The quintessential Jamaican singer / songwriter, Tanya Stephens is equally adept at blazing the latest dancehall riddims as she is at blessing an acoustic guitar-driven ballad with lyrics that are insightful, relevant, comical, and often scathing……life and love observed with the honest eyes of a child, yet processed and returned to her audience with uncommon maturity and melody. On “Rebelution,” Tanya Stephens once again displays her wit and musical sensibilities
Tanya has scored international hits in the past with the classics “Goggle” and “You Nuh Ready Yet,”….songs still guaranteed to move the crowd in any setting. Her last album “Gangsta Blues” yielded the one-drop anthem “It’s A Pity,” on the Doctors Darling riddim (a remix of Gregory Isaac’s smash Night Nurse). The song was clearly one of the biggest tunes of 2004, and arguably Tanya’s career, and introduced the rest of the world to Tanya Stephens, the single found its way onto commercial radio and eventually video outlets like MTV Jams. The success of that single, followed by the critical acclaim from numerous media outlets (including the NY Times, Village Voice, Source, and Vibe Magazine) helped propel Tanya to the forefront of Jamaican music, and is the reason that nearly 2 years after it’s release, “Gangsta Blues” remains on the Billboard Reggae chart.
On the 1st single “These Streets,” an airy acoustic guitar track, Tanya pleads with her thug-love to realize that “these streets don’t love you like I do.” Paying respect to the masters, Tanya borrows some rhythmic ideas on songs like “Dirty Thoughts,” where listeners will instantly recognize Bob Marley’s “Mr. Brown” riddim, and “To the Limit,” which draws on a classic Burning Spear riddim. The song currently burning up the radio in Jamaica “Rescue,” produced by Irie FM’s Big A, is a reworking of Bunny Wailer‘s “Ballroom Floor” Riddim. On this, her 4th LP, Tanya is poised to reach even greater international acclaim and finally be recognized by the masses as one of the great talents to emerge from Jamaica. “Rebelution” features the musings of a songbird who is vulnerable enough to feel the pain, but tough enough to live through it.
With a militant swagger, “Rebelution” is an edgy narrative of a street smart guerilla poet who continues to break the stereotype of what a female Jamaican artist should sound like. Smart and sexy, jagged and cunning, the lyrics flow out of the speakers and attack the unfortunate victims of her sharp tongue. This is not a passive listener’s record, nor is it a record for the weak hearted. It screams and bites in the gentlest way possible, with back handed compliments and sometimes less-than-reaffirming opinions. Armed with a fervent voice and classy demeanor Tanya tells her truth the way she sees it, uncompromising and uncensored. The evolution from the love scorned “Gangsta Blues” is apparent, but does not stray from the autobiographical, if anything “Rebelution” is the next chapter in her story. Already a cult hero in her native Jamaica, this album has Tanya Stephens crying from the hills and streets of Kingston… “Viva La Rebelution!”