The Process Meets Ghetto Priest | The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed

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The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed

by The Process Meets Ghetto Priest

Detroit's THE PROCESS and London's Ghetto Priest pay Tribute to Emperor Haile Selassie I, with guests, Little Axe, David Harrow, Adrian Sherwood and Ras Congo Natty aka Rebel MC.
Genre: Reggae: Dub
Release Date: 

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1. The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed
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5:12 album only
2. Little Axe (Chilled Mix)
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5:10 album only
3. Adrian Sherwood Mix (feat. Congo Natty)
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4:34 album only
4. Congo Natty (Well Toasted Mix)
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4:35 album only
5. Adrian Sherwood Dub Mix
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4:35 album only
6. David Harrow Mix
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5:19 album only
7. Ghetto Life Ghetto Priest (Bonus Track)
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4:45 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
THE PROCESS and GHETTO PRIEST, RELEASE “THE LION OF JUDAH HATH PREVAILED”
A New seven track EP from Detroit’s premier Reggae Rock band and London's Sublime and Enigmatic Vocalist GHETTO PRIEST.

It was three years ago, on a January morning, when the seeds of “The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed” were sown.
In London, Ghetto Priest, always one to embrace and explore new collaborative possibilities, approached THE PROCESS vocalist and writer David Asher, with an idea to work together.
Considering the exciting proposition, Asher sent Ghetto Priest a video link to "The Footsteps of The Emperor,” a British film about Ethiopian Emperor Halie Selassie, “The Lion of Judah,” who, in the 1930s, was exiled to England, where he escaped the forces of fascist Italy who had occupied his country.
Inspired by Selassie’s story, Ghetto Priest emailed his “Lion of Judah” vision to Asher. Ghetto Priest saw "The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed" as a musical tribute to The Ethiopian Emperor’s courage and unwavering faith that God’s spirit would always prevail over the forces of evil.
Less than two weeks later, Asher received a first “THE LION OF JUDAH” mix from Ghetto Priest, who was inviting Asher to add his own verses to the composition.
With the help of PROCESS bandmates, Garrick Owen, Bill Hefflefinger, Gabe Gonzalez and Seth Payton, Asher and the band made a series of demo tracks with Asher singing all the vocal parts.
Now, with a number of assembled tracks in hand, the group recruited Billboard Charting Producer Gee Pierce to cut a first full version of “THE LION OF JUDAH,” which was immediately sent back to London for Ghetto Priest’s review.
Joining Ghetto Priest in the ON-U SOUND studio, were guitarist/vocalist SKIP "LITTLE AXE" MCDONALD (formerly of the Original Sugar Hill Records house band) and MIKKI SOUND, who arranged and sang backing vocals.
Pleased with the song’s continued evolution, McDonald asked to do the next re-mix himself, re-cutting all the instruments, and adding his inventive interpretation to the song.
Reconvening in Flint Michigan, with Platinum Producer Bernard Terry, and the London sessions vocals, THE PROCESS then mixed it's version of the track.
At the same time celebrated British electronic music producer DAVID HARROW, now based in Los Angeles, remixed a wicked “Dub-step” version of “Lion” for inclusion on the release.
The final pieces of “THE LION OF JUDAH” puzzle came together when Dub producer ADRIAN SHERWOOD brought in bassist GEORGE OBAN, and Junglest CONGO NATTY (A.K.A. REBEL MC) and mixed three alternative “THE LION OF JUDAH” tracks.
Using elements of both THE PROCESS, LITTLE AXE, and CONGO NATTY, SHERWOOD brought another creative perspective to “THE LION OF JUDAH” party, resulting in a Vocal Mix, a Congo Natty “Toast,” and a Trippy-Dub version of the tune.
The EP (extended play) also contains a bonus track, "Ghetto Life" from Ghetto Priest's forthcoming "Sacred Ground", his full-length album produced by Adrian Sherwood for On-U SOUND.
So now, let us present: The Process meets Ghetto Priest, Featuring Skip “Little Axe” McDonald, Adrian Sherwood, David Harrow, and Congo Natty ... A statement to all who hear, friend or foe, that Emperor Haile Selassie I Hath Prevailed.
-Dave Hogarty


Reviews


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Dr. StrangeDub

Dr. StrangeDub's Review of The Process Meets Ghetto Priest
"A sublimely powerful masterpiece.....that comes in six different flavors -- each with its own point of emphasis. No one sings more powerfully about Ras Tafari than The Process' David Asher, and this is complemented so well by the subtle, rootical vocals of Ghetto Priest, and the tasty toasting of Congo Natty. Quite a trans-Atlantic collaboration on an idea that took root and grew in many directions."

