Question? Riddim
Germaican Digital
Digital Release
February 19, 2011

Question? Riddim - Various Artists Track list
  1. Jah Mason - Fire 2011
  2. Ward 21 - Junmp & Skip
  3. Dr Ring Ding - Polish Vodka
  4. Shabu & Rebellion - Keep Me Original
  5. JrBanton & Mandingo - Daggadang
  6. Tom Hype - Euros
  7. Las Balkanieras - Mladen
  8. Cheeba - Wysokie Loty
  9. Sanjin & Youthman - Vadim Pistolj
  10. Dreadsquad - Question? Riddim
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Vocals : 3/4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
Upliftment Int'l from Leipzig, Gemany, enters the producers arena, after having gained experience in the studio by producing their mixes and dubs. Actually it was just a matter of time until this soundsystem crew would start releasing their very own voicings. And now it finally happens with their official debut release, With the "Question?" riddim, which has been laid by Dreadsquad from Lodz, Poland.

Recycling classic riddims is a well-known phenomenon in Jamaican popular music, and that's exactly what the "Question?" riddim is all about. It's a remake of the "Answer" riddim, originally underpinning Slim Smith's Studio One single "I'll Never Let You Go" from 1967 and slightly refurbished appearing again when Lone Ranger's "The Answer" was unleashed by Studio One in 1977. Since then it has become one of the most versioned riddims. Some 44 years after Slim Smith's "I'll Never Let You Go", more than 200 versions have seen the light of day, including recuts produced by Bunny "Striker" Lee, Joseph Hoo Kim, George Phang, Winston Riley, Tappa Zukie, Henry "Junjo" Lawes, Donovan Germain, Bobby Konders, and, of course, the most recent from Upliftment Int'l.

The "one riddim" set kicks off in fine style with two Jamaican acts. First there's Jah Mason's solid "Fire 2011", actually an updated version of the single that was released in 1999 on the Shakes label, followed by Ward 21's matching "Jump & Skip", which already appeared on the Superfly Studio Poland imprint in 2010, and can be regarded as the start of this project. Then the set continues with efforts from homegrown European talent of whom veteran Dr. Ring Ding is an internationally known artist, who first performed by the name of Prof. Richie Senior as trombonist in a German ska band named El Bosso Und Die Ping Pongs. Christmas 1992, he founded the band Dr. Ring Ding & The Senior Allstars, which dissolved in October 2002. Dr. Ring Ding, who often utilizes a toasting style, also enjoyed chart success, most notably with "Doctor's Darling" in 2003. Here he bigs up "Polish Vodka", for which he uses the melody of the children's nursery song "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands" in the refrain.

From Spain comes the duo Shabu & Rebellion the Recaller, whose mediocre "Keep Me Original" contains Spanish as well as English lyrics. For the 'old skool' sounding dancehall piece "Daggadang", Germany's own Junior Banton has teamed up with gravel-voiced deejay Mandigo from Denmark and the final result is worth hearing. Next drops a nice tune from Austrian reggae singjay Tom Hype, who sings all lyrics of his cut in Patois except for the title word "Euros". Las Balkanieras, three beautiful women originating from the Mediterranean side of the Balkans and from Russia but currently residing in Düsseldorf, Germany, have created quite a buzz with their music which can best described as Turbo-Electro-Folk-Pop with Dancehall influences. Partly sung in their native language and English, they turn their lovers tune called "Mladen" into an appealing 'poppy' affair. Cheeba of Eastwest Rockers from Wroclaw, Poland, calls his contribution to the riddim "Wysokie Loty" which means "Fly High" like the dance of Upliftment Int'l. He has a nice flow across the riddim, but his lyrics are impossible to follow unless you're able to understand Polish. The same goes for the combination song "Vadim Pistolj" from Sanjin & Youthman.

Dreadsquad's clean version of the riddim rounds off a decent collection of tunes on a contemporary version of the immortal "Answer" riddim.