Rhythm Streetz Series #9 ~ High Altitude / Foundation
In The Streetz
October 3, 2006

Track list
  1. Come For Me - Alaine
  2. Tweeta Bounce - Munga
  3. Mouth Mek Fi Chat - Assassin
  4. Nah Beg Nuh Friend - Beenie Man
  5. Knock Knock - Bling Dawg
  6. Any Weather, Any Season - Buju Banton
  7. Easy Skanking - Hollow Point
  8. Hits Pon Toppa Hits - Capleton
  9. Pu**y Have Dem Hustling - Vybz Kartel
  10. Wha-Dis Wha-Dis - Capleton
  11. Gunshot Mek Dem Dead - Vybz Kartel
  12. Talk Bout Yu Youth - Voicemail & Assassin
  13. Back In Town - Ninja Man
    'High Altitude'-riddim:
  14. Shake It Up - Dr. Evil
  15. Break It Off - Sean Paul & Rihanna
  16. Let's Dance - Voicemail
  17. Flippin Rhymes - Munga
  18. The Infamous - Hollow Point
  19. High Altitude - Don Corleon, Vybz Kartel, Baby G & Bounty Killer
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Since Clifford 'Mr. Vegas' Smith and Byron Murray began releasing samplers on their In The Streetz "Rhythm Streetz Series" back in 2005, it would seem that with the notable exception of "#2 ~ Chaka Chaka" they have been all about the Roots Reggae with hits such as "#1 ~ Drop Leaf", "#3 ~ Invasion & Maroon", "#5 ~ Seasons" and Byron Murray's own attempt at a one drop "#6 ~ Street Swing". But now, in what looks to be a surprise move; Smith and Murray have managed to persuade super-producer Donovan 'Vendetta' Bennett to release two riddims on their label that would surely have been destined to be released on Greensleeves own 'Rhythm Album' series. "High Altitude and Foundation" mark the first hardcore dancehall rhythms built by Donovan Bennett for the Jamaican based label, and a return to more familiar ground for the Don Corleon (could this coaxing away be a sign of a change to come?).

Despite the misleading album title, the sampler actually opens with the 'Foundation' riddim; the first tune sees lady of the moment, Alaine asking a suitor to Come For Me on a slighty tweaked version of the riddim, with a catchy chorus and great breakdown. At present, Alaine seems to be able to excel at both Roots and Dancehall reggae tunes and this track is no different. Next up, Munga rides the riddim to extreme ease on Tweeta Bounce, I can see why Bennett and Munga work so closely together; because just like Kartel, Munga was born for Don Corleon riddims. Then Assassin adopts the bad man mindset on Mouth Mek Fi Chat warning all those who dare to challenge him that it is not a wise idea. Assassin is followed promptly by Beenie Man, who as I have always believed is at his best and most comfortable when riding a fast-paced riddim such as this, he contributes the strong Nah Beg Nuh Friend. Bling Dawg states his appreciation for a certain lady's sexual prowess on the extremely slack Knock Knock (Love It Bad). I was surprised to see Buju's name on the tracklisting for this riddim as I find his strength lies in the re-lick, but he proves me wrong on the fine Any Weather, Any Season where he rides the riddim without fault. Hollow Point provides us with what I feel is the weakest voicing on the riddim; however, in saying that Easy Skanking is still a very listenable tune.

Capleton sets the riddim on fire when he contributes the amazing Hits Pon Toppa Hits that proves the man is still one of the best on the scene. Then it is the turn of the Don Corleon's usual partner in crime; Vybz Kartel delivers a slack tribute to a lady on Pu**y Have Dem Hustling before Capleton returns to bring the fire on his second voicing where he screams Wha-Dis Wha-Dis wha-dis wha-dis, mi ah di baddis, baddis, baddis, another tune proving his dominance on the dancehall scene. Not one to be left out, Vybz Kartel also demands a second go at the riddim providing us with the gritty Gunshot Mek Dem Dead where he uses assosonance and similie to great effect, especially on lines like 'dem wan fi build up like a spliff'. The hits don't stop there though, it's strong tune after strong tune as Assassin returns this time with Voicemail in tow to deliver the fine, talk bout yu pickney gal Talk Bout Yu Youth. The duty falls on Ninja Man to close the riddim with the appropriately titled Back In Town, and it certainly is good to have his presence on this sampler; the Don Gorgon is definitely back in town on this big tune!

The second riddim only features six tunes, which is a shame as it just so happens to be the excellent 'High Altitude' riddim. This riddim continues right where the previous riddim left off, fast-paced and dedicated to the "bashment" crew. The highly comical alter-ego of Craig 'Leftside' Parkes, Dr. Evil opens the riddim with the very funny Shake It Up where he even manages to fit in a Black Eyed Peas quote in the form of 'so ladies shake your lump, your lump, your lump, your lump'. The second tune on the riddim has been getting heavy rotation on urban and pop radio stations, the combination of Sean Paul's deejaying and Rihanna's singing have made for a huge crossover hit on Break It Off. Voicemail contribute the fine Let's Dance that has already gained mainstream attention by featuring on VP's "Reggae Gold 2006" earlier this year. Munga gets a little more melodic on the vocoder assisted Flippin Rhymes before Hollow Point makes up for what I see as a weak voicing on the 'Foundation' riddim with the great Infamous, victorious, notorious, so glorious; a very catchy tune. The sixth and final version comes courtesy of the riddim builder himself as Don Corleon backed by Vybz Kartel, Baby G and Bounty Killer deliver the incredible High Altitude, although this tune has been available since February on Vybz Kartel's "J.M.T." album, hearing it months later on this sampler hasn't reduced its replay value at all, big tune on a big riddim.

My only gripe with "#9 ~ High Altitude / Foundation" is the failure to provide any clean versions of these excellent dancehall riddims, but this in no way detracts from the overall impact of Donovan 'Vendetta' Bennett's latest offerings. Again Don Corleon proves that he (with the notable exception of maybe only Christopher Birch) is the ruling force at building dancehall riddims. A must buy!