Dr. StrangeDub has been a DJ at KFAI-FM since 1996. The good Doctor is the host of the Echo Chamber -- which pounds and soothes the brain with the heaviest dubs, the most conscious roots, and funkiest club beats on the planet. Join Dr. StrangeDub & co-host DJ Baby Swiss in the Echo Chamber.

Dr. StrangeDub
http://www.kfai.org/echochamber
http://www.myspace.com/doctorstrangedub

Review Magazine, Robert "Bo" White

The Process Release a New CD of Power and Beauty
I’ve always liked The Process and the incredible full body blast sound that heats you up like a nuclear meltdown whenever you catch them live, or through recordings. The Process has never strayed too far from their unique vision of reggae music and their molten embrace of social consciousness and spirituality. They have a tenacious grasp on a perspective that music can be more than just another silly diversion.

This is all good and true but our airways and information highways are clogged with the stuff that keeps the public isolated, uninformed, and preoccupied with meaningless spectacles such as sports, instant celebrity, and mass-produced disposable culture.
It seems that the more we are plugged in, the more we are tuned out. So unplug your X-Box, I-Pod, DirectTV and Notebook and listen to the real thing. The Process creates astonishingly complex and beautiful music in layers of sounds and rhythms with a voice that speaks an uncompromising truth.
This is the thinking man’s soul music - warm, passionate and political. Even if you don’t ascribe to Rasta principles and practices or the deification of Haile Selassie, you will still be able to dig the music. If you are Rasta, well. You are there.

The Lion of Judah CD is a seven track gem that was three years in the making. It was a painstaking labor of love featuring an international cast of characters including Ghetto Priest aka Squids from London’s eclectic music scene, Skip McDonald from Sugarhill Records house band, seminal techno wizard David Harrow, Adrian Sherwood from the UK Reggae scene, Congo Natty aka Rebel MC and, of course, the members of The Process including Seth Peyton.
The CD was recorded in London, Los Angeles, and Michigan. It was worth the wait. This is one of the most thematically rich and concise bodies of music to emerge since Good Morning Magpie by Murder by Death or John Mellencamp’s No Better Than This. The Process are motor city metal madmen that will take it to you like a full body slam and then pick you up, dust you off and punch you in the face - musically speaking. You may not realize what just happened, but you will beg for more even though your face is bloody and your body is bruised and aching. This is a modern spiritual music. Listen to the gospel.
The music and lyrics are inspired by the story of Haile Selassie’s life and his belief that God’s spirit would prevail over the forces of evil. This is heavy karma in the day and age of never ending war. In Rasta culture, the Lion of Judah represents Emperor Haile Salassie of Ethiopia. Rastafarians hold that Selassie is a direct descendant of the Israelite Tribe of Judah through the lineage of King David and Solomon and that he is the Lion of Judah mentioned in the Book of Revelation. (Revelations 5:5).
The EP contains all of the original mixes of The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed – Little Axe Mix, Adrian Sherwood mix, Congo Natty’s well toasted mix, Adrian Sherwood’s Mix plus a bonus Dub-Step version by David Harrow. There is a bonus track entitled Ghetto Life by Ghetto Priest from his upcoming CD Sacred Ground.
The Music:
The disc opens with the original mix of The Lion of Judah Hath Prevailed with David Asher and Ghetto Priest switching off on vocals. The sound is pristine with just enough echo and the vocals mixed up front. There is a solid interplay of instruments with the rhythm section, bass and percussion mixed back and echoed guitar.
Version two is a Chilled Mix worked out by Little Axe. This mix has a softer sound with an emphasis on mixing the sweet harmonies up front in the mix. The drum machine is less effective but never interferes with the message or overall sound. Skip McDonald’s guitar work is splendidly understated. He riffs in an economical melodic style that gives this mix emotional grit.
Adrian Sherwood is the featured producer on the next three mixes. This one features Congo Natty on vocals with Asher. The rhythm section is used to greater effect on this mix. Drum/percussion and Bass lines are more prominent. Natty has a raspy rapping style that drives the power of the message.
Sherwood’s “Toasted” mix brings Congo Natty back in a free-form rap of the Rasta gospel and praise His name. This is the only version that strays from the original lyrics written S.G. Townsend, David Asher and Garrick Owen. There is more of an electronic/synthesized vibe to this mix. It sounds great and Congo Natty’s inspired vocals elevate this version to an almost perfect mix. Sherwood’s final effort, “The Dub” mix - is primarily an instrumental workout that experiments with empty spaces, echo, electronica and synthesized surges of sound and fury
David Harrow mixed the sixth and final version of the Lion of Judah. It is slowed down and has abrupt stops and starts with some wah wah guitar mixed with synthesized squibbles, blurts and conga beats. At times the vocals are accapella and echoed giving this version a minimalist edge
Bonus Track: Ghetto Life by Ghetto Priest from the forthcoming Ghetto Priest CD “Sacred Ground”
Ghetto Life has a sparse arrangement to an unobtrusive reggae beat with occasional electronic doodlings. The musical backdrop includes a somber keyboard riff that weaves in and out of the mix. The vibe is laid back but the lyrics tell a tale about the horror of poverty, violence and exploitation. The contrast is powerful. Ghetto Priest sings in a distinctive tenor that is reminiscent of Sting during the heady days of The Police. A masterful performance!
The Lyrics
It is essential to the overall experience of the CD to know the words that support the music. The lyrics are repeated in each of the six mixes with some degree of variation

