Billie Jean Riddim
Irie Ites
December 27, 2010

Billie Jean - Various Artists Track list
  1. Sizzla - Police Oppression (Reggae Mix)
  2. Konshens - She Love Money (Reggae Mix)
  3. Lutan Fyah - I Bun Police (Reggae Mix)
  4. Mark Wonder - People Need Security (Reggae Mix)
  5. Spectacular - Born In The Ghetto (Reggae Mix)
  6. Daddy Rings - Ganja Pipe (Reggae Mix)
  7. Elephant Man - Beatle Juice (Reggae Mix)
  8. Irie Ites - Billie Jean Riddim (Reggae Mix)
  9. Sizzla - Police Oppression (Hip Hop Mix)
  10. Konshens - She Love Money (Hip Hop Mix)
  11. Lutan Fyah - I Bun Police (Hip Hop Mix)
  12. Mark Wonder - People Need Security (Hip Hop Mix)
  13. Spectacular - Born In The Ghetto (Hip Hop Mix)
  14. Daddy Rings - Ganja Pipe (Hip Hop Mix)
  15. Elephant Man - Beatle Juice (Hip Hop Mix)
  16. Sizzla - Sexy Jean (Hip Hop Mix)
  17. Don Pako & Keefaz & Zezwar - Bad Boy (Hip Hop Mix)
  18. Irie Ites - Billie Jean Riddim (Hip Hop Mix)
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Total votes : 8
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
The French Irie Ites record label has made an outstanding name for itself during the last five years or so with unfailingly top-quality productions. The latter included original riddims like "Borderline", "Zion", Take A Lick" and "Only Solution", but also relicks of classics such as Burning Spear's "Rocking Time", Culture's "Down In Jamaica", The Heptones' "Party Time" and John Holt's "Strange Things". So far the label has only released one drop roots riddims, but this time the people of the Irie Ites production crew have tried their hands at revitalizing a dancehall beat and again the result is fully satisfying.

The "Billie Jean" riddim first made a serious impact in the dance halls when the eclectic singer, deejay, rapper and whistler, Shinehead conquered the international reggae world in 1985 with his truly remarkable 12" single "Billie Jean / Mama Used To Say", which welded the Michael Jackson / Junior Giscombe songs onto an update of Bumps Oakley's obscure Studio One tune "Get A Lick". Apart from Shinehead himself who utilized the riddim for two other tracks, no other artist has voiced a tune on that particular riddim track. In the first half of the '90s, producer Bobby "Digital" Dixon used an updated version of the riddim for Cocoa Tea's "Party People", Yami Bolo's "Hot Stepping" and Garnet Silk's "Bless Me".

Now Irie Ites comes up with a faster version of the "Billie Jean" riddim, which has been voiced by label regulars Lutan Fyah, Spectacular and Keefaz as well as real big names such as Sizzla and Elephant Man. Surprisingly the roster of artists furthermore features Garfield Delano Spence better known as Konshens and -- surely unexpected -- roots artists Mark Wonder and Daddy Rings. The first part of the cd is made up of the 'Reggae Mix' of the riddim, then followed by the riddim's booming 'Hip Hop Mix', something Irie Ites has also done with some of their previous releases.

Sizzla, who also delivers the solid exclusive tune "Sexy Jean" on the 'Hip Hop Mix', gets things started with the hard hitting "Police Oppression". Konshens' "She Love Money" is a matching tune, while Lutan Fyah puts in a highly skilled performance on "I Bun Police". Mark Wonder once again shows that he's a very underrated artist as his "People Need Security" turns out to be an outstanding conscious effort. Spectacular is still seeking for wider recognition, but although "Born In The Ghetto" is a fairly decent tune it's obvious it won't be easy for him to achieve that goal very soon. In the '90s Daddy Rings was a very promising young singjay, but a signed exclusive contract with "Gussie" Clarke, which didn't allow him to record for other producers during a five year period, prevented him from breaking real big. His "Ganja Pipe" tune gives a glimpse of his skill and talent. In most of his songs Elephant Man doesn't have that much to tell, and the same goes for "Beatle Juice". However it's a real nice tune delivered in the Energy God's inimitable style, no more no less. The 'clean version' of the riddim rounds off the first part to make way for the, we have to admit, enjoyable Hip Hop versions.

The "Billie Jean Riddim" set is another fine release from the ever reliable Irie Ites camp.