New Marley compilation #1 on U.S., Billboard Chart
Ghetto Youths International - the independent record label owned and operated by Bob Marley's sons Damian, Julian, and Stephen - landed the No.1 position on the US Billboard Reggae Album chart in its debut release week for their brand-new compilation, Ghetto Youths International Presents Set Up Shop Volume 2 (out December 23, 2014). The 15-track set follows Volume 1, which was released in February 2013 and also peaked at No.1 on US Billboard Reggae Album chart.
The latest installment is produced primarily by the Grammy-winning brothers Stephen and Damian Marley. The album features new material from the entire Ghetto Youths roster, including Jo Mersa, Black-Am-I, Christopher Ellis, Wayne Marshall, and the label's founders, along with dancehall artiste Cham and other featured artists. Billboard exclusively streams the album.
For the compilation's lead single, Is It Worth It? (Gunman World), Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley teams up with with Francesco Carrozzini and Nabil Elderkin - the world-renowned director for the likes of Skrillex, FKA Twigs, Kanye West, Nicki Minaj, Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, Seal, and more - to create a short-film music video featuring actor Saai Taghmaoui (American Hustle, La Haine, and Three Kings), who takes on the role of a hitman-for-hire in the streets of Morocco.
In addition to Is It Worth It? (Gunman World), Ghetto Youths International Presents Set Up Shop Volume 2 features a variety of thought-provoking material. Damian's motivational opener, Hard Work, is lauded as "a pulsing blueprint for flipping funds", according to The FADER, while Yahoo Music raves that "powerful tribal energy shines through the melodic harmonies, handclaps, ukulele strumming and message", on his collaborative effort, The Living Breed featuring Black-Am-I, Jo Mersa, Illestr8, and Biggz General. The latter rallies for social change, boasting a powerful hook stating, "We are the last of a dying breed and the first of a new generation who refuses to die in need and want of compensation." Dancehall's multi-faceted singjay, Wayne Marshall, talks about life choices On The Corner (inspired by REM's Losing My Religion) and proclaims to Nah Give Up on his single featuring Tarrus Riley. Carrying a similar sentiment, Julian Marley, alongside Junior Reid, gives encouragement to push forward when times are tough on the uplifting anthem Never Too Ruff, while the culturally driven singer Black-Am-I contemplates the beauty and struggle of life back home on the single In The Ghetto.
Christopher Ellis, the son of Jamaican music icon Alton Ellis, "takes classic rocksteady/first-wave reggae and gives it a new look," (Vice Noisey) on Roller Coaster, and gives a fresh take on Better Than Love, with the remix featuring Irie Love. Jo Mersa (Stephen Marley's eldest son, and grandson of Bob Marley) represents a new generation, too, with his contemporary sound that blends dancehall, pop, and EDM, evident on Sunshine and the hypnotic Rock and Swing.
The set also features dancehall artiste Cham, showing how he rolls on Sh@t, and Stephen 'Ragga' Marley's hard-hitting anthem Bongo Nyah, with Damian and Spragga Benz. Then, Stephen and Damian team up again on the mesmerising track Strike Hard.