The Lion Of Judah Hath Prevailed
Standing like patience on a monument, smiling at grief
Blood sweat and tears for the sake of peace
He sits upon the highest regions, overlooking all
the harder they came is the harder they fall
When I see the lightning and I hear the thunder
I know man and woman have made a blunder
Jah makes the winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers
At his word the mountains rose and the valleys sank down
The Lion Of Judah hath prevailed

Ed Hanley

Lion of Judah Review – Track by Track
Track 1 – SO clean and loud sounding, clear vocal, interesting bass sound and beautiful production – great song about traditional Rastafarian values and beliefs. Awesome background vocals and instrumentation, continually evolving soundscapes and a beautiful guitar solo.

Track 2 – Tranced out, wasted mix, like a mushroom trip – surreal treatment Hendrix-y flanging but not overdone - Dave’s vocal blend seamlessly with the talented Skip and Mikki. Another amazing guitar solo, a little roomier and jammy. Silky smooth production!

Track 3 – More traditional reggae sound – old school and beautiful w/ an outer space twist. This is an intensification of the diversity - experimentation on the musical level. The guest vocal is creative and tastefully done.

Track 4 – Sung out excellent vocal and backing vocals even more smooth, if that is possible. Very jammed out and in the moment. The story of Halie Selassie, the “Lion of Judah” on a religious journey from Ethiopia.

Track 5 – Mellower, smoky room sounds. Beautiful key sounds.

Track 6 – Hectic and warped! A total reinvention of the beat. It is an incredible deconstruction and scramble.

Track 7 – “Ghetto Life”/Ghetto Priest: This guy knows the ghetto. Totally real song, beautiful and sad – like the ghetto. A prayer about what is , true – Cool drums and keys – Flinttown tells a message!

Michigan Bands, Mitch Philliips

The Lion Of Judah Hath Prevailed; The Process Meet Ghetto Priest
Hail The King Of Kings, Praise His Name -


It occurred to me on first-listen to the title track of "The Lion Of Judah Hath Prevailed; The Process Meets Ghetto Priest" that reggae music, particularly the Rastafarian variety, may have more in common with God-fearin, Jesus-luvin' Christians than it does with dope-smoking, dread-headed stoners. Of course, The Process are neither, but 'Judah does give a nod to bible-inspired traditions of Judaism and Christianity.

The lyrics of the title track are replete with references to "Jah" (Jaweh or God), "Babylon" (that bustling land of confusion - you're soaking in it) and "Zion" (generally, any "promised land"). Even the title itself is lifted directly from the book of Revelations:

Revelations(5:5) 'and one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.'

In this case, however, 'The Lion of Judah' refers not to the biblical son of Jacob or to Jesus, but to the Orthodox Christian Emperor of Ethiopia who appears on the cover; Halie Selassie I (i.e. Ras Tafari Makonnen), who ruled from 1930 to 1974.

