They have been touring all over the world for many years, regularly playing in front of tens of thousands of spectators, setting the stage ablaze in the largest European and French festivals, thrilling South American and Indian audiences alike. Their videos get hundreds of thousands of views in a few days, and they are followed on social networks by more than four hundred thousand fans, notwithstanding the mainstream media who hardly ever talk about them. Saint-Etienne based DUB INC. have never sought a particularly mainstream exposure; they went their own way, building their discography with passion, talent, and focus. Perhaps that is why they have been for almost ten years the best ambassadors of French reggae across the globe.
An independent band since 1998, DUB INC. are nonetheless fully acclaimed by the entire reggae scene. The group won no less than three Victoires du Reggae awards (in 2014 for the "Paradise" album, in 2011 for "Hors Contrôle", and 2008 for "Afrikya"). In 2016, they are back with a sixth LP, "So What". No doubt this one will be yet another important landmark. Completely self-produced, as is their habit and will, this fourteen-track record is the result of a long process of composing and writing songs inspired by the dark events that have been going on in France in the last few months. Featuring a mix of dancehall, hip-hop, and electronica influences, "So What" is a pure reggae album upholding the values of this rebellious, spiritual, and universal music genre.
The album uninhibitedly addresses complex themes such as identitarian closure, the anxiety of countries who only speak out of fear and rejection of the other, or conspiracy theories that have no other purposes than to confuse people ("Triste Epoque", "So What"). However, it does include a large dose of optimism too, as well as calls for love and respect for your neighbours, whoever they are. As sons of immigrants who built their lives in France and transmitted them the values of integrity, respect and solidarity, the members of DUB INC. are the epitome of the fact that we can accomplish beautiful things only together and united ("Exil", "No Matter Where You Come from"). The social themes dear to the group are present ("Justice"), but "So What" also features lighter songs such as "Grand Périple", offsetting the record’s mood with notes of optimism. "Love is the Meaning" brings a softer touch to the album, "Fêlés" pays tribute to the band’s fans and "Ragga Bizness" humorously deals with the throes of the music world. Besides these risk-taking songs, some more typical tunes are reminiscent of the band's debut albums ("Exil", "Comme de l’or").
The guideline of the album undoubtedly is to retain the band’s identity while modernizing it by playing at times with the new rub a dub movement that has emerged in the recent years. With electronic vibrations, some hints to dubstep, and a few hip hop references, this is how DUB INC. renew themselves, in order to surprise a growing audience of activist fans eagerly waiting for the band’s new release. In fact, there is no intermediary between DUB INC. and their public, which has turned into an army of fans spreading the message of their favorite band. The DUB INC. movement happens directly from the music producer to the activist consumer - pure French reggae DIY.
In this new musical adventure, Komlan and Bouchkour still get along as in the early days of DUB INC.. Their complementarity is a considerable asset which makes them stand out vocally speaking. The bass and drums played by Zigo and Moritz are more in osmosis than ever, taking Jérémie Grégeois to summits with his guitar. Keyboardists Idir and Fred match each other in talent, providing the album with a remarkable melodic dimension. DUB INC. also have guests in this record: they chose to share the mike with the new generation of reggae rather than established Jamaican artists, which would have been the easy way. So you’ll enjoy hearing Italian twins Mellow Mood and young French prodigy Naâman on instrumental tracks produced by the Saint-Etienne based band.
The band’s politically conscious lyrics lie somewhere between constructive projections into the future and implacable analyses on the present. Each tune is a cleverly orchestrated composition, proving once again the band's production qualities.
After five successful albums, DUB INC. have been eagerly awaited. "So What" successfully converts the try, placing them for good in the French musical landscape.
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