Various artists album review
Red Star Sounds Presents Def Jamaica
Island Def Jam Music Group - Universal
14 - 10 - 2002
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 5|
Ever since the first hiphop tracks were laid in the US, hiphop and reggae have been affiliated. Now generally accepted is even the thought there might never have been hiphop without the Jamaican deejay phenomenon and the soundsystem culture. The last few months have seen an ever increasing crossover appeal of dancehall, especially riding the "Diwali" riddim, and a bigger than ever before merger of hiphop and dancehall artists riding the same hybrid riddims not only on their own but combination-style as well. There have been various remixes and relicks of hiphop beats by reggae/dancehall artists and dancehall beats by rappers over the years, but this is a more coherent and balanced effort in my opinion. With a lot of real top-ranking contributors from both styles, dancehall bringing on producers and musicians like Donovan 'Vendetta' Bennett, Tony 'CD' Kelly, Stephen Marley, Steven 'Lenky' Marsden, Sly & Robbie, Dave Kelly and Delano from Renaissance, the voices of Wayne Marshall, Vybz Kartel, Wayne Wonder, Lexxus, Tanto Metro & Devonte, Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley, Buju Banton, T.O.K., DYCR, Elephant Man, Baby Cham, Sean Paul (whose popularity riding both dancehall riddims, and being featured on hiphop and r&b tunes reaching the upper regions of the charts may well have been crucial for this whole project), Beenie Man and Vegas, and hiphop adding absolute top-ranking artists like Capone, N.O.R.E., Method Man, Redman, Scarface, Ghostface Killah, Jay-Z and DMX, with some more r&b added by Sisqo, Pharrell and the like. Probably the best known track with reggae listeners, most played by soundsystems and on radioshows, is the second of the album "Anything Goes", a real hybrid of a modern dancehall and hiphop r&b tune, that kicks in after the more hiphoppish opening track. I think the "Mardi Gras" remix over what is a fine middle-far-east influenced uptempo dancehall riddim following it might be the surprise track growing on you after a few more spins. The use of some of the "Buy Out" riddim doesn't prevent "Na Na Na Na" from being less adventurous than some other selections. Buju is typically his own strong self on "Sweetness", and other standout tracks for me are "Murda", "Girls Callin'", the semi-instrumental "Nah Mean" and all 3 bonus tracks and probably so many standouts in my opinion already make clear that this album is a strong overall collection profiting from the strengths of both genres. More about this album for DJs, dancehall-addicts and all who got curious now can be found "here"Souljah.