TANYA STEPHENS (1973 - )
* * * *2006 - VP - studio - discs: 2
Vivienne Tanya Stephenson was born in the St.Mary parish in 1973. Her first release was "Is This For Real?" in 1993. After some singles she released her debut set "Big Tins A Gwaan" in 1996. The set was acclaimed and two others followed. The basic issues were about female sexual empowerment, expressed quite clearly. All this was delivered through tough and sometimes rough Dancehall rhythms. After this experience in 1998 she moved to Sweden where she stayed for three years. Once back in Jamaica she released the hit "It's A Pity". In 2004 she hit again with her fifth album "Gangsta Blues". This seminal set proved that the Dancehall scene is not only a male affair and that a female is able to write very sharp lyrics too. The present strong album sets Tanya as a major force in contemporary Jamaican music. Nowadays she is far away from the rough and aggressive compositions of the past. She never left behind her accusations about unrightiousness but now she has discovered new musical ways to express them. Sharp as ever she addresses the problems of the Jamaican girls and women giving them faith and courage for the future. This attitude demostrates how she grow up. This new way to deliver the message is not only through the lyrics but through the type of sounds too. This never ending twenty tracks is filled with Coonscious Roots, some marvellous Lover's sounds and of course with some Dancehall too. This set, which at the end is very meditative and encourageing one, is a lobour of love from a female artist that has discovered that there are many different musical weapons to deliver the right message. Choose your better songs, you will not go wrong, there are a plenty... almost the entire album. This special edition comes with a DVD as bonus disc with interviews and an acoustic set that is priceless. "Rebelution" is a beautiful strong and long message, both musically and lyrically. A last word: the quality increases from the first song on (the gems come with the second side). Respect, Sista!
* * * /2004 - VP - studio - discs: 1
In 2004 Tanya Stephens hit again with her fifth album "Gangsta Blues". This set proved that the Dancehall scene is not only a male affair but also that a female artist is able to write very sharp lyrics too. Singing and singjay style shine quite well in this maybe too long seventeen tracks set from 2004. This release shifts between Dancehall oriented rhythms and meditative songs with the result of presenting a consummate and higly confident artist. The lyrichs are strong with the addition of a funny commentary on a sex night where the man is morally shagged for his selfish behaviour ("Damn"). It seems a joke but it is not: the message is "Respect your woman, she is not a toy"! Beside this, the songs prove Tanya's powerful attitude and approach to different musical styles all spiced by conscious driven commentaries on the contemporary Jamaica. Wyclef Jean and Spragga Benz are featured on two songs. The former appears on the strong "This Is Love" and the latter contributes on "Gangsta Gal". This set does not reach the highlights of "Rebelution" (2006) but it is clear that the good seed were planted.