Hard For It
Cutty Ranks
Walboomers Records
January 3, 2006

Track list
  1. Talli Talli (Remix) feat. Kobra Khan
  2. What Dem Fighting For
  3. Dirty Mind
  4. Hard For It
  5. 20 Inch (Mega Mix) feat. Kobra Khan
  6. Head Mistress (Dem A Eat)
  7. Gal
  8. Strange Feeling
  9. Who Give Di Orders
  10. Wise Up
  11. Better Day
  12. Holiday
  13. Take Me Away feat. Emereld
  14. Guilty feat. A20
  15. Turn Me On feat. Flave
  16. I Congratulate You
  17. Move To The Gal Dem
  18. 20 Inch
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3 Backing : 3 Production : 3 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 2
Ragga deejay Cutty Ranks, so called thanks to a previous job working in a butcher's shop, releases his latest album, "Hard For It", five years after 2001's "Back With A Vengeance". A rough voiced artist with a delivery similar to Shabba Ranks he was most prominent around the same time as Shabba with acclaimed albums in the early nineties - such as "The Stopper" and "Lethal Weapon" (both 1991). "Hard For It" starts off in hardcore dancehall fashion with Cutty's rude boy style and slack lyrics in evidence on "Talli Talli (remix)" displaying a hip hop edge which features on several tracks on the album. The dancehall style continues through the first seven tracks most successfully through "Head Mistress" and "20 Inch (Mega Mix)" both of which are a little above the predictable tracks that precede them.

The pace of the album then slows down with a change in style on the track "Strange Feeling" - a point which marks a more reggae/rootsy sound. Although this abrupt change in style was surprising the greater quality of these tracks certainly made it welcome. I think that part of the reason for the improvement is that Cutty's old school delivery simply sounds better on a slower paced backing - the result is that tracks such as "Who Give the Orders" and "Wise Up" are the finest on the set. Unfortunately the improvement isn't maintained through the latter third of the album - the R&B vibe featuring a number of guest singers brings the lowest point on the album with the drivel that is "Guilty". I also have to question why there are three mixes of the same song - this really doesn't do the album as a whole any favours leaving it over-stretched and repetitive.

In conclusion this disappoints as a dancehall offering by being too formulaic and sounding simply like it's made by an artist whose heyday was over ten years ago. However it surprises with a number of well crafted, more conscious tunes which overall make it an ok album. With the huge gaps between his past few albums Cutty fans will doubtless be pleased as the album delivers pretty much what he made his name doing - straightforward, rough dancehall tracks, but it is unlikely to appeal or offer a great deal beyond.