First Semester: Dancehall
ARTB Records
Digital Release
November 6, 2010

First Semester: Dancehall - Various Artists Track list
  1. Anthony B - Free Up The General
  2. Buju Banton - Rock Yuh Body
  3. Mr Vegas - Leg Up
  4. Kevin Lyttle - Only You (Extended Mix)
  5. Beenie Man - Draw Mi Out)
  6. Spragga Benz & I-Octane - Hurt Mi
  7. Shaggy & The Big Yard Crew - Gangster
  8. Lutan Fyah - Sing A Song
  9. Lukie D - Loved By You
  10. Wayne Marshall - What A Day
  11. Natural Black - Tell Me Why
  12. I-Octane - Mama You Alone
  13. Jah Cure - What Will It Take
  14. Kool Johnny Kool & Richie Canary - Those Dayz
  15. Erup - Click Mi Finger
  16. Chino - Chronic To My Brain
  17. Deh Deh - Work And Pray
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Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
The artist line-up of "First Semester: Dancehall" -- the first installment of a special compilation series collecting dancehall and reggae tunes from the Jamaican record labels Truckback, Arrows, Purple Skunk and GT Muzik -- features almost everyone who is of any importance in today's reggae and dancehall scene including Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Anthony B and Shaggy to name four. Besides these well known names this set also includes efforts from much promising young up-and-coming artists like I-Octane, Deh Deh, and Chino.

The early 2010 released single "Free Up The General", Anthony B's strong tribute to Buju Banton on Truckback's "Crank" riddim, opens the compilation, followed by Buju Banton's 2006 Purple Skunk single "Rock Yuh Body" on the Wayne 'DJ Wayne' Morris & Phillip 'Junior Arrows' Linton produced "Shampoo" riddim. Mr. Vegas, who hits real hard with "Leg Up" on the "Steel Frog" riddim, rounds off the worthwhile opening lot.

Kevin Lyttle, who hails from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. gained international recognition with the 2001 interpellative soca ballad "Turn Me On". Here he keeps the vibes flowing with a dancehall flavored infectious tune called "Only You", earlier released on the Arrows label. Truckback's "Sparkplug" riddim, incorporating incredibly tough snares, arabesque chords and frenetic energy, is ridden by Beenie Man to full effect. Next up is "Hurt Mi", a solid piece delivered by Spragga Benz & I-Octane. Shaggy & The Big Yard Crew's "Gangster", used for the soundtrack of the "Shottas" movie, is a wicked tune, and the same goes for Lutan Fyah's dancehall fueled "Sing A Song".

Then it's time for reggae sounds, starting off with Lukie D's very enjoyable lovers tune "Loved By You". It's followed by Wayne Marshall's great "What A Day", underpinned by a real nice one-drop riddim from the Truckback production crew. Natural Black's excellent "Tell Me Why" across Arrows' "Tears" riddim is another great effort worth hearing. Future star I-Octane impresses with the wonderful "Mama You Alone" on the "Karma" riddim, while Jah Cure makes the reggae segment come to an end with his 2005 hit song "What Will It Take" over the Purple Skunk's "Istanbul" riddim.

The final course of the "First Semester: Dancehall" features Kool Johnny Kool & Richie Canary's nicely done groovin' cover version of Stevie Wonder's "Those Days", while the "Gear Box" riddim underpins Erup huge breakthrough hit song "Click Mi Finger" from 2008. More hardcore dancehall business comes from Chino's awesome "Chronic To My Brain" over Philip 'Junior Arrows' Linton's synth-dominated "Bullet Proof Vest" riddim from 2007. "Work & Pray" from the very talented sibling duo Deh Deh has a different vibe, but nevertheless is a great song to round off this thoroughly decent collection of tunes.