Lonely Avenue (Main)
Label: Universal/Island Def Jam
In the space of a single album, Stephen Marley simultaneously lifts the weight of his father's legacy from his shoulders and nudges reggae out of its blind obsession with dancehall. His voice eerily echoes his dad's, but Marley also plays production puppet-master, breathing hints of hip-hop and the electric slide into anti-cop anthems or folding dusty samples into modern lover's rock. On the surface, it's just a hell of an album, but underneath Marley is tracing a musical family tree whose branches extend deep into African America.