Press Reviews of Five Steez

Your first impression of These Kingston Times is likely to be that Five Steez is the second coming of a young Nas and it’s hard not to think of Illmatic while listening to the EP. The burgeoning Jamaican rapper even acknowledges his likeness to the hip hop legend on the track “Night Streets”. The similarity is not a pastiche however; you never get the impression that he’s imitating anyone. His style of rap is very old school and his flow is pure poetry but there is also a modern element to his sound. In fact, a hybrid of Nas and current rap phenom Bishop Nehru with an added Jamaican edge is probably a more vivid description of the rapper’s music. Despite these comparisons, Five Steez is about as authentic as you can get in today’s rapidly expanding music industry where nothing is completely original. Indie rappers are a dime a dozen - indie anything seems to be the current trend - but Five Steez manages to stand out without the gimmicks or flamboyance that many come to expect from modern musicians. - Jordan Delahaye, JamaicansMusic.com

War for Peace is the 2012 debut album from Kingston, Jamaica’s underground emcee Five Steez. Three years in the making, his long-player opens strong with 'Propheticz'. He and fellow Jamaican emcee Inztinkz kick out call-and-response rhymes before Five Steez takes the mic on 'Rebel Music', a standout jam built on soulful production and poignant phrasing; it yearns for peace and social justice in a time of deep struggle. Since hip-hop's a rare commodity in Five Steez's hometown, it’s only natural for hints of reggae to pepper some of the tracks on War for Peace. But he also mixes in old-school soul ('Slaving on the Plantation'), jazz ('Yard N***a Rap'), dub ('Crown Me King'), jazz ('Black Beauty'), blues ('I Am (feat. Kabaka Pyramid)'), and dancehall ('Blazing'). Five Steez’s debut LP is also strengthened by a grip of featured guests. Tara Harrison’s honeyed voice melts all over the hard-grooving closer, “Shining.” Nomad Carlos kicks down a quirky, stuttered rhyming style that recalls Posdnuos of De La Soul’s similarly stammered approach on 1991’s 'Oodles of O's'. - iTunes

Across thirteen tracks and an array of production styles, Jamaican artist Five Steez delivers on his most cohesive project to date, ‘War for Peace’. Conscientious hip-hop from the heart of Jamaica, the album depicts a homeland wrought with dilemma and conflict, but an MC eager to examine with relentless energy. Often through storytelling and sometimes woven within choruses, Five Steez gives us music both soulful and poignant. With style and approach reminiscent of cult-favorite and former Def Jukie, Mr. Lif, Five Steez’s commitment to artistry and integrity in hip-hop exhibits his greatest strength, both personally and lyrically... Whether crooning on tracks like “Black Beauty” or swaggering over boom-bap production on “Shining”, Five Steez finds balance between context and content in this stellar debut. - Adam Itkoff, Nomadic Wax

Jamaican MC Five Steez is an artist who, given enough exposure, could well become what folks would call a “rappers’ rapper.” Blessed with lyrical prowess and accompanied by minimalist, 90′s-era boom-bap, Five Steez reminds me of a lost tradition in hip-hop: straight-up-rhyming. - Nico Simino, Okayplayer.com

Staying true to his beliefs, here comes his debut album, War for Peace. It's not just another socially conscious rant packaged as a rap compilation, but it serves as a manifesto, a philosophy that runs throughout the album, even when the material turns far more personal. A prime example is Untold Stories. It details the fight for women to remain 'human' in a world dedicated to stripping away their individual humanity. You don't have to delve this far into War for Peace to enjoy it, but it's deep enough to dive all the way in if you're so inclined, and that's the beauty of the album. Each single stands so uniquely apart from the next yet, together, the musical journey has no speed bumps. - Biko Kennedy, The Gleaner's Youthlink

Luckily, there are albums such as 'War for Peace' which can take up the mantle as being considered message music for this new age. Five Steez, with the help of many of his friends, has crafted an introspective set with gems such as 'Yard Nigga Rap', 'I Am' featuring Kabaka Pyramid, and the deeply personal and inspirational, 'Slaving on the Plantation', illustrating not only the artiste's knowledge but his ability to convey that knowledge into lyrics. 'War for Peace' is a great collection of thoughts and should have the listener questioning life and their place in it. - AL, Backayard Magazine

The traditional path to music notoriety is both transparent and well-documented in Jamaica: create an easy-to-package reggae sound and sell it to a major record label. While many artistes attempt to ride this predictable path to riches and fame, there are still aspiring artistes that are committed to taking alternative routes to music distinction. In regards to differentiation, 'Yard Nigga Rap' proponent Five Steez has to be considered one of the ringleaders of this new order, embracing the world of hip-hop and bucking the trend of his indigenous reggae counterparts. - AL, Backayard Magazine

As a rapper, Five Steez's distinguishing trait is his ability to embody a multiplicity of personalities in his songs and performances, alternately coming off as technical, poetic, intimidating or amusing. His lyrical flow is both relentlessly hostile and astonishingly imaginative, making him a standout candidate destined to propel the Jamaican hip hop scene to new heights. Love him or not, it doesn't seem as though Steez will let up any time soon before making his name a global phenomenon. - Biko Kennedy, The Gleaner's YouthLink 

As Jamaica's ace hip-hop artiste, his vocals ignite the passion to listen, his lyrics dissect issues with simplicity and his message flies beyond the scope of his slim-built frame. - Sheena Gayle, Jamaica Gleaner

One of the headliners for the night, Five Steez, followed and his songs, Rebel Music, I Am and Slaving on the Plantation, were well received by the crowd. The last of those songs from Five Steez, who is known in local rap circles as the five-point star, received the greatest feedback. The song is a quasi-autobiography about working a nine-to-five job. Five Steez asked what was the point "of my college education, if I'm here and the knowledge getting wasted". - Mark Beckford, Jamaica Gleaner

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