1. The 8 Year Affair
With an acoustic guitar and a calming flute setting the backdrop of the track, the album opens with similarities to its predecessors, 7 Year Itch, with Protoje making it clear of his journey from his debut album to this, his sophomore album, and sets the tone as to what is to fellow throughout the album's entirety. This eerie and ambient intro track encompasses inspirations, previous expectations and ultimately steers the listener to the second track.
~Memorable quote: "Seven Year Itch drop, nuh even cuss a "claat"/ but you still coulda feel the passion him a talk"
2. I and I
A super-dope trunk-shaker joint with Protoje rhyming in a way you wouldn't predict easily on such a production. With a steady bassline, echoing synths and rim shots, Protoje effortlessly oscillates between smooth and staccato flows, setting the album in high gear.
~Memorable quote: "Said I took a break and I loved the break/ now I'm off the brake, looking to make a break/ at a greater stake and the flow sweet like grater cake/ sharper than a grater make/ and then I take a date and a make a mate/ at a greater pace, naa use razor blade/ and grate my face, dem 'fraid a me/ lyrics a penetrate/ nuh hesitate fi make tune generate"
3. Kingston Be Wise
Written as a short story based on the events of May 23rd, 2010 - when the Jamaican government deployed its military into Tivoli Gardens in the capital city of Kingston - the song acts as a creative and cinematic climax.
~Memorable quote: "Everybody have them views now/ the media is owned so know where you get your news from"
4. Hold You Now
With sporadic trumpet horns and wah-wah effects from an electric guitar, producer Don Corleon adds instrumental textures in and out of the mix teasingly with Protoje telling the story of taking a young empress away from the hustle and bustle of the city life to a more tranquil environment to set her mind and body at ease.
~Memorable quote:" Me say you eyes pretty like/ the light inna the city night/ and a you me want fi see tonight/ me say you hotter than the gritty, I/ wonder if you would accept this water that is bubbling up in my chillum pipe"
5. Someone Like You (feat. Tessanne Chin)
Having Chin for added vocal range; the duet gives a more romantic, laid-back vibe, going beyond the 'consciously-aware' persona of Protoje. No stranger to a more soulful production, Protoje caresses Chin's vocal range smoothly; straddling the lines between hard and sexy lyricism.
~Memorable quote: "I hope you knowing what you do to me, all of this is new to me/ holding out for you to see, just time and opportunity/ wan' give you the best of me fi carry on the legacy/ I've got to find someone like you"
6. Around The World (feat. Chris Watts)
The track's production plays reminiscent of a more subtle Rasta Love with the storyline similar to that of On the Road. The silky, smooth beat gives Protoje the opportunity to convince his muse that even though he's travelling the world over, no girl that crosses his path compares to her.
~Memorable quote: "All of my life what I've been looking for/ when she love sick a den mi have di cure/ leave on tour seh I must explore/ when she feel unsure den she must endure"
7. Who Dem A Program
Back on his militant persona, with an ampted up feel to the song, Protoje adds life to the track and it's Pink Panther-esque saxophone laced production. This haunting single analyses the everyday tribulations of everyday life as Protoje summarizes the happenings of Kingston Be Wise.
~Memorable quote: "We naa watch no face make it do what it do/ from the first time when nomads a puupookopuu/ cause dem nuh want see u in the coupe a go thru/ dem will call Babylon and state trooper fi you"
8. This Is Not A Marijuana Song
Soaring on the Niko Browne-produced Rockfort Rock Riddim, Protoje talks about marijuana as not just a means to pass time but as a way to unlock hidden thoughts in the mind as you 'hold a meditation'.
~Memorable quote: "This is not marijuana music/ just a message from the ones that use it/ don't abuse it cause a mind that's fertile/ brings forth something that's worthwhile"
9. Reggae Revival (feat. Romain Virgo)
Questioning critics' belief that Reggae music has suffered an unfortunate death, the Romain Virgo-assisted track pays homage to a number of producers throughout the years (Tubbys, Winston Riley, Coxsone Dodd and Junjo Lawes) who have set the pace for newcomers to the Reggae landscape. Syncopated drums and soft synths allow Protoje to speak in a more confident tone questioning how persons could say the genre is dying when it's making so many strides worldwide still.
~Memorable quote: "Different categories suh nuh mix me wit nuh drama/ some a seh it put dem mind at ease den/ dat means seh di Reggae music a please dem/ den tun it up loud"
10. Come My Way
Congo drums, a violin and an acoustic guitar painting the backdrop of this track allows you to easily image Protoje performing this song live. The lyrical content speaks on the dynamics of a man charming a woman who seems to be indecisive as to whether she should get into a serious relationship with him.
~Memorable quote: "Better queen make a better king/ so make we elevate from lesser things/ and emulate to be better beings/ I'll demonstrate what forever means"
11. Shot By Love (feat. Toi)
Toi's vocals work perfectly on this record, especially the way her and Protoje go back and forth from verse to chorus. The pianos and kick drum have a classic mid-tempo Reggae vibe that go perfectly with the song's mood and concept.
~Memorable quote: "The love ya realer than the Vatican own/ she a the queen fi me African throne/ no mercenary Taliban it control/ me a the one fi lock your body and soul"
12. Black Cinderella
Sampling Errol Dunkley's 1972 hit single of the same title, this Rub-A-Dub single underling tone urges men to not be fooled by a woman's physical characters as some of the times she isn't what she seems. And it's simply hard to find that 'Black Cinderella' of your dreams in this day-and-age.
~Memorable quote: "She nice and she fit and she round and she firm/ ripe Julie mango but heart full of worm/ daughter confirm that her thoughts full of germs"
13. Hail Ras Tafari
This spiritual-affirmation-track picks up perfectly from the previous single, with a more up tempo Rub-A-Dub/Roots Reggae production; the type of song that should be on radio more often: genuinely imaginative in approach and meaningful in its entirety.
~Memorable quote: "Heart of the Lion is telling us not to stay far/ 'cause when it all passes away/ to abide in Your presence is the only thing I pray for"
14. Music From My Heart
Displaying his true intentions/expectations within the music industry, Protoje reassures his family, fans and critics alike that his songs are simply authentic music from his heart and not anything else; a perfect way to end the album and a great indicator as to what can be expected on his third solo project.
~Memorable quote: "Mommy, if I never win a Grammy don't you ever cry for me/ no billboard up in the sky for me/ if I never get to put a plaque on Don's wall/ I'll appreciate the fact that even one sold"
Final Verdict: Overall, The 8 Year Affair is an invigorating LP that succeeds in continuing the story started on the 7 Year Itch. Each track stands out in a unique way while playing cohesively as a unit. Complexly arranged and sonically pleasing, Protoje's metaphors and double entendres mixed with hardbody beat selections and vivid lyricism sets the LP up for an amazing listen from beginning to end. Essentially, the 8 Year Affair is perfect for anyone who listens to music with headphones (or stereos maxed in volume) and soak in every lyric as they pass on this musical journey. Don't be surprised if you find yourself tweeting and retweeting your favourite lines uncontrollably.