Ride The Rhythm ~ Hail The I
Cou$ins Records - Black Arrow
June 26, 2007

Track list
  1. The World We're Living In - Erup
  2. Let's Go (Africa) - Capleton
  3. African People - Sizzla
  4. Hail The I - Izes
  5. One Love - Luciano
  6. Unto Thee O Lord - Sanchez & Anju Genius
  7. Love Yourself - Turbulence
  8. If Life Aint Good Enough - Norris Man
  9. God Bless You - Michael Andrew
  10. Wonderful World - Fya Kin, I Lyons, Ras Penco & King Imauny
  11. I Just Wanna Get Home - Anthony Cruz
  12. Girl You Got Me - Chicago
  13. Hail The I (Instrumental) - Stefan & Sean Shelton a.k.a. Riddim Kings
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
Following the dropping of two albums on the heels of each other in the Rhythm 2 Rhythm Series in august last year, with its 4th volume 'Watch This Sound & What A Feeling' and its 5th "Volume 5 ~ Warrior Charge & Drum Song", Cou$ins Records producer Donville Davis - who had already proven he's capable of relicking classic riddims in fine style with 'Rocksteady & Beatitude' and the strong various artists albums "Strictly One Drop Vol. 1", "JA2UK Singers Vol. 3" and last year also "A Tribute 2 Studio One & Treasure Isle Records" - also showed a nose for picking the right riddims to license on the three various artists compilations, as "Strictly One Drop Vol. 1"'s inclusion of CJ James 'Without Love'-riddim and of course Donovan 'Vendetta' Bennett's 'Heavenly' and then on 'Mo-Bay' & 'Desperate Lover' two riddims from Byron Murray's In The Streetz label were featured, strange as it may seem with In The Streetz not only being an outlet for Byron Murray's own productions like the very successful first attempt at a one drop 'Street Swing' but through their Rhythm Streetz Series Byron Murray (and Mr. Vegas) also released on CD and LP some extremely successful riddims by other extremely hot producers. Then Cou$ins Records released its 8th volume of the Rhythm 2 Rhythm Series "From Creation / Real Iron" compiling two older selections from UK producer Steve Martin a.k.a. Blacker Dread with the 'Real Iron' from 2003 and 'From Creation' from 1998 (though earlier in 1984 recorded).

Now Cou$ins Records only 2 weeks after that release kicks off a new series (?) of one riddim instead of two riddim albums called Ride The Rhythm with "Hail The I" featuring the first riddim on the Riddim Kings label produced by Stefan & Sean Shelton a.k.a the Riddim Kings. They produced this wicked Nyahbinghi riddim with its strange broken chord almost off-key piano riff joining the acoustic guitar and funny synth melodies sounding very fresh and because of its heavy bassline also very powerful. Relative newcomer Kevin Saunders a.k.a. Erup, who finally came through with his hit song "Gal A Run Dem Head", kicks off this set with the beautiful "The World We're Living In", followed by great tunes by both Capleton with his repatriation tune "Let's Go (Africa)" and Sizzla reaching out to "African People". But the biggest surprise on this set comes when Adrian Christopher Marshall a.k.a. Izes sings the magnificent title track "Hail The I", known until now as the guy who created the hardcore dancehall riddims 'Applause' produced by Rohan 'Snow Cone' Fuller and 'Global' produced by Dane 'Fire Links' Johnson he shows he is a extremely talented rasta singer who will surely be recording as many tunes in the future as building riddims.

Whether the riddim is that strong that every artist seems to deliver full in your face tunes or whether the riddim inspired them to do so I don't know, but the fact is that Luciano with "Only Love" and Sanchez in a great combination with DJ Anju Genius "Unto Thee O Lord" sound very impressive, and so do Turbulence with "Love Yourself" on which he goes 'Sizzla-falsetto'-style and its his hookline-melody that's borrowed for the piano riff and Norris Man with the thoughtful "If Life Ain't Good Enough". 22 year old newcomer Micheal Andrew, who did some deejaying at age 14 for Jeremy '2 Hard' Harding, returned 2 years ago after 6 years in Florida to his native Jamaica to pursue a career in music and delivers the soulful "God Bless You" followed by the beautiful 'posse cut' "Wonderful World" by Fifth Element Records' newcomers Fya Kin and Ras Penco with I Lyons & King Imauny.

Crooner Anthony Cruz contributes the beautiful lovers tune "I Just Wanna Get Home" before on the last vocal tune of this very strong one riddim album newcomer Chicago impresses with his convincingly and heartfelt singjayed story about no longer being a pimp and a player because of his new B-A-B-Y telling her "Girl You Got Me". It's nothing more than justice that this original twist on a Nyahbinghi riddim by the Riddim Kings (Mark II - for me Sly & Robbie will always be THE Riddim Kings) gets the full attention in its clean "Hail The I (Instrumental)" version and I sure do hope this riddim will get the full attention it deserves from all reggae buyers as well.