PREMIERE: Jesse Royal “Always Be Around”

Ever since his 2013 mixtape debut In Comes The Small Axe, Jesse Royal’s voice rang out loud and clear as a modern day descendant of reggae’s finest. (His nickname itself is a reference to a classic single by The Wailers, on which Bob Marley cautions that even a “big tree” can be felled by “small acts” such as The Wailers.) The swinging jive talk flows of dancehall pioneers Daddy U Roy and Big Youth provided a solid sonic foundation upon which to build. Certified boomshots like “Modern Day Judas” and “Finally” effortlessly uphold Jamaican music’s mighty legacy without feeling the least bit “nostalgic.”

The Walshy Fire–produced Royally Speaking carried his sound forward with a blend of sounds that added EDM, hip hop, and island pop to the mix. His full-length album Lily of Da Valley—scheduled for a September release on Easy Star Records—brings the Palace Pikney firmly into the contemporary roots sound that established his name.

Today MASS APPEAL premieres the first single from that project, a rootsy proclamation of undying love produced by Llamar “Riff Raff” Brown, whose credits include Damian Marley, Queen Ifrica, Busy Signal, Tarrus Riley, Morgan Heritage, and Jah Cure—and who most recently helmed Raging Fyah’s Grammy-nominated album Everlasting.

“In a world where they say running is what men do,” the artist explains, “I am just shedding light on our perspective—the ones who will stick by their side and see it through. So we took our time and utilized fresh sounds and unique colors to paint this picture with Llamar Riff Raff Brown. It’s not the typical reggae song, but we live and breathe reggae, so whatever we do can’t be wrong” Hold a vibes…

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