A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Stephen Marley is one Bob Marley's 13 children -- and arguably the most broadly talented musically. For most of his more than two decades in the music business, Stephen Marley has been the man behind the scenes, writing and producing for several of his brothers as well as big-name artists like Erykah Badu. This is Marley's first official move into the spotlight, and he does his family name proud. Not surprisingly, there are several references to pot, but besides that, the subject matter stays pretty tame.
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What's the story?
The daunting shadow of Stephen Marley's father might partially explain the fact that, although he's got loads of talent, this reggae artist is just now releasing his first solo album, MIND CONTROL, after more than two decades in the music business. Stephen Marley was a member of older brother Ziggy's Melody Makers band in the '80s, and has spent most of his career writing and producing for his brothers and a host of others. He's collaborated with the likes of The Roots, Erykah Badu, and the Fugees, and he produced the acclaimed 1999 Bob Marley tribute/mashup album, Chant Down Babylon. The songs lean toward the soulful side of reggae, but more than any of his brothers, Stephen recalls his father's voice and singing style.
Is it any good?
Mind Control is a soulful, modern reggae album on which the songs generally fall into three categories. On tracks like "Mind Control" and "Chase Dem," we get bouncy protest music in the vein of Marley's father -- anti-establishment, but not in an overtly antagonistic way. Songs like "Iron Bars" (featuring Julian Marley, Mr. Cheeks, and Spragga Benz) and "The Traffic Jam" (featuring a lively beatbox and some fantastic vocal work from Damian) take on the police and drug laws. Marley also spends plenty of time talking about love and life, as in "Hey Baby" (featuring Mos Def). With a solid debut album years in the making, Stephen Marley has done his father proud.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Marley family -- one of the most influential families in the history of music -- from Bob to Ziggy to Stephen and Damian. How do you think it would be to follow in the footsteps of your parent? Is there more pressure when a child decides to pursue the passion of a parent? How can parents resist pushing their own interests and pursuits onto their kids?