A band that regularly occupies number 1 on the Reggae Billboard charts and has a correspondingly large number of sales and streams - but is still largely ignored by the reggae community? A band that gives well over a hundred concerts worldwide each year, but is still exposed to violent attacks, sometimes also physical violence - for example by Buju Banton, who is said to have attacked and injured band members?
This is Christafari, a conglomerate of musicians around Pastor Mark Mohr and Avion Blackman - all of them devoted Christians who spread messages with their music. This is obviously not appreciated by reggae enthusiasts, although the lyrics, including the extensive use of the word "Jah" and quotes by Haile Selassie, are almost identical to Rasta-centered lyrics by other, generally recognized artists. No dreadlocks or perfect patois, which Mark Mohr has acquired in his long work as a missionary in Jamaica, help. Anyone who, like him, is critical of Rastafari, does not understand Haile Selassie as a deity but as an ordinary Christian and also rejects drugs of any kind, has a hard time in the community.
As expected, the abstinence is not noticeable musically - Christafari are accomplished musicians who mainly work in the classic roots reggae genre, but also well versed in dancehall - including the popular recycling of well-known riddims. The impressive back catalog proves the regular release of new albums, all recorded in the band's own studio and published on the associated “Lion of Zion” label. The fact that you can work on the sound without any time pressure is unmistakable: the arrangements are sophisticated, the mix and mastering are flawless. However, this technical production advantage also harbors a risk: Too much of a good thing can have a negative effect, dilutes the musical essence and tires the listener's ears.
Christafari's Dub Albums that complete the vocal releases are far from this danger; "Dub Supreme“(Lion of Zion Entertainment) is no exception here. As a roots-oriented Dub-Companion for the albums “99.4.1 (Reckless Love)” and “Original Love” presents versions that are cautious for Christafari standards and use the often exuberant vocals as well-dosed ethereal fragments of sound. Even the classic one Dub-Mix and the mastering are of the best quality - and yet: If the production weren't quite so flawless and pure, if there were a little more corners and edges and if the smooth surface had been treated with a little bit of dirt ... then there would be Nothing in the way of a first-class evaluation. As it is, it remains a good album that shows its strengths best when you listen to it loudly and with a good punch.