Selassie is recognized as the returning biblical messiah to certain mansions of the Rastafari tradition who purported his divinity when news of his coronation and official titles (i.e. "Conquering Lion Of The Tribe Of Judah", "King Of Kings" and "Elect Of God") reached Jamaica. By tradition, Selassie was the 224th Ethiopian emperor in an unbroken line of succession dating back to King Solomon and The Queen of Sheba - and, at the time, the only black independent monarch in a heavily-colonized Africa.

Selassie appears in the sepia-toned cover photo of the CD in full military regalia, complete with a safari-style helmet and an officer's cape befitting nobility. He stands triumphantly with one foot perched upon his latest "trophy"; presumably a cache of chemical weapons used against his people by Mussolini's Fascists who invaded Ethiopia in 1935. Selassie's triumph must have been short-lived, however, as he was forced into temporary exile shortly thereafter.

In 1936, the deposed emperor addressed The League Of Nations, pleading for help and moral sanity from the body and to make good on its commitment to collective security and help defend his people. Although considered to be one of the greatest speeches of the era, it resulted in only 'partial and ineffective sanctions' against the Italians.

His words did, however, earn him another title: Time Magazine's "Man Of The Year". But more importantly, it lay bare the moral hypocrisy of The League Of Nations (and, I'd argue, the U.N. to this very day) and it's members who were clearly motivated only by self-interest.

"God and history will remember your judgement," Selassie declared in his speech.

Those words would prove to be prophetic, particularly in regard to the decades of Rasta-centric roots reggae that would follow, propagating Selassie's pastimes with religious zeal to an infectious, skanky rhythm that would capture the imagination of the world.

God, History, Conscience

"The Lion Of Judah Hat Prevailed" is a worthy musical testament to Halie Selassie. Ghetto Priest sings that narrative with reverent humility ;

"1892 a child is born, in a ancient land called / Ehtiopia, in the province of Harar / Lij Tafari he is named, a divine personality / Crowned the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, ....By His name RastafarI"

The lyrics continue in the best tradition of socially conscious roots-reggae, proving The Process, if not intergovernmental organizations, have remained loyal to their stated mission since 1992, '...to fight ignorance, apathy and social retardation' - albeit against overwhelming odds (see American politics and television). If only our leaders were so steadfast and determined.
Asher points a finger with the lyric:

"The rich fall into temptation and foolish hurtful lust / Greed envy and craving for power, drowns men in destruction / Propaganda is only a tool, just a tool of the foolish / Take heed, and beware of jealousy / life is not in the abundance of possessions..."

But equal to the history and the social conscience of this track is the praise, which ascribes all the mystical qualities befitting a divine entity to Selassie. It's here I find similarities to Christian pop & rock, where exaltations are heaped-on in biblical proportions. Ghetto Priest sings:

"Standing like patience on a monument, smiling at grief
Blood sweat and tears for the sake of peace
He sits upon the highest regions, overlooking all
the harder they came is the harder they fall"

Asher sounds like a shaman with an attitude over a skanky, staccato clav:

"When I see the lightning and I hear the thunder
I know man and woman have made a blunder
Jah makes the winds His messengers, flaming fire His ministers
At his word the mountains rose and the valleys sank down"

Finally, the chorus marches you on to the summit with an urgent proclamation:

The Lion Of Judah hath prevailed!
Hail The King Of Kings praise His Name (praise His Name)
The Lion Of Judah hath prevailed!
The footsteps of His Majesty is not in Vain (not in Vain)

Spirituality, history, social justice - not exactly the kind of subject matter you'd expect from a group of folks who are so often depicted as dope-smoking, dread-headed slackers by pop-culture media. In light of that, I suppose I'll have to reconsider my pre-conceptions about Christian rock and pop music. Some other time, maybe.


Three For Five From Two

"The Lion Of Judah..." follows The Process' 2006 release, "Weapons Of Mass Percussion" which really only included two new songs ("Rasta Soldier" and the percussive instrumental "Weapons Of Mass Percussion Pt.2") and a litany of dub mixes and re-mixes that relied heavily on previously released material. Like it's predecessor, 'Judah', unfortunately, is light on new songs.

This record includes no less than five re-mixes of the title track, which were created over a three-year span by a host of artists and producers in Saginaw, Flint, London and LA. Exactly who needs five mixes of the same song is a question probably better left to DJ culture than to me.

