In many ways, the times are ripe for a mainstream reggae revival. Sting and Shaggy have an album out (44/876) and a summer tour. With the wave of international cannabis legalization, and a buffoonish right-wing Trump White House as a convenient target, the moment is certainly right.
Slightly Stoopid's ninth studio album, Everyday Life, Everyday People, and first since 2015’s Meanwhile… Back at the Lab, is right on time. It features contributions from some of their inspirations—including UB40’s Ali Campbell, neo-bluesman G. Love, toastmaster Yellowman, Jamaican reggae stalwart Don Carlos, Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli rapper Chali 2na and Italian reggae ambassador Alborosie.
Led by Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald (see the full lineup below), the San Diego-based reggae group’s best known for their laid-back dub style. But they’re also capable of the breezy, tropical ska of the Don Carlos-guested “Stay the Same (Prayer for You)”; the grungy, horn-laden “Livin’ in Babylon,” spiced up with a predictably bawdy Yellowman toast; or the psychedelic funk of “Higher Now,” with Chali 2na rapping over a smoky haze.
Campbell adds his own dance-hall boasts to the cover of Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It.” Punctuated by sharp horn parts, it’s akin to the dub-heavy version Sublime recorded for the Hempilation benefit album in 1995.
Unlike the Sly and the Family Stone song of the same name, “Everyday People” is a groove-laced cross of hip-hop, dance-hall and jazz, featuring Philadelphia hipster G. Love on vocals and harmonica. And the breezy R&B and gurgling organ vibe of “No One Stops Us Now: Nobody Knows” would be a Top-40 hit in some parallel reggae-themed universe.
It may be too late for them to become a household name, but in their universe, Slightly Stoopid is a shining star.
SLIGHTLY STOOPID LINE-UP
Miles Doughty – guitar, bass, vocals; Kyle McDonald – guitar, bass, vocals; Paul Wolstencroft - keyboards; Ryan Moran – drums; Oguer (OG) Ocon – percussion; DeLa – saxophone; Andy Gelb – trombone
ON THE CHARTS
2012 Top of the World #13
2015 Meanwhile…Back at the Lab #37
2007 Chronchitis #55