Remakes ~ Come Again (Greetings To All Raggamuffin)
Various/South Rakkas Crew
South Rakkas Entertainment, Inc. / P-Vine Records
July 28, 2007 (Japan) / January 2008 (Rest of the world)
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4/5|
If you, like me, still haven't gotten tired
of the digital 80s remakes rode by Phenom Melody on his last
week reviewed "Style-Generator" album, then this album is what you want (and will hardly be able
to get). Orlando's South Rakkas Crew return with
the smashing set "Remakes ~ Come Again (Greetings To All Raggamuffin)"
that was released in Japan on P-Vine Records July 28th (2007) and will be
released in the rest of the world in Januari 2008. Last year they
impressed heavily with their 'Chinkuzi'-riddim - or should I say riddims
('Chinkuzi'-riddim, 'Chinkuzi's Roller Girl Special'-riddim, 'Chinkuzi's
Revenge'-riddim, 'Chinkuzi's Sweet 16'-riddim and 'Chinkuzi's No
Virgin'-riddim) - as Vol. 2 in their independent Riddim Riddin series.
Following this (of Jamaican Canadians in Florida - Dennis 'Dow Jones'
Shaw and Alex 'Alex G.' Greggs - consisting South Rakkas Crew)
production outfit's earlier two big riddims released in Greensleeves
Rhythm Album series: 'Clappas' and
its successor 'Red Alert',
and their riddim 'Bionic Ras',
probably best described as a 2-step / speedgarage riddim, the kind
normally blaring from carspeakers and estates in Harlesden in North West
London and probably a tad too wild for the dancehall massive, is another
riddim as much influenced by electronic dance music, breakbeat, hip hop
and Miami-bass, described by Dow Jones himself as South Rakkas stripped
down and built around an infectious groove, they showed getting in the
different variations of their latest 'Chinkuzi'
to be influenced by Miami bass, the UK-style of 2-step/speedgarage that
was so obviously present in their 'Bionic Ras'-riddim, soca and slick US
R&B as well as Madonna's "Like A Virgin". And now like Phenom Melody they
show how much fun showing off the inspiration gotten from the early
digital dancehall days can be.|
Getting in one of the truly big tunes on their 'Clappas'-riddim first, (which in fact, strongly inspired by "Spirit In The Sky", Norman Greenbaum's worldwide pop hit from 1968, was an uptempo, superphat street beat, a sort of swinging adaptation of the 'Sleng Teng') Mr. Vegas, Alozade and Hollow Point's "Under Mi Sensi (Retro Remix)", paying full tribute to Wayne Smith' seminal "Under Mi Sleng Teng" here over a wicked remix of King Jammy's - the riddim that started the whole new digital era of reggae - 'Sleng Teng'. Jigsy King then phenomenally revisits a wonderful heavy dancehall mix of Roy Richards' 1970 scorcher 'Freedom Blues' for the follow-up to his immensely popular "Gimme The Weed" from 1995 on the same riddim for the powerful ganja tune "Keep The Vibes Pumpin'" before Mr. Perfect delivers a stunning version of Half Pint's 1986 Powerhouse classic "Greetings" over a bubbling mix inspired by the George Phang version for Powerhouse of the Studio One in 1968 recorded 'Heavenless' after not only his trademark giddimani in the intro but also South Rakkas Crew vocodered almost cut-up trademark intro Mr. Perfect & South Rakkas Crew lending this album its subtitle, pure brilliance.
Completely mystic is the lyrical content of Arare's "Love Letter" with the Japanese sounding very strange but intriguing over a great mix of the riddim Lester Sterling & Don Drummond recorded in 1968 at Studio One 'African Beat', followed by Beenie Man's very impressive reality tune "Have You Ever" over the Techniques' Treasure Isle riddim 'Love Is Not A Gamble' with an almost subsonic bassline and South Rakkas Crew Canadian DJ Kid Foreigner with a flawless "Come Test Me" over a pumped up version of Winston Riley's classic 'Stalag' riddim. David King delivers a very rootsy take on Junior Byles' classic "Fade Away" over an electro-dub-roots (how else to describe it?) mix of the Channel One riddim, before Mr. Easy together with Sandy Smith takes on Beres Hammond's "What One Dance Can Do" over a very poppy sounding yet fabulous reworking of the Tennors' 1967 'Pressure & Slide' Studio One riddim, also known (after the 1978 Sugar Minott Studio One scorcher) as 'Oh Mr. DC' i.e. District Constable, which is also used by Lukie D for his great lovers tune "In My Dreams".
CÚCile joins Jigsy King for the magnificent combination "All Night (Too Hot To Handle)" across the Simon Harris version (Asher D & Daddy Freddy's "Rough And Rugged") of Gussie Clarke's 'Rumours' a.k.a. 'Telephone Love'-riddim and the next combination following is riding King Jammy's 'Punnany', with South Rakkas Crew production coordinator on several of their riddims and also on this album Ninja Kid counteracting Jaymarie's sweet vocals in the "Gal Dem Song". Steely & Clevie in 1991 built for Gussie Clarke at his then ruling Music Works studio the riddim for the Shabba Ranks & Krystal hit 'Twice My Age' that now gets a truly superb treatment by Sandy Smith alongside Jigsy King as "Big Man She Want (Twice My Age)" and by the South Rakkas Crew as producers that is so wicked you can hardly believe it. Gargamel recording artist i.e. Buju Banton prodigy New Kidz is doing exactly what he promises in "Get Mad Again" over a wicked electro-vibe mix of Shocking Vibes' 'Yu Dead Now'-riddim made famous in 1991 by Tiger, before the to me unknown Clever Lee with "Knock Down The Door" and Tenor Saw sound-a-like Bunny General with "This Is The Song" doing Tenor Saw's "Pumpkin Belly" both join in the 'Sleng Teng' fun on this album.
Germaican Records' Ill Inspecta once more shows he's made it to the international ranks riding the wicked South Rakkas mix of Steely & Clevie's 'Poco Man Jam' giving his rendition of Shabba Ranks' "Trailor Load" before Germaican Records booking artist and one of the toughest female DJs storming the scene now Lexie Lee rides the same riddim for the very entertaining "Bye Bye Bye". DJ Bigga Boss delivers the scorcher "Rakkas Class Of '85" over an in your face mix of Sugar Minott's "Herbman Hustling" complete with flashbacks of 80s MC's asking smoke no ganja in our place or white escort license plate DHST move it or lose it and cease and sekkle rewinds and gunshots before the South Rakkas Crew show the pure genius of their approach in the "Get Mad Again (Big Fun Remix)" in which a (by South Rakkas Crew themselves) rebuilt version of Inner City's big 1988 Detroit techno chartbuster "Big Fun" is the foundation beneath New Kidz vocals, absolutely brilliant. South Rakkas Crew approach for this "Remakes ~ Come Again (Greetings To All Raggamuffin)" might not have been as purist as that of Phenom Melody for "Style-Generator", but this as much a must have tribute to the early days of digital dancehall, given the South Rakkas twist and guaranteeing at least (if not even more) as much fun. MUST BUY! as soon as it's released outside of Japan...