Reggae Gold 2012
June 30, 2012
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3|
Big things a gwan right now. There are a slew of new releases and compilations to commemorate Jamaica's 50 year independence and the wealth of music within that time. This year is also the 20th anniversary of VP Record's hugely successful yearly roundup, "Reggae Gold". It is a double CD affair that upturns many roots and branches.
Disc 1 opens up with Sean Paul's She Doesn't Mind off his most recent album, 'Tomahawk Technique'. Sean Paul has never looked back since his "Dutty Rock" days. He has put out hit after hit and made millions for Atlantic Records. His tunes are party friendly but cannot be classified into one type of Jamaican music. Objectively speaking, this hit is lyrics lite with thoroughly computerized beats that appeals to mainstream Massive. Popcaan is a Dancehall newcomer; mashing up the charts for the last few years. His Only Man She Want offers up a unique vocal delivery that is hidden by abstract beats. Potential Kidd is a rising star from Trenchtown. He has a mad delivery reminiscent of early Red Dragon. His Yuh Suh Nice spent weeks at number one in the JA charts and is still bubblin' in the top 25! Released in Dec, 2011 on Natral Enterprise. Boomshot riddimwise.
Konshens shows up twice with Gal A Bubble and Do Sum'n. Both are hip shakers, with the former more formulated. His recent "Mental Assasin" album is mashing up the nations. Konshens was schooled by Vybz Kartel and Jah Vinci. The mood mellows with Chris Martin's Cheater's Prayer, complete with real instruments and a rich, soulful voice. Born in Buck Pasture JA in 1987; his career took off after winning Digicell's Rising Star Talent Show. The magic continues with Busy Signal's Come Over dub cut off his 2012 EP "Reggae Music Dubb'n Again". Mixed by legend Errol Brown and son Shane, this is his best effort yet, no doubtings anymore! Pure modern Reggae Musik with great backing from a crack team of musicians including Donald "Firehouse" Dennis. Another Shane Brown production is Etana's Reggae, poignant track of musical love. Born Shauna Mckenzie, she burst out in 2005 with "Roots" and a debut album, "Strong One" that became her nickname. She began singing as backup for Richie Spice on tour.
Iba Mahr (Humble & Calm) is a standout surprise. Will I Wait In Vain off a debut 2011 EP is epic. It's irie to see pure Rasta can still mash it in the Dancehall dominated charts. Iba has appeared at Tony Rebel's "Rebel Salute" (only the best are invited) and has a strong future. He has recorded for Max Romeo's Charmax label and Xterminator label. The best track on the first disc is the Busy Signal/Jr.Gong Kingston Town. The combination is impeccable with polished drum and bass that has an Alborosie feel to it. Play this again and again! Romain Virgo's I Know Better fresh off his latest "The System" is the real deal. He made a name fe himself with his self titled debut album and has signed a big contract with VP. This tune crackles with ghetto knowledge and a witty and smooth style. The "Rume Ramme King" got his start winning Digcell's Talent Show in 2007.
Cham is a big name on the charts, but Wine has no substance. He has garnered enough buzz to sign with Atlantic Records, alongside Sean Paul. Gyptian's Overtime is a gal love song that works despite the vocoder style. Born Widel Edwards in 1983, he started singing at 7 and won Star Search Talent Show in 2004 that fostered three quality albums. Melanie Fiona adds a R&B touch with Like I Love You. The Canadian songstress is currently nominated for a BET Best Female R&B Artist Award on July 1st. Great vocal depth on a driving riddim. Tarrus Riley continues to mature. Not Missing You is a slower paced ballad that sounds eerily like his legendary father, Jimmy. Top honours on this yah one. Beres Hammond has appeared on numerous "Reggae Gold" outings. Keeping It Real is a Sly/Robbie masterpiece that has Mr. Zap Pow bringing back Studio One days. Bless you, Beres, for keeping Reggae intact fe years. The ever smooth Terry Linen closes out disc one with the silky I Look To You, an R. Kelly cover produced by Lloyd Campbell.
Side Two is a special bonus that showcases the Dancehall of years past. Wayne Wonder was born in Bull Bay in 1972. He was produced briefly by King Tubby and moved on to Donovan Germain's Penthouse Records. It was Wayne that brought in a young Buju Banton and even penned his controversial hit, "Boom Bye Bye". No Letting Go from 2002 is a Steve "Lenky" Marsden driver that climbed to Number 11 on the Top 100! Sean Paul comes back again with the monster Temperature that appeared on Jah Snowcone Records in 2008; on the charts for weeks. Beenie "The Maestro" Man dishes up Romie, a delicious slice that cyaan done. Even with the recent death of his father, he has two hits in the Jamaica 25; still going strong. 38 year old Bounty Killer is an icon. He started out yardcore fullup of reality and slack. He currently is more on the positive and clean and his Alliance Crew abides by good "morals and characters". After a brief retirement, he's back. Benz and Bimma is an early hit, depicting the lure of fame and fortune on youth -- massive tone! General Degree is top pedigree. Born Cardiff Butt, he has a trailer load of humorous hits; When I Hold You Tonight boasts one of Steely & Clevie's best riddims ever! He is currently active as artist and promoter.
Mr. Vegas' Heads High is a classic from the album of the same name in 1998. So much talent; so many hits. He has remained quiet until his just released "Sweet Jamaica", an ode to reggae and Dancehall that is already climbing the Billboard Top 100. I-Wayne's Can't Satisfy Her spent 22 weeks on the Billboard R&B Top 100, pure niceness! Note: as a youth, he was raised by legend Ansel Collins. Sizzla's output is incredible; always something new. Sometimes great, sometimes good. Just One Of Those Days ranks up there with "Waterhouse Redemption (Jammys). A Digital B production with fine backing from The Firehouse Crew. Queen Ifrica and Tanya Stephens offer up magic here also. The disc winds down with Morgan Heritage's Down By The River. A spiritual good feel anthem over a Studio One riddim with production from Dean Frazer. The siblings of Denroy "Black Eagle" Morgan have always put out consistently roots musik.
The "Reggae Gold' series has come a long way. The Chin family started the label in the early 1980's and built it into a dynasty. "Miles ahead In Reggae Music" is top notch, with connections all over Creation. "Reggae Gold 2012" does shine. It's 33 tracks offer something for everyone; from the most discerning ear to someone who is not familiar with Jamaican Music. There are a few fillers on Disc One, but Disc Two is superior. It's crucial to see how much emotion was delivered in earlier Dancehall than today (no disrespect to rising artists - talent galore). It is interesting to see the current direction. Recommendable.