Listen Up: Wednesday, April 3, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Ziggy Marley

Dragonfly (Private Music)

By Anthony Mariani

Bob Marley served as an intro to multiculturalism for young, moneyed crackers who appear to be led through life by sentient, happy-hour-dowsing Gap caps. His son Ziggy was then faced with two choices: Either become a peace-love-and-understanding black hippie or a gangsta rapper, churning out even more radical-black product than his father ever dreamed of, than college radio’s built to handle. It’s doubtful that any padded frat bro would have the self-esteem between interning at the real estate office and (later) whacking friends in the ass with lumber to admit to liking Erykah Badu, let alone to owning one of the artist’s few not-bad albums. Our Republican youth needs Africanized shit — N.W.A., Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine, Bob Marley! You know, stuff that validates striving whitey’s unique place in black America’s crosshairs and, ultimately, his place in the universe. Who you think paid for Eazy-E’s limitless supply of black Starter jackets? The South Bronx?!? Try the Upper East Side.

Quiet-Storm rock or black CNN rap: This is what’s always been in front of the Zigster. On Dragonfly, Ziggy’s first record without backing band the Melody Makers, the middle-aged Z-man dances on one foot through his Top-40 past and lands in Maturityville. He’s no friend of the freak(-azoids) and Greeks. The drumbeats aren’t reggae’s swapping of snare beats for bass tones and vice-versa — they’re straightforward, often rockish, sometimes Afro-beat-like. Guitars twinkle and flitter in the sunlight. They’re in front of you one moment, then tickling your neck from behind the next, always speaking in the percussive tongue of island life, loitering for a falsetto line or hip-hop utterance to pin them to the wall of sound all around. Your supplemental enjoyment options include firing one up or raising the roof. Or both.


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