate mentors. With an industry with so many elders, one would think that such problems wouldn’t exist, however, what has been proven time and time again is that the industry is a self-serving one which has and continue to contribute to the institutional roadblock the genres not just locally but internationally. The single “Mind Games” speaks to aspects of this.
- Creative Control & Balance– The album sound demonstrates that when an artiste has creative control at times isn’t necessarily a self-destructive process. It enables the talent to be the creatives they are. With very few collaborations, the artiste perfectly uses those added voices to complement his sound, message and vision for the project. Being an independent artiste is a profitable path which many has taken and as the data suggest can be more lucrative in a digital age. The freedom independence provides allows the artiste to stay true to not just who they are but who they want to become, and Jahmiel’s previous efforts and this new body of work speaks to that despite his personal demon’s. His collaboration with Stonebwoy provides the balance with Afrobeats which has been garnering mainstream success.
- Poverty & Crime – If we should look at our political parties and the problems that shackle the nation, it would be hard to relive them of such blame. The Hon. Andrew Holness in a recent interview with Anthony Miller dated April 15, 2022, alluded to or inferred that Jamaica has been going through a “civil war” and that the current state of affairs particularly crime is more one of self-choice oppose to a systematic problem created and reinforced by the government/party he leads or the Opposition party. Singles like “Empty Promises; speaks to this disconnect and current situation in the nation of how the youth perceive those that represent them. With “Africa”, “Set Me Free” an ode to freedom it would behoove the Prime Minister to give the music not just the respect it deserves but seek to see how it can aid the ongoing conversations.
- Suicide – “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds” are words from the genre’s legend, Bob Marley which spoken decades ago remains just as relevant today. The culture doesn’t speak about or enough the mental toll the nation struggles with amidst varying social ills. A reoccurring theme across many albums released in the past years and a struggle faced by many not just in the entertainment circle is “Suicide”. Jahmiel album spoke to this recurring theme and though many can relate, it’s something worth addressing immediately in the society.
Legend by Jahmiel is undoubtedly a great body of work as he remains a true creative throughout the project bringing his audience on a journey not just of his but that of many. Though these may be Jahmiel truth’s, they are truths shared by many.