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Mind Control 

Stephen Marley

Universal; Release Date: March 20, 2007

The Deal: Afrobeat-flavored, hip-hop teased roots reggae.

The Good: Bob Marley's second son has kept a low profile over the years, opting to work more on the production end. Mind Control is Stephen Marley's much-delayed solo debut and opens with the horns-fueled title track and 10 others where he transforms his production and writing chops into a cohesive album of deep roots reggae. The flamenco-flavored "Let Her Dance" is not out of place with the hip-hop skewed "Hey Baby," featuring Mos Def. Ben Harper guests on Stephen's nod to old-school soul on the warm "Juna Di Red." All songs are originals except the island-flavored cover of the R&B classic "Lonely Avenue." Younger brother Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley fires up the mics on the dancehall single "Traffic Jam."

The Bad: Any recording by the Marley clan faces judgment against the monster legacy of dad Bob Marley's work.

The Verdict: Stephen Marley carries the swiftly torch and forges a few trails of his own.

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