Various artists album review
Riddim Driven ~ Career
VP Records-Walboomers Music
April 13, 2004

Tracking list

  1. Bow - Baby Cham
  2. Back It Up - Wayne Wonder & Spragga Benz
  3. Paint Brush - Bounty Killer
  4. Come A Me - Tanto Metro & Devonte
  5. Hot????? - Elephant Man
  6. Slam All - Beenie Man
  7. Mi A Di Man - Kiprich
  8. Have U Own Things - Chico
  9. Flossing - Chempe
  10. Fi Di Gal Dem - Showkuru
  11. Get It Back - Vybz Kartel
  12. Reggae Party - Rik Rok
  13. Tatoo - Cobra & Voicemail
  14. Need Fi Know Ya - Tanya Stephens
  15. Know We - Bling Dawg (& Clean 'Career'-riddim version)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Produced by Troy McLean and Garfield Hamilton of First Name Music, the team that also gave us the Steely & Clevie built "Greensleeves Rhythm Album #17 ~ Herbalist / Energy" and "Greensleeves Rhythm Album #32 ~ Threat" as well as several tracks featured on the Jamdown compilations "Dancehall Hits 2001", "Dancehall Explosion 2001", "Reggae Explosion 2002", and "Dancehall Explosion 2002", this release in VP Records acclaimed Riddim Driven series features their 'Career'-riddim, built by Troy McLean himself and hitriddim-builder Christopher 'Longman' Birch of 'Scorcher', 'Blazing' (the riddim featured on the first (!) Riddim Driven compilation early 2001), 'Bonzi', 'Tunda Klap' (the riddim built for Delano and his Renaissance Crew) and most of all 'Sexy Lady' and 'Salsa' fame, with some additional phrasing by more riddim-builders extraordinaire Richard 'Shams' Browne and Jazzwad. The riddim is bouncy and very danceable, but what grabs me most, is the string-pattern in the background, that must have been sampled from or built after the first 4 long notes of the 1875 "Dance Macabre" composition by Camille Saint-SaŽns. It's got one of those irresistable synth hooks on top of it, and it's a guaranteed dancefloor filler. Strong tracks on the riddim as well, from Baby Cham (who supposedly didn't notify First Name and VP Records he wants to get rid of the 'Baby' part in his name) who kicks off the album with "Bow", followed by "Back It Up" a very fine 'gal you turn me on'-combination by Wayne Wonder and Spragga Benz. The riddim also fits Bounty Killer's powerful "Paint It Brush" like a glove. One of the duos you can always rely on, Tanto Metro & Devonte, deliver the wonderful poppy combination "Come A Me". Elephant Man visits Karen Young's 1978 disco smash "Hot Shot" rebuilding it substituting shot to get real slack. The riddim is so strong, even a lesser Beenie Man track like "Slam All" still sounds like a very good tune. Kiprich contributes the entertaining "Mi A Di Man" that ended up on the double a-sided 7" w/ Zumjay's "Party All Night", before one of my favorites Chico delivers, deviating from his normal party lyrics, the strong "Have U Own Things, that is the a-side of the 7" also featuring the fine tune following it, Chempe's "Flossing". Showkuru is the next newcomer riding the riddim for his "Fi Di Gal Dem", before one of dancehall's biggest artists at the moment Vybz Kartel tells about badmen robbing lyrics in "Get It Back", before Shaggy side-kick Rik Rok delivers the lightfooted "Reggae Party with the nowadays inevitable vocoder chipping in a couple of times. Voicemail's (don't ask me why any artist would choose that name) sweet with a ruff edge voice is the perfect counter-pressure for Mad Cobra in their excellent "Tatoo". It is of course no surprise that the next track "Need Fi Know Ya" is a killer tune, once you know it's Tanya Stephens take on the riddim, in which she shows being the female challenger for Elephant Man by using for the hookline Donna Summer's 1975 smash hit "Love To Love You Baby". Final tune on the CD is again (as on the last week reviewed "Chrome" left for Ricky Rudie a.k.a. Bling Dawg finishing the album with "Know We" before the transition to the clean riddim version. Additional tracks on the vinyl version are Zumjay's "Party All Night", KC Jockey's "All Over Me", and yet another strong Wayne Marshall smoker's tune simply called "Smoke" and Madd Anju's "Give It To Dem". Excellent riddim from First Name Music with plenty of strong tunes over it.