Various artists album review
Riddim Driven ~ Hard Times
VP Records
December 14, 2004

Tracking list

  1. Living In Love - I Wayne
  2. Lonely Girl - Bascom X
  3. That Ghetto Girl - Richie Spice
  4. Mari-Wanna - Anthony Cruz
  5. Jah Is Worthy - Chuck Fender
  6. That Day Will Come - Capleton
  7. Silver And Gold - Luciano
  8. Troubled Heart - George Nooks
  9. The More I See Her - Junior Kelly
  10. Hello World - Cezar
  11. More Than Confused - Latoya
  12. One World - Kulcha Knox
  13. World Wide Recognition - Marcus I
  14. Lion Nah Run - Iyts A Flames
  15. Hard Times Riddim (Clean Riddim Version)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Probably topping almost everyone's list as the riddim of the year, and if not at least topping almost everyone's list of roots-riddims of the year (not mine though, for me Don Corleon's 'Drop Leaf' is the #1) is this one-drop riddim produced by Stephen 'Gibbo' Gibson (son of legendary producer Joe Gibbs) and the late Errol 'ET' Thompson - formerly together known with Gibbo's father Joe Gibbs as legendary production couple 'The Mighty 2' - who died just a couple of weeks ago and whose obituary can be found on these pages with the Spanish styled guitar riff, and its bubbling bass. Featuring both newcomers of the year, "Can't Satisfy Her" I Wayne with the smashing "Living In Love" and Bascom X with the vocally poppier styled "Lonely Girl". As well as the core members of the crew of the year Fifth Element and probably for the first and last the comebacks or breakthroughs of the year Richie Spice with the lovers tune "That Ghetto Girl", Anthony Cruz with the ganja tune disguised as lovers rock i am in love with this girl named named "Mari- (and i) Wanna" as well as former badman Chuck Fender with "Jah Is Worthy". Another tune ruling the dancehalls on this riddim is Capleton's excellent "That Day Will Come" a.k.a. "Small World", and it's followed by Luciano's great "Silver And Gold" and the equally strong "Troubled Heart" by George Nooks. Junior Kelly's "The More I See Her" is the only disappointing tune for me, being fine, but nothing more than that. Newcomers Cezar with "Hello World" and Latoya with "More Than Confused" deliver very fine tunes, that might kick off their careers, with cultural DJ Kulcha Knox, who rose to fame during the 'Garnett Silk'-era of cultural productions reclaiming the dancehall might start hoping for a comeback with this "One World". Marcus I with his sweet voice tells about his hope for "World Wide Recognition" before the vocal tunes on this excellent one riddim album are brought to a close by Iyts A Flames convincing singjaying about the rastaman who as a "Lion Nah Go Run". Even better is that VP Records finally has given some thought to my regular complaint in comparison to main competitor Greensleeves about not including a separate track with a clean riddim version, because there is one here, showcasing how unbelievably brilliant this 'Hard Times'-riddim on the Gibbo-label is, on this absolutely-must-have-one-riddim-album.