Ceeb Dread: Four Words

Category: music 250

Fredericton rapper Ceeb Dread takes more than a few risks on his forthcoming tenth album Four Words and still comes out on top. 

Matt Carter

If you live in Fredericton and are even remotely connected to the city’s music and art community, there is a good chance you are familiar with rapper Ceeb Dread. Dread has been a regular performer on stages throughout the city for nearly two decades and has released a staggering nine solo albums to date. He was a member of the long running reggae ensemble Dub Antenna and has also appeared in several short films. He starred as the intimidating streetwise gangster Soapy in Jesse Anthony’s 2012 feature film, Skate Proof, and was even the ambassador for the 2018 Silver Wave Film Festival. Some might consider him a cultural icon. Others may simply ask, “Ceeb who?”

Born Eric Claybourne, Dread is now just a few weeks away from releasing his tenth album. And while a new album from Dread may not incite as much local buzz as some of the region’s more accessible performers, Four Words is as praise-worthy an album as you are likely to hear from any New Brunswick musician in 2024. 

Opening with the poem, Every Day, this 1:39 minute monologue is Dread at his most sincere. His most candid. No acting or stereotypical hip hop fronting whatsoever. It’s Dread with his guard down. No gold baseball cap. No fancy kicks. No microphone necklace. As an album opener, Every Day is jaw dropping in its honesty, setting a distinct tone that continues to resonate across the ten tracks that follow. By opening up with a taste of the real Ceeb Dread (or was that Eric Claybourne speaking?), Four Words embodies an entirely different character than any of his past releases. In a way, those first 99 seconds are like the unmasking of a superhero. You know you can never unsee it, but you are also kind of grateful for the experience. 

But what about the rest of the album? How can you go one after knowing who is behind the curtain? Well, Dread makes it pretty easy, slipping back into his old life-of-the-party self with the kind of West Coast bangers we have come to expect from a new Dread album. Mix in a few more close encounters with humanity on songs like If I had It All and Let It Out, and back it all up with the best sounding production of any Ceeb Dread album to date and you will hear Four Words for the winning album it is. If I could stand and clap and type all at once, this is when I would do it. 

Upcoming Performances: 

April 19 | Album release show with Raw-D + COJ + Benn | Broken Record Bar and Music Room | $10 ($5 with a donation to food bank) 


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