On 13 March 2020, reggae star Janine Cunningham aka Jah9 shared her second studio album entitled “Note to Self”. The single “Note to Self” was released five days later. According to her record company, VP Records, this track she performs with Chronixx, is “timely” because “given the spread of the infectious COVID-19 virus, and how quickly it has spread worldwide, people need reassurance that all will be fine (…)”.
This new album by Jah9 is presented as the last part of his story which includes 2 volumes: New Name (album released in 2013) and 9 (album released in 2016). Note to Self is seen as a “saga” in which Jamaican singer who is also a yoga teacher gives details on “the most important work of self development”.
In the press release issued at the time of the album’s release, it is stated that: “Jah9 takes us on a cyclical journey using many of the different means by which she herself combats the rising need for a tomorrow full of better human beings. On this album we get a rare and curated, but authentic and insightful look into the real and true life of Janine Cunningham”.
This second studio album by the star includes fifteen tracks – to raise consciousness on different rhythms (dub, roots reggae, jazz etc) – each of which has a story.
Thus, “Note to Self – Okay” in collaboration with Chronixx, (single released on March 18, 2020), is explained as “the future “you”, speaking to the younger “you” with the message that you can, and should, keep going because no matter what you’re facing today, you will get through it. To make her point, 9 sings: “I’m going to be ok / that is what I tell myself / I’m going to be ok / don’t watch nobody else….” The day before the release of the single “Note To Self”, Jah9 tweeted : “This is absolutely not the time for social distancing. Physical distancing maybe, but social closeness needed now more than ever”.
Collaborations with artists and producers
In “Maat (Each Man)” (single released on 15 November 2019) and “Heaven” (single released in November 2018), the artist explains in detail “how health and feeling good correlate”.
“Ready To Play” with Tarrus Riley and “Hey You” are tracks where the young woman who is involved with Manifesto Jamaica (a social enterprise helping young people to become independent through art and culture) deals with themes such as “community, and the importance of coming together to revel in our common being”.
In tracks such as “Highly” (single released on February 14, 2020) and “Love Has Found I”, the poetess talks about the theme of self-love, platonic love or romantic love, the good and bad sides of Love.
With “Could it Be”, the yogi explores her own identity. And there is also “New Race” (A Way) with Akala or “You and I” with Pressure Busspipe and others tracks…
The press release concludes that “With this new album, Jah9 broaches the tough work of preparing the body, mind and spirit, with a grace, ferocity and complexity that only a woman in all her powers, might harmoniously encapsulate.”
To produce this album, Jah9 also worked with several producers Jeremy Harding, Clive Hunt, Romario “Runkus” Bennett, Iotosh Poyser and Romaine Arnett.