KJ was right.

My previous hairstylist (when I was in Chicago), KJ, had a side gig to do hair for some of the bigger musical groups who played dates at one of the outdoor ampitheaters. While in the chair getting highlights she's relaying this to me, about the time Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers were due to play. "Ziggy's good, don't get me wrong. But Stephen? That boy is the most talented. He can go!" After buying his latest release this week, Mind Control, I've been saying to myself, "KJ was right."

Stephen has primarily served as producer/arranger/writer and guest vocalist on his brothers' albums, most recently youngest sibling Damian"Jr. Gong" Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock". On this outing, Stephen's genetic genius is very evident. Where Ziggy inherited his father's good looks and vocal inflections, and Damian his political and human rights spirit, Stephen has inherited the Tuff Gong's musical soul. Several of these tracks, including "Chase Dem" and the title track, you could easily have heard Bob Marley and the Wailers performing.

Stephen's music pays deep homage to the Wailers, while reflecting his generation's dancehall, reggaton, and hip-hop influences. The lead single "The Traffic Jam" with Damian Marley, has a roots vibe but dancehall overtone. "Let Her Dance" is lushly produced and lends itself to the current reggaeton craze. Personally I'd love to hear what he could do with Shakira on the remix. Also, Mos Def, Spragga Benz, Ben Harper, Mr. Cheeks, and siblings Julian and Damian all make guest appearances on this CD.

So check this out. It is a great CD to ride to or take to the beach.

Side Note: The release of Stephen Marley's album has evidently spurred his brother Damian's stellar album from last year 'Welcome to Jamrock' (brilliantly produced by Stephen) to reenter the Billboard charts.