The reggae renaissance continues in Jamaica, and besides the many new talents that spring up within it, it also helps to surface some names that have been out for longer but flew under the radar or are restarting their careers now. Nesbeth falls into that category. He set out in the music business in 2002 with the single So Let It Be, released on Shocking Vibes. Things sped up a bit for him in 2007 when he joined No Doubt Record, the label of Kemar McGregor a.k.a. Flava, and releasedBoard House on it. He left two years later because he felt that Flava didn’t dedicate enough time to him.
After a short episode with the Jan Bigs label, which released Nesbeth’s songs A Nuh Suh Me Waan Live and Drive By, Nesbeth is now on the London-based label Entertainment Soul now and back with an EP called Victory. Happy about the creative control Entertainment Soul granted him over Victory EP, Nesbeth is credited as producer, songwriter, and lead singer. But Nesbeth isn’t the exclusive producer, as DJ Frass and Merrick Shaw are on board as well.
Victory EP comes with five tracks and is available for digital download through the important platforms. It is solid modern roots reggae that builds the foundation to carry Nesbeth’s message of upliftment, consciousness, and perseverance. While many protagonists of the reggae renaissance come from uptown Kingston, Nesbeth endured the dire conditions of inner-city communities like Maxfield Avenue and knows all too well what he sings about when he employs lines like “Been through the worst of my worst days/now I can taste victory”.
Don’t sell your soul to the system, that’s the message of Marijuana, and don’t sell ganja just for the money, but for the benefit of those who smoke it. It is an idealistic song, highly energetic, and slightly rock-infused. Nesbeth continues by reminding us that the system can’t touch us, since we’re Jah Jah Handpick. The title track Taste Victory is somewhat autobiographical, and employs a slight edge of rock music again. Hundu Lay Lay is a more quiet Nyabinghi track loaded with percussions. The final Even Though picks up speed again and is thematically related to Taste Victory: despite the progress in his life, Nesbeth has not forgotten where he comes from and what he’s been through. Nesbeth’s own little Victory is a delight for the rest of us.