Words by Tishanna Williams
“What to Make of This World,” a newly released single from Melech “Meleku” Collins, produced by XTM Nation’s Kareem “Remus” Burrell, is another step in the right direction for reggae. Not only does the single merge the vintage flair of roots reggae with the militant call to arms which seems to be the trend among young artists within this genre, but it ushers in a second-generation collaboration between two houses — Remus’ father, Fattis Burrell, was one of the most successful producers of the digital reggae era, and the man who put Sizzla Kalonji, Meleku’s father, on the map 20 years ago.
“XTM and Sizzla went a long way, business-wise and personally” says Meleku. “It only feels right to continue the message in this generation. XTM is like family, literally.”
Descendants of two of reggae’s royal houses, the choice to follow in the footsteps of legendary musical messengers such as their fathers should be a daunting thought… these young men have big boots to fill. For one, Sizzla is one of the most prolific artistes in reggae history and from what we’ve heard of his son musically, Meleku seems to have staked claim to his birthright.
Burrell’s repertoire includes Jesse Royal’s “Hotter the Battle,” and he continues to toy with the sound of reggae, merging the past with present in accordance with a meticulous standard set by his father and the legends he grew up with. Likewise, Meleku’s style of merging past with present is an intentional one. He says, “I feel with my skill of bringing across a modern style of writing infused with those vintage beats, the track will definitely be something to reckon with.”
From his past singles like “Right Place” and “African Child” we’ve already realized he has the ability to merge simple truth with easy rhythms to produce subliminal mantras and socio-political comments. “What to Make of This World” is no different. With lyrics such as, “We living in a world, police doh ask questions/ Rather to shoot at we,” the track hits on topics of racism and police brutality. Granted the current tensions in the U.S., the song is a timely one and bravely calls out those who show prejudice, as well as those who allow it through their own nonchalance or despondence. “The response have been very good and people [have] gravitated to the single,” Meleku says. “I often get comparisons with my father’s style, but it is definitely a fresh sound to the public ear.”
The single is definitely one worth listening to, and we can only hope that the pairing of this artiste with Burrell will be a long standing one. “There are definitely more works in the pipeline. A few more singles and people can expect and studio ep end of this year” he hinted.
The music world can’t wait.