Riddim Driven ~ Sidewalk University
VP Records
November 22, 2006

Track list
  1. Man From Mars - Tony Matterhorn
  2. Beyonce Wine - Vybz Kartel
  3. Solid - Delly Ranx
  4. To The Top - Ice Cold
  5. Tek Wine - Anthony B
  6. Shotta - Tanto Metro & Devonte
  7. Junjo Claat - Perfect
  8. Gully Gun - Ward 21
  9. Suddenly - Lady Saw
  10. Dem Can't Mek Me - Baby G & Demarco
  11. Bully - Mr. Peppa
  12. Wine Up - Christopher
  13. Bad Man From When - Bugle
  14. Ghetto Youths - Sizzla
  15. Sidewalk University Version - Jam2
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
Jam2 Records present us with the latest in the VP Riddim Driven series; the retro sound of the "Sidewalk University" riddim. "Sidewalk University" is built on a vintage early '90s drum pattern, digital bass pulse and a syncopated synth keyboard line, plus it revives the classic "Hey! Hey!" dancehall chant, that really gets the party started. Producers Jammy 'Jam2' James and Colin 'Demarco' Edwards (who also appears as an artiste on the riddim) have called upon the Crème de la Crème of dancehall artistes to voice the fourteen vocal versions that grace this disc. The sampler opens with the current US hit, Tony Matterhorn's "Man From Mars". 'Mentally Ill' Matterhorn seems to be able to produce a hit no matter what he does of late, and this, it seems is no different. However, I think the speed with which this track has climbed the charts in the US could be more to do with him bigging up various neighbourhoods in the US, rather than it being any better than any of the other offerings on this disc. Up next Vybz Kartel traverses familiar territory on the incredibly slack "Beyonce Wine", obviously a tribute to the movements trademarked by the singer of the same name. Delly Ranx, who recently produced the hit "Redbull & Guinness"-riddim and the luke-warm "Ghetto Whiskey"-riddim (even with the hit tune "Sunrise") appears here in his artiste role to deliver the fine "Solid", perhaps just a little inspired by Beenie Man? Another deejay trying to regain a name for himself of late is Ice Cold who serves us up the okay but nothing more "To The Top". Rasta is represented on this riddim no less than three times, the first comes in the form of bobo dread Anthony B on the excellent "Tek Wine", a tune very much in the vein of Vybz Kartel's smash tune of 2004 "Tekk" on the "Tunda Klap"-riddim. Tanto Metro and Devonte combine well on the deejayed and sung tune "Shotta", obviously years of working together have made it easy to produce quality work; then comes the second coming of Rasta as Perfect delivers the terse "Junjo Claat", a message of what he can not condone, delivered in his trademark rough and ready style. Ward 21, a group who can usually be counted on to come up with the goods, do so again here on the brilliant "Gully Gun", I have always been a fan of the way 21 ride riddims and this track is no exception. Lady Saw who also recently knocked out a minor hit on the "Gully Slime"-riddim with "I Can Have Your Man", gets studio time here as well (don't call it a comeback) on the interesting "Suddenly", one of the few sung tunes on this riddim. As mentioned previously Colin Edwards a.k.a. 'Demarco' makes an appearance as an artiste, here he is assisted by seasoned veteran Baby G on the well deejayed "Dem Can't Mek Me". I found that after listening to Baby G and Demarco's effort, I couldn't get the chorus out of my head; very catchy. Just like Lady Saw, someone else scoring big simultaneous releases on both this riddim and "Gully Slime" is Mr. Peppa. Already receiving "x amount of love" for his tough tune "Gangsta Guerilla" on the afore-mentioned "Gully Slime"-riddim, he has a lot to live up to and he almost pulls it off with the badman bravado of "Bully". Following on from Mr. Peppa, we are treated to the sweet vocals of Christopher on the well sung "Wine Up", a song many men will appreciate, as it is all about the temptation that a beautiful woman can create. The penultimate voiced version on this set comes from Bugle, flying solo on this effort (where's Tornado?) he still manages to assert himself on the raw badman tune "Bad Man From When", warning all those who cross his path to watch their step. The final vocal tune on the sampler comes from the final bobo dread and long time favourite of mine, Sizzla. Kolanji presents us with the great reality tune "Ghetto Youths", a lick that will definitely be getting replayed in my system for a while to come. Closing the sampler is the extremely well built clean version of the riddim, and even though I always expect to see a clean version on a sampler, the fact that we don't always get one makes this an excellent bonus. Overall, "Sidewalk University" comes up trumps, and VP have scored another hit in laying claim to this scorcher of a riddim. A must buy for any dancehall fan. Highly recommended!