Riddim Driven ~ Shaddowz
VP Records-Groove Attack
January 18, 2008

Track list
    'Darker Shaddow'-riddim
  1. Brown Bottle - Mavado
  2. My Scheme - Vybz Kartel
  3. Own Order - Anthony B
  4. Dem Dead - Aidonia
  5. Everyday - Singing Sweet
    'Dark Again'-riddim
  6. Slow Singing - Mavado
  7. Empire Army - Vybz Kartel
  8. Empty - Aidonia
  9. In A Dem Place - Chino
  10. Jah Protect Me - Busy Signal
  11. Carry News - Assassin
  12. Nuh Permission - Vybz Kartel
  13. Buk U Up - Shawn Storm
  14. Ay Ya Ay Ya - Black Ryno
  15. Street Sitt'n - Busy Signal
  16. Bruk It Off - Kari Jess
  17. Fan An Cool It - Elephant Man
Rate this album!
Cast your vote below.

Essential -Votes: 9-
Very Good -Votes: 1-
Good -Votes: 1-
Average -Votes: 2-
Disappointing -Votes: 0-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 0-

Total votes : 13
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3/4
VP Records have followed suit after Greensleeves decided to concentrate on reissuing lots of albums from their back catalogue and even newly acquired ones, apart from a couple of new artist albums releases, with Greensleeves seeming to win the reissue battle, but VP Records releasing the bigger (dancehall) artist albums. And although VP Records haven't (yet?) called it curtains for their Riddim Driven series (as Greensleeves seemed to have done for their Greensleeves Rhythm Albums until the sudden release one month ago of "#83 ~ Airwaves") they have certainly slowed down with releases (with 15 to 20 releases annually in 2004, 2005 and 2006 but only 8 in 2007), but what they do release still is top class. As is this latest Riddim Driven release for the true hardcore dancehall massive "Shaddowz", two riddims - of which one appears in two different versions - produced by Stephen 'Di Genius' McGregor, Freddie McGregor's only 17 years old son, who in a controversial row 2 years ago left his mentor Scatta, to be associated then with Delly Ranx' Di Ranx Productions stable mainly, which is no suprise if you check Di Ranx' 'Red Bull & Guinness', 'Red Bull & Guinness ~ The Mixture' and 'Ghetto Whiskey', but besides he hit big for Michael 'Liquid' Brissett's H2O-label (originally a Donovan 'Vendetta' Bennett spin-off) with '12 Gauge' built in Freddie's Big Ship Studio (where he took over the rudder), he also produced a couple of big riddims for his father's Big Ship label, like last year's 'Power Cut' and 'Tremor'-riddim both released in VP Records Riddim Driven Series. Right now Stephen McGregor is one of the biggest names to watch as producer in modern dancehall alongside Don Corleon a.k.a. Donovan 'Vendetta' Bennett and the Serani-triumvirate and he is by far the youngest, so his best might be yet to come.

And like the other riddims produced by Stephen 'Di Genius' McGregor just mentioned, this is another set with that 'cold' dark vibe he usually gives his productions, something that has been perfectly fitting 'Gangsta For Life' Mavado so far in his career and his truly impressive ganja and booze (in this case Hennessy) tune "Brown Bottle" over the 'Darker Shaddow'-riddim proves that, followed by the 'explyricist' Vybz Kartel whose "My Scheme" after its Stephen u too damn evil / mi nah no change a change / a so mi grow a so mi grow / mi no go below a so mi a so mi grow / foreignas if unu neva kno ask di tourist board / bout my scheme-intro in its chorus explains how we bun di sodomite / love di p*u**y but we neva neva bite before warning watch weh u walk u coulda vanish inna di nite / head a take off like a tourist pon a flight / nuh dead by accident wi buss him head fi spite in his inimitable style shows how that style works like magic over this riddim. Anthony B, blending his own style of delivery with this for him atypical style of riddim very nicely for the powerful "Own Order". Dalliance (or is he an unofficial Portmore Empire) member Aidonia contributes the absolute masterpiece on this riddim the guntune "Dem Dead" a.k.a. "Bawl Later", before another artist you wouldn't expect on this type of riddim (though the 'Darker Shaddow' has been given an alternative mix for that purpose and he already appeared on 'Ghetto Whiskey'), veteran (though only in his early 30s) Singing Sweet - of 1992 "When I See You Smile" fame - smoothly delivers (even turning to deejaying for a couple of lines) the very nice "Everyday".

Mavado again delivers an exceptionally strong tune over the second riddim 'Dark Again', quoting the late Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Biggie Smalls' it's gonna be "Slow Singing flowers bringing in this extremely violent tune, followed by another extremely violent tune by Vybz Kartel and his best of three outstanding tunes on this album, marking the arrival of his Portmore Empire in "Empire Army" a.k.a. "Wah Fi War Me" a.k.a. "Sen' Fi Mi Army" and Aidonia going all the way and further in terms of gun craziness as well in "Empty", allegedly aimed at (his friend actually) Munga Honourable a subject on which Stephen McGregor's older brother Daniel a.k.a. Chino also weighs in with his "In Dem Place" on which he rides the riddim very skillfully as well. The last tune on this 'Dark Again'-riddim, on which inexplicably Bramma's "Stand Alone" and a couple more very strong tunes are missing, comes courtesy of Busy Signal who uses the Mavado style of singing in his very strong "Jah Protect Me". The third riddim is the plain-titled 'Shaddow'-riddim that is as hardcore to the bone and as brilliant as the 2 other riddims on this Riddim Driven album and Assassin is the first on this riddim with his magnificent "Carry News", followed by Vybz Kartel's third yet once more very strong effort on this album, probably the strongest tune on 'Shaddowz', telling he don't need "Nuh Permission" to buss his gun, and two members of Vybz Kartel's Portmore Empire, Shawn Storm with the great "Buk U Up" and Black Ryno with the fine "Ay Ya Ay Ya". Busy Signal's second tune on this set is the excellent at high speed delivered "Street Sitt'n" that is followed by Stephen McGregor protégé Kari Jess with the slack "Bruk It Off" and Elephant Man with the last tune on this album, the slacker and much more explicit very entertaining "Fan An Cool It". And although the clean versions of the riddims are unfortunately missing and a couple of real big tunes on these riddims have not been included, any hardcore dancehall fan must buy this "Riddim Driven ~ Shaddowz" 3 or is it 2-riddim album that once more proves that Stephen McGregor is 'Di Genius'.