Various artists album review
Riddim Driven ~ Mad Instruments
VP Records-Walboomers Music
May 18, 2003

Tracking list

  1. Mad Instruments (Dance) - Elephant Man
  2. Fire Fire - T.O.K.
  3. Hypocrite Friend - Beenie Man
  4. Bun Dem - Assassin
  5. Real Bad Man - Vybz Kartel
  6. Run No Gal - Tanto Metro & Devonte
  7. Indo - Ward 21 & Lady Saw
  8. Tekkon - Powerman
  9. Weed - Kiprich & Roundhead
  10. Fire Time - Capleton
  11. Bun Up - Elephant Man
  12. We Have Gal Long Time - Assassin
  13. Pum Pum - Ms. Thing
  14. Bad Man Tonic - Mr.G
  15. Gallis - Da'Ville (& Clean 'Mad Instruments'-riddim version)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 4/6

Few riddims have gained as much attention this year as the brand new riddim that is the first production of former Bodyguard selector Dane 'Fire Links' Johnson - built for him by UK riddim stalwart Paul 'Jazzwad' Yebuah - the 'Mad Instruments'-riddim now available in VP Records' Riddim Driven series. After the first dance instructions by Elephant Man who based his "Mad Instruments (Dance)" on the 1986 hit "Conga" by Gloria Estefan & the Miami Sound Machine, it's the current scorcher "Fire Fire" by always convincing T.O.K. that's not only ruling the dancehalls these days, but also THE tune on this uptempo, bubbling bass, heavy percussion and Miami Sound Machine influenced riddim, showcasing all their singing/harmonizing and DJ-ing strength. Beenieman's "Hypocrite Friend" is the next strong selection, followed by one of Assassin's two excellent takes on the riddim "Bun Dem" and Vybz Kartel's hardcore "Real Bad Man" before Tanto Metro & Devonte once again serve the more crossover approach with "Run No Gal" on which the hookline sounds awfully close to Elephant Man's delivery without the lisp. The combination of or should I say competition between Ward 21 & Lady Saw on the slack "Indo" works out very well, and more slackness comes from Powerman on his "Tekkon". Kiprich & Roundhead add with "Weed" yet another tune to the latters 'High Grade' tunes but one that deserves to be added. Capleton has a bashment / Ele influenced delivery and even gets vocodered on the at least familiar themed "Fire Time", Ele himself has a ragga-soca styled delivery on his anti-bowcat "Bun Up" before Assassin rides a more pounding version of the 'Mad Instruments'-riddim for his very fine "We Have Gal Long Time". And although there are enough slack tunes on this album, Ms.Thing beats them all by telling other members of the female gender to keep your "Pum Pum" muscle tight, learn fi make your man feel 'right in a tight (pun intended) take on the riddim. Mr.G, the artist formerly known as Goofy tells in "Bad Man Tonic" about smoking weed with his crew making you feel brand new, even quoting Bob Marley's "Them Belly Full" for the a hungry man is an angry man line. Da'Ville bigs up the one thing he needs most in his life, his high grade next to his girl in "Gallis" (rhyming here of course with chalice) using the melody of Madonna's 1984 classic "Material Girl" before he gives way to the clean version of this extremely infectious and danceable "Mad Instruments"-riddim.