EPs, while thoroughly forgotten, have always been the best litmus test within music. Not only are artists able to feel out their fans but listeners can get a small taste of an upcoming album. As listeners, we either like it or we hate it, but when the latter occurs, at least we know not to waste our money on the LP. Thankfully for reggae fans, legendary Miami-based group Inner Circle has dropped a new EP, Blazzin' Fire, that does anything but, er, suck. In case you were wondering, yes it's the same Inner Circle that brought you hits like "Bad Boys" (the theme from Cops) and "Sweat (A La La La La Long)," but this time around, the songs have a decidedly harder edge. The EP is in support of their full-length album State of the World, scheduled for release later this summer. When you listen to cuts like "Smoke," featuring Stephen and Damian Marley, make sure you're in a well-ventilated area in case you "Just can't fight the feeling," as the chorus says. Despite the typical ganja references, Blazzin' Fire isn't all about odes to the sweet herbal essence. Given the name of the album, the hard-driven song "Blood a Run" featuring Junior Reid is a poignant acknowledgment of the violent times we're living in today. The Buju Banton track, "Kool Operator," is as laid-back as it sounds. If the power generated on Blazzin' Fire is any indicator of what Inner Circle is cooking up, State of the World should be the reggae LP of the year.
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