Based in Kingston, Jamaica, STR8WYZ is a Reggae group which in two years of its existence already managed to build considerable pedigree, landing collaborations with numerous Reggae legends. They formed in early 2018, when British singer-songwriter Str8 Up linked up with Jamaican DJ Wiser Dhon. They released numerous singles, building up their pedigree alongside rare collabs, while working on their debut album set to release this year.

They are Reggae in heart and soul, and praises of Jah echo through their airy compositions and peace-laden vocals. They represent the music that is to keep a heart at ease and celebrate life. With such vibes, they got the opportunity to further enhance their craft and learn from the best – they recorded, among others, with Sly & Robbie, a legendary rhythmic duo of musicians and producers active since the 70s, Big Youth, a Trenchtown native who lived the inception of deejaying and whose career peaked in the 70s with his first Jamaican number one hit “We Will Work It Out”, and Scientist, a Jamaican recording engineer, a protégé of King Tubby and those around him who defined the genre, who shot to fame in 1980s with his engineering talent shining on dub plates.

The connection to King Tubby, decades later, carried Scientist to work at Marley family’s Tuff Gong studio in Kingston, where STR8WYZ now record, slowly stepping into the realm of Reggae legends, enjoying the perks of worldwide distribution by Tuff Gong International from a place where it all started. On their track to solidfy their name, STR8WYZ make the most of living in the original environment of their genre and pitching universally desirable positive vibes.

Among their standout tracks are “Liberty”, with Sly & Robbie, and “Quiet Place”. The former track shows the younger artists power reigned into a peaceful serenity of a serenade to freedom, while “Quiet Place” powers through with punchier, more youthful, energy, drawing a picture of how influence of legends could mature Str8 Up’s youthful spirit. STR8WYZ spirit is raw, but never overblown, and brings a tinge of British vocal spice into Reggae rhythms.

Peaceful through and through, STR8WYZ music is honest with itself and doesn’t struggle to hide hardships of the past, but rather draws positive power from them, as is desirable for maintaining a healthy spirit in life. “Liberty” sounds like a relaxing ode to overcoming, liberating the heart of brain’s oppression on the wave of musical nature. Intensely calming yet energetic, the vocals could temporarily lift the listener’s burdens and lose them in light-headed reflection through musical synaesthesia, where what is muddled in full seriousness, clears up. Visually more akin to open skies and slow daylight than darkness, their tracks reek of open air and parties amid nature, never denying the natural cycle.

Honza Luhan