Album review
Toe 2 Toe Vol. 3
Sizzla & Capleton
Charm-Jet Star

Tracking list

  1. Top Of The Line
  2. Do What Jah Say
  3. Love In The House
  4. Nah Move Freaky
  5. Set The Place A Fire
  6. Babylon Get Demolish
  7. Fat & Yu Clean
  8. Jerusalem
  9. Batlefield
  1. Dem Running Out
  2. See Dem
  3. Red Pon Backra
  4. Jah Jah Lift My Head
  5. Words Of Mind
  6. She's So Fine
  7. Log On Girls
  8. Hot Stuff
  9. Can't Stop This
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3

After matching the likes of Mikey Spice with Garnett Silk and Glen Washington with George Nooks, this third volume of Jet Star's "Toe 2 Toe" series features the well-respected "firemen" Sizzla and Capleton in a head to head, toe to toe clash. Strongly influenced by the teachings of the Bobo Ashanti elders, Sizzla and Capleton - also known as Kalonji and the Prophet (also King Shango) respectively - have firmly established their names in the forefront of modern reggae and dancehall music since the second half of the nineties. Being two of the most prolific acts on Jamaica they have made a serious impact with songs that were fueled by righteous passion and contained fierce criticism towards Babylonian wrongdoers. Both artists' cultural oriented tunes have drawn notable attention on the Island as well as internationally and have received critical acclaim from reggae connoisseurs all over the world.
Sizzla - real name Miguel Orlando Collins - was brought up by devout Rastafarian parents in the August Town district of east Kingston. There he built a local reputation on the Caveman Hi-Fi sound system, before he started to do recordings, first for the "Zagalou" label and then for Xterminator producer Phillip "Fattis" Burrell. The latter released Sizzla's debut set "Burning Up", which was followed by the highly acclaimed, "Praise Ye Jah", his breakthrough album from 1997. At the same time producer Bobby "Digital" Dixon put out the equally excellent "Black Woman And Child". To call Sizzla's output in the years since then prolific would be an understatement as it truly has been phenomenal, even by Jamaican standards. Although still releasing modern roots tunes, Sizzla has more and more moved into the hardcore dancehall scene, which caused some controversy in recent years as he started to deliver "slackness" tunes.
Most of the Sizzla tunes gathered here are delivered over driving, hardcore dancehall riddims from producers such as Louis "Flabba" Malcolm, Cordell "Skatta" Burrell, Preston Onfroy and Winston "Weepow" Powell, to name a few. Solid efforts included are "Do What Jah Say aka Leaving Babylon", "Babylon Get Demolish" and "Battlefield". However, Sizzla can be captured at his very best in the excellent "Fat & Yu Clean" and sees him in devastating form in the Doctor Marshall produced "Jerusalem". With the exception of "Love In The House" and the awesome "Set The Place A Fire" - across a revitalized version of the "Promised Land" riddim - you won't find modern roots & culture tunes incorporating the more melodic singjay style Sizzla was known and loved for in the first years of his career.
Next nine tracks come from today's most popular Bobo performer Capleton, a relative veteran who scored his first hit in 1990 with "Number One On The Good Look Chart". At that time Capleton was regarded one of the slackest of deejays on the island of Jamaica. His cuts for Jamaica's top producers were collected on the essential 'Capleton Gold' album in 1991. However, over the years he changed his lyrical themes from "slackness" and "gun talk" to roots & culture. Since his prolific work for Stuart Brown's "African Star" label, in particular his "Prophecy" masterwork of 1995, Capleton has worked with a variety of producers and has delivered many top-calibre 45s on many different labels. On the album front he kept quite quiet with only a few releases in recent years.
Capleton delivers a wicked set which includes five efforts across modern reggae riddims and four cuts over hardcore street beats. No matter what riddim he has to ride, Capleton handles it seemingly effortless and to full effect. On the cultural side we're treated to the awesome "See Dem", which is followed by "Jah Jah Lift My Head", an outstanding cut across Bob Marley's "Heathen" riddim. Also worth of hearing is the above par tune "Words Of Mind", delivered over the deep roots sound of Reggae Central's revitalized "Promised Land" riddim. Capleton rounds off with a solid, enjoyable effort, "Can't Stop This", which is performed over a vibrant, nyabinghi flavored roots riddim called "Never Go Under". The hardcore dancehall part brings us the wicked "Dem Running Out", the hard hitting Red Pon Backra", the light-hearted "Log On Girls" and the vibrant "Hot Stuff".
Both Sizzla and Capleton deliver nuff good tunes to make this "Toe 2 Toe" set well worth checking.

Teacher & Mr. T.