Big Yard/Ministry Of Sound - Edel
CD / LP
October 5, 2007
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3/4|
After one decade, six albums, two of them
multi-platinum, five #1 hits, and eleven top ten singles world wide,
Grammy winning Big Yard recording
artist Shaggy is still on the grind.
Making music that celebrates his culture and being an ambassador for
reggae music has always been the driving force in the heart of Jamaica's
only living diamond-plus selling artist. In the early 1990's Shaggy
entered the scene with his deep throaty voicing of the ska classic "Oh
Carolina", the first major reggae record to come out of the dancehall
underground. Soon after, the steady dub rhythm of the platinum selling
"Boombastic" solidified Shaggy as a dancehall hit-maker winning the 1996
Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. When "Hotshot" dropped in 2000 no one
could have predicted that this was going to be the album to set Shaggy
totally apart from any artist on the dancehall stage. "Hotshot", the
best-selling album in 2001, sold over 13 million albums world wide and
topped the charts in the US, UK, Germany and Australia simultaneously. The
album was seven times platinum certified in Canada and six times platinum
in the US. "Hotshot" rocketed to the top of the charts with two extremely
successful singles, "It Wasn't Me" and "Angel", which featured Big Yard
protégés Rik Rok and Rayvon, respectively. Fall of 2005 found Shaggy
releasing "Clothes Drop"
an album that gave his audience chart topping dancehall singles like
"Wild2Nite" and "Ready Fi Di Ride" but that disappointed overall.|
To date, Shaggy has sold over 20 million albums, but he doesn't take that achievement lightly. Knowing that records are meant to be broken, Shaggy now releases his latest album "Intoxication" on Big Yard hoping to reach both the hardcore dancehall massive and the mainstream listeners simultaneously once more. The album opens with Shaggy impressing in the electro-tinged "Can't Hold Me" before riding the 'Panty Town' a.k.a. 'Shanty Town'-riddim, like Pow Pow Movement's riddim from 2003 a truly wicked relick of Desmond Dekker's big international summer hit "007 (Shanty Town)" from 1967 of that Leslie Kong produced tune, the most enduring and archetypal of all so-called rude-boy records featuring one of the most infectious riddims ever to come from the Beverley's studio band and here Shaggy joined by Rik Rok and Tony Gold delivers the infectious "Bonafide Girl". The title track "Intoxication" is a great call not too drunk to much that is both serious and entertaining at the same time, with Shaggy's flow that you either like or hate (and I do like it) in control over every (type of) riddim, followed by a very nice take on Martha Hopkin's "Those Days" from 1968 (actually based on the Russian song ("Dorogoi Dlinnoyu") alongside newcoming songbird Nasha and the already known (from VP's "Reggae Gold") fine "More Woman".
"Woman Scorn" is backed by a very intriguing great modern update of King Tubby's early digital 'Tempo'-riddim and the brilliant hip hop inspired "Mad Mad World" over a great hip hop riddim in combination with Sizzla and Bermuda's Collie Buddz that is a tune with enormous crossover potential without losing a hardcore feel. Rayvon is a great combination partner for Shaggy every time the two team up and "Out Of Control" is no exception and even the combination with Akon, who always is able to sing a great hook, is working very nicely as Akon takes care of the chorus "What's Love" got to do it based on Tina Turner's famous song and Shaggy deejays the verses with his inimitable flow, before he follows fellow DJs turned (at least once) singers (remember Bounty's "Gangsta Love" over 'Istanbul') with the acceptable "All About Love" over the balladish one-drop backing.
The biggest tune on this album is without a doubt the magnificent "Church Heathen" over the brilliant 'Church Heathen'-riddim with its classic organ sounds, a church choir and church clocks with which producers Tony 'CD' Kelly and Shaun 'Sting International' Pizzonia enhanced (together with other musicians Christopher 'Longman' Birch and Maurice Gregory) the riddim for Shaggy and Robert Livingston's Big Yard label, on which Shaggy's delivery and this riddim melt together for a superb dancehall tune against hypocrisy (of so called Christians). Uptempo catchy riddims rule this album near the end, as Mischieve joins with her spot-on singing Shaggy for "Wear Di Crown" and he rides the latin-tinged "Criteria" with ease, before his baritone-voice once more is used to make his 'Mr. Loverman' statements in "Holla At You" before Shaggy's second and better attempt at singing closes this album, as the one drop "Reggae Vibes" (hopefully but unlikely in tribute of this website) closes this album in very fine style. If you're only half into Shaggy's baritone voice and style of delivery, you'll want this album.