100% Dynamite NYC
Soul Jazz Records-Munich
March 24, 2009
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4||Production : 4||Sound quality : 4/5||Sleeve : 5|
From the renown reissue label Soul Jazz Records comes a well packaged double cd called "100% Dynamite NYC". It's subtitled "Dancehall Reggae Meets Rap In New York City" and one could call it a near to essential guide to the dancehall reggae/hip-hop clash that ruled New York in the early 1990s as artist like Shinehead, Supercat, Mad Lion, Bobby Konders and many more rewrote the rules of dancehall, reggae and rap.
From Kool Herc onwards, Jamaicans who grew up in New York City have played pivotal roles in the development of the city’s musical identity. Hip-Hop, born in the Bronx, was always hot-wired to Jamaica and in the 1990s the two became inextricably joined when reggae met rap in New York City. In the early 1990s, Jamaican dancehall - including artists from this home-grown New York scene - became the subject of close scrutiny by the US major record industry who, having made vast profits from hip-hop, searched out Jamaican or Jamaican-descended artists who could potentially crossover into the vast US hip-hop market. Jamaican dancehall artists were signed to big US contracts (Yellowman, Supercat, Capleton, Shabba Ranks). And New York, previously a satellite town of Kingston for visiting Jamaican artists, but now with its own unique dancehall scene became a focal point as artists such as Shinehead, Red Foxx, Jamal-Ski, Mad Lion, and others were quickly signed up to major record companies.
One of the best known artists on this compilation is Shinehead. He emerged out of New York's African Love Soundsystem and was the first New York based reggae artist to break out of the local scene with his hit 'Billy Jean', a splendid blend of a rare Upsetters riddim track and Michael Jackson's megahit... still a guaranteed floorfiller! Here he brings us two tunes, Know How Fe Chat and the popular Rough And Rugged, the latter being a straight cut to the 'Diseases' riddim. The (commercially) most successful New York dancehall artist is Shaggy, an ex-marine who had served in the first Gulf War. His ability to blend his Jamaican roots with US pop music provided him with huge commercial success. 'Oh Carolina' was a hit from the beginning of his career and he's still enjoying nuff success both in Jamaica and New York. Mattress Jockey is his song here. It's a heavily hip hop flavored tune from producer Bobby Konders. The riddim of 'Oh Carolina' is also used for Zig Zag Stitch by Nikey Fungus.
Supercat was the second true Jamaican dancehall artist - after the unforgettable Yellowman - to have a major US release with his album 'Don Dadda' in 1992. Born in Kingston in 1966 he served many soundsystems and he charted with tunes like 'Boops' and 'Trash and Ready' in the mid 80s, working with producers such as Winston Riley and King Jammy. In the early 90s he moved to New York. Don Dadda was written to warn off contenders to his throne like Shabba, Ninjaman and Cutty Ranks. Also from Kingston came Louie Rankin. He had a huge reggae hip hop crossover hit with Type writer. Mad Lion - his tune is called Love Woman So - is a frequent collaborator with KRS-One, who is perhaps the one main hip-hop artists to join the dots between US hip-hop and Jamaican reggae.
Although the majority of tunes here are hip-hop-dancehall productions, there's a nice reggae drop by Jah Batta and Skatee. In a typical Wackies production Jah Batta and Skatee deliver a solid old-skool outing! More or less the same goes for Ken Albert with Gunshot. Over a classic mid 80s digital riddim he delivers a good effort.
All in all we can say that this is a decent and well balanced collection of tunes, not suited for the traditional reggae purist, but if you like hip-hop and dancehall NYC style, check out this collection.