"The whole album, Shining Hope, I wanted it to be something that people could implicate even a little part of it in their everyday lives, and something for the people to listen continuously, not something that comes and goes". -Gappy Ranks interview with Robbo Ranks on BBC1XTRA.
Gappy Ranks, one of the Uk top reggae singer released his third album, Shining Hope on September 17th.
Born and raised in Harlesden, North-West London, where he still records his tunes, Gappy rose to the charts in 2010 with the outstanding album Put TheStereo On. An ode to the reggae eras of the 70s and 80s, his debut album contained major hits like Heaven In Her Eyes and the title trackPut The Stereo On. In 2011 Gappy published his second albumThanks And Praises, and thereafter released an incredible amount of singles and combinations (among them the noteworthy "Knocking on My Door" with Christopher Ellis on the Jah Army Riddim, and also "Coulda Runaway" with Delly Ranks)- all while working with all the best producers and touring the world from Europe to Japan and to the Usa.
Now, in 2013, Gappy manages to create a great modern roots album mixing the flavours of the two previous albums and showing his growth as an artist.
The first tune and title track, Shining Hope, was produced by the Italian Macro Marco and is on the Lighthouse Riddim (which features also Million Stylez and Chevaughn). The second song, Tomorrow Loves You, immediately sets the pace for the whole album, with a positive and hopeful message. This message is even further underlined in Up Again.
With the third tune, Gappy opens the other major theme of the album: love. Hello, Still In Love, Never Enough and First Sight all treat the topic of love from different perspectives. Among these the latter one really stands out and appropriately featuring upcoming songstress Denyque, whose soft and delicate voice mixes perfectly with Gappy's to create a pop-reggae tune which wil lbe surely appreciated by the lovers.
Also featured on Shining Hope is Reddman UK, an old friend of Gappy who usually accompanies him on concerts, appearing on Nothing Comes Easy, a song that reminds us how everything in life must be earned and not taken for granted. Jamaican rising star Exco Levi guest appears on Everything Gonna Be Alright, a song which is evidently inspired by Bob Marley's Three Little Bird.
All and all the album runs smooth and great, but in my opinion two tunes particularly stick out. The first one is Back To Reality, in which the singer speaks about never forgetting his origins and his life before getting into music and being motivated to keep working hard, even more now that his name is going worldwide:
"I'm changing today for the better
Talking to the person in the mirror
'Cause from fame and money start run, it seems like you nah move clever
Whappen to the big, big tunes you use to make?
And whappen to the hungry person you used to rep?
Make mi tell you this: You better come back to reality else mi and you ah done and mi nah tek check
You try to remember why you love music
And start to remember why you start do this
[…]Back to reality, back to earth
Back to reality mi haffi do my work"
The other big big tune is Carpenter. This song closes the albumin a thunderous way. Just when the pace is going towards a soft conclusion (with Never Enough and Why?), Gappy puts out a strong roots tune (produced by Royal Order Music, who is also responsible for Selassie Souljahz by Chronixx, Sizzla, Kabaka Pyramid and Protoje) which addresses the life condition of poor people in a period of economic crisis like the one we are living in today. It explains to the kids of the ghetto that they don't need to get into crime to survive, and challenges us to change a system that is clearly not working anymore.
Shining Hope might not be at the exact same level of Put The Stereo On, but it shows how Gappy Ranks has become a complete artist, able to sing on every riddim, from dancehall to roots to hip hop, and to write lyrics both powerful and sweet. Surely the future in the music business is bright for Gappy!
Last but not least, the personal Shining Hope represented on the cover of the album: his first son, Japan, named after the 2011 earthquake that the artist experienced in person while on tour. It was this experience that surely changed him and the artist has remembered with the song I Was There.
Gappy Ranks - Shining Hope
[Hot Coffee Music/Vp Records]
01 - Shining Hope
02 - Tomorrow Loves You
03 - Hello
04 - First Sight feat. Denyque
05 - Back To Reality
06 - Nothing Comes Easy feat. Reddman UK
07 - Maybe I
08 - Sell Out
09 - Up Again
10 - Everything Gonna Be Alright feat. Exco Levi
11 - Still In Love
12 - Never Enough
13 - Why?
14 - Carpenter
Buy The Album here