In any case, there's a flavor for every palate; a "Chilled Mix" with American bluesman Little Axe (aka Skip McDonald, aka Bernard Alexandar), a "Well Toasted Mix" featuring London jungle producer and toaster Congo Natty (aka Conquering Lion, Rebel MC, Blackstar, Tribe Of Issachar, X Project, Ras Project), two versions by London dub producer Adrian Sherwood (one featuring Congo Natty and one pure Dub) and finally a mix by the restless and elusive David Harrow (he's recorded dozens of top artists in as many genres and pseudonyms).

On second thought, if you have the opportunity to work with this calibre of producers and performers, why wouldn't you release five versions of your new song? Hedge your bet. While "The Lion Of Judah Hath Prevailed; The Process Meet Ghetto Priest" may be light on the scale, don't complain 'cause you're getting the good shit here.


Everything Is Different In The Ghetto

The seventh and final "bonus" track is "Ghetto Life", a sneak-peek release from Ghetto Priest's forthcoming record, "Sacred Ground" (On-U Sound Records 2011). Ghetto Priest (aka S.G. Townsend) co-wrote and co-sings on the title track and appears in Harrow's mix as well. If "Ghetto Life" is a fair representation of the Priest's work, you'll want to catch the full-length when it drops sometime later this year.



Track By Track

1. The Lion Of Judah Hath Prevailed - The vocals of Ghetto Priest fall like rain over the keyboard motif while David Asher roars on like the thunder to a skanky, percussive clavinet, then builds to the triumphant declaration of the chorus. The synth-stab programming of Bill Hefflefinger and the heavily-affected guitar wanderings of Garrick Owen ride on the bedrock rhythm provided by Gabe Gonzalas and Seth Payton. Unmistakably, the sound of The Process.




2. Little Axe "Chilled Mix" - Like it's name implies, this version dials it back a bit, dumping the synth-stabs and adding shuffling, brushed drum sound to the mix. The keyboard motif is replaced in the chorus with a squelchy fuzzed-wah guitar and a lead is tagged onto at the end ala Carlos Santana.




3. Adrian Sherwood Mix Featuring "Congo Natty" - Timbales take over for the drum kit. In addition to the original vocals, Congo Natty is added in the mix, "toasting" (kind of a mono-melodic vocal riffing) lightly over the verses which have been rearranged chronologically, beginning with Selassie's birth. The squelchy-fuzz-wah guitar from the Little Axe version is still present, as is the heavily-affected guitar of Bill Hefflefinger and Garrick Owen. Delay and echo are added selectively to the back-up vocals.

4. Congo Natty "Well Toasted" Mix - Here 'Natty riffs to his heart's content - I imagine a Rasta soldier tromping through the brush, Armalite slung over his shoulder, muttering whatever verse comes to mind to stave-off boredom and bolster his faith along the way. You'd think he was born there until he lets-on with a thick British accent for half a line, "I come from-a London where we cannot be tamed-a." Sherwood mixes the timbales a bit wetter, as well as the back-ups vocals which seem to echo out into the darkness.




5. Adrian Sherwood Dub Mix - Here things take a turn for the trippy. The verses are stripped from the mix, leaving only heavily affected back-up vocals and Asher's chorus. Emphasis is given to the guitars and some freaky spaced-out synth pads.

6. David Harrow Mix - Like the dub mix, emphasis here is given to syth pads with the addition of a bass-heavy patch and sheer echo effects which add some breadth and headroom. The chorus is given the (a'hem) lion's share of space, repeating again and again - even when the music has dropped off completely.

7. Ghetto Life by Ghetto Priest - A battery of timbales takes you directly to the chorus: "Everything is different in the ghetto," Priest sings to a grave and plodding tempo. The verses illustrate that fact in a variety of ways, but one line sums it up: "What's good is bad / what's bad is worse / living with this ghetto curse." A lonely melodica riff elicits the visage of some forgotten street that leads to nowhere, emphasizing the soul-sucking desolation of his surroundings. 'Priest gets inside his lyric, sounding dejected by his surroundings, until desperation takes over and his voice rises high and clear above the "ghetto stream" where, perhaps, hope might be found. Strategically-placed vocal samples and synth pads add contrast. A delay-enhanced polyrhythmic high-hat keeps the whole thing moving along very nicely.







Links

The Process on michiganbands.com: http://www.michiganbands.com/modules.php?name=Search

The Process on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theprocess

The Process on Blogspot: http://www.theprocessonline.blogspot.com/

The Process on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/theprocessmusic

The Process' Official Site: http://www.theprocessonline.com/