Damian Marley - Halfway Tree (2001)
Damian ("Jr Gong") Marley's second album, Halfway Tree, is his critically acclaimed follow-up to Mr Marley. Most Marley fans agree that Halfway Tree is a significantly stronger album then Mr Marley, with Jr Gong finding his distinctive sound which sets his work apart from other Jamaican dancehall artists, many would also say that Halfway Tree is his greatest album. Halfway Tree won the 2002 Grammy award for best reggae album.
The name of the album is rich with symbolism. Halfway Tree is a major intersection which marks one of the boundaries between the affluent uptown Kingston and poverty stricken downtown Kingston. In days gone by, travellers would stop at Halfway tree on their journey between uptown and downtown to enjoy a rest under the shade of a large cotton tree which once stood there. The title symbolises the intersection of Damian's father's (Bob Marley's) downtown roots and Damian's own uptown upbringing. The album, Halfway Tree, is also the intersection of several major roads, analogous to the mix of musical styles such as reggae, dancehall, hip-hop, reggae and r'n'b which feature on the album.
The lyrics of Halfway Tree cover a wide range of themes, including
- spiritual / social commentary tracks ("It was written", featuring Capleton, Stephen Marley and Drag-On),
- aggressive rebellion anthems ("Educated Fools" featuring Bounty Killer and "Catch a Fire", a reworking of Bob Marley's "Slave Driver"),
- love songs ("Still Searching" and "She needs my love", both featuring Yami Bolo) and
- upbeat fun tracks (such as "Mi Blenda" and "Halfway Tree" with Swizz Beats, which is a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement of the hype surrounding Damian Marley due to being Bob Marley's son).
Tracklisting1 Educated Fools - featuring Bounty Killer
2 More Justice
3 It Was Written - featuring Capleton
4 Catch a Fire
5 Still Searchin' - featuring Yami Bolo
6 She Needs My Love - featuring Yami Bolo
7 Mi Blenda
8 Where Is the Love
9 Harder (Interlude)
10 Born to be Wild
11 Give Dem Some Way
12 Half Way Tree (Interlude)
13 Paradise Child
14 Stuck in Between
15 Half Way Tree
16 Stand a Chance - featuring Yami Bolo