Major Lazer :: Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do :: Downtown Records
as reviewed by Jesal 'Jay Soul' Padania

As part of the build up to Carnival in Notting Hill, we keep on the Jamaican trail. Here, Major Lazer – who will be there this '09 – delivers a cracking album full up banging beats and incredible vocal production – and it has proved a BIG album this summer. Major Lazer, born in Jamaica to a family of goat-herders, sprinted to acclaim as a 123m runner in the Jamaican Winter Olympics team, and made lots of money which enabled him to pursue his true dream of being a big-time hairdresser. Unfortunately, he slipped, fell and broke his snipping wrist on the final 23m bend of his LAST race. Tragedy struck, and he became addicted to sheesha – even though EVERYONE says you can’t (it has nicotine in it, dumbass, of course you can get addicted). Ridiculed, broken, and almost defeated by life, he pulled up his socks and started making music. His parents had expected him to take over the goat herd one day, and expressed their uncontrollable sadness at his music career. But legend has it, his mother heard him beatboxing in the shower and the rest, as they say, is history.

He moved to Kingston from the hilly mountainsides, and encountered characters such Santigold, who (allegedly) likes to feel the vibration of her Nokia phone in the darker crevices of her body. So the Major one kept calling her day and night, and it resulted in a great opening track for his album. He then went to a club with a vinyl pressing of that song, and gave it to the DJ. Whilst he loitered anxiously around the booth, waiting with baited breath to see if Diplo or Switch would play it, a girl called Ms. Thing started backing her thing up on the man. Inspiration came from above and he quickly unicycled back to the studio, and rang up his friend Mr. Vegas. His Head was High, but he managed to navigate his way there, even though his car brakes failed. As he rolled down the hill, he screamed "Can’t Stop Now" and Lazer sampled his voice from afar, amplified it and laced a backing track. Fortunately Vegas crashed into a rubber plant and his life was saved.

He needed a "Lazer Theme" so he decided to fly abroad. Unfortunately, there was too much Turbulance. His "Cash Flow" was rapidly rising, so he decided to purchase some "Mary Jane." It was bad weed, though, and he started to "Bruk Out" when he was chilling with T.O.K. But, in a moment of clarity, he connected the audience and knew exactly "What U Like" – for him to "Keep It Goin’ Louder" with Nina Skye. So his tunes managed to get everyone "Pon de Floor" and he shot an incredible video to celebrate. It is truly the stuff of legend, and as an outro to his album, he made an Autotune track that Jay-Z would simply LOVE.

So that is the fantastical story of the incredible Major Lazer. Surely his name and tale shall enter folklore, so improbable was the sequence of events. As for the album, we all know now that we should never have doubted the former Lieutenant. The beats were absolutely banging, the perfect summer listen. They twist, turn and surprise, and if there was ONE producer(s) I would want to work with, it would be Major Lazer. The vocal production, as to be expected with ML, is stunning. With just eleven dope tracks and a hilarious outro, the replay value is high and "Guns…" comes pre-trimmed of fat ("Mary Jane" aside). The ONLY point of criticism comes with regard to the SONGS. This may be, to an extent, a smash’n’grab of leading Jamaican/bashment stars, but the song-writing isn’t that special. Solid, yes, but not that special. Only a couple of moments hit the spot in that respect – the stunning pop of the Nina Skye joint included. But, oh my gosh, it is just so much plain fun to bump loud, sing-a-long to and back it up on various people. Wicked.

Music Vibes: 9 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10

Originally posted: August 25, 2009