Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Strictly The Best Vol. 55
Various
VP Records
2CD / Digital Release
December 7, 2016

Track list
Disc 1
  1. Vershon - Mercy A God
  2. Jahmiel - Great Man
  3. Alkaline - One More Time
  4. Vybz Kartel - Likkle More
  5. Mr. Vegas - Dancehall Dab
  6. Chi Ching Ching - Roast Or Fry (Breadfruit)
  7. Spice - Sight & Wine
  8. Savage - Culu Culu
  9. Razor B - Buck Fi Mi Back
  10. Masicka - Hard Ball
  11. Dexta Daps - 3G
  12. Aidonia - Ball A Fire
  13. Mavado - Big League
  14. Christopher Martin - Pirate Of The Caribbean
  15. Bulby York feat. Busy Signal - Streets
Disc 2
  1. Shabba Ranks feat. Krystal - Twice My Age
  2. Marcia Griffiths feat. Cutty Ranks - Half Idiot
  3. Beres Hammond feat. Buju Banton - Who Say
  4. Shaggy feat. Rayvon - Big Up
  5. Wayne Wonder feat. Buju Banton - Bonafide Love
  6. Barrington Levy feat. Bounty Killer - Living Dangerously
  7. Red Rose* feat. Bounty Killer Intimate Woman
  8. Tanto Metro & Devonte - Give It To Her
  9. Colin Roach & Galaxy P - Miss Goodie Goodie
  10. Mr. Vegas feat. Sean Paul - Hot Gal Today
  11. Alozade feat. Chico & Kiprich - Bad Man No Pet Gyal
  12. Vybz Kartel feat. Wayne Marshall - New Millenium
  13. Beenie Man feat. Tanto Metro & Devonte - One Girl
  14. Danny English & Egg Nog - Party Time
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Total votes : 4
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Every year, just in time for the festive season, VP Records releases their "Strictly The Best" albums, two volumes, since they started this longest running reggae compilation in the business 25 years ago. With the exception of one or two years, separately releasing a dancehall and roots/lovers edition each on one disc with most likely a bonus disc. Over the last couple of years we got accustomed to the odd numbered STBs being the dancehall edition of this "year in reggae" series and thus #55 is that version, accompanied by a bonus disc that will introduce those new lovers of reggae & dancehall to some truly classic dancehall in combination-style.

Not exactly having been knocked over by Volume 54, the roots/lovers/singers edition of the Strictly The Best series this year, this dancehall edition more than compensates for it. Volume 55 is filled to the brim with great selections, all-killer-no-filler here. Minor complaint (What the Luck?!?!?!) might be the preference for radio-friendly versions, making Alkaline's "One More Time" containing lyrics about good good luck... and the omission of Kranium. Yet apart from that, this is the compilation of dancehall tunes from 2016 you can listen to without once reaching for the skip-button.

Vershon rides Lee Milla's "Memory Lane" riddim for "Mercy A God", Jahmiel's very strong "Great Man"" is included, although I would have preferred the even bigger "Instant Disaster". Alkaline's "One More Time" remains a powerful tune if in the all-ages-version, which is followed by Vybz Kartel's brand new "Likkle More" over the "New Game"riddim, Mr. Vegas' scorcher "Dancehall Dab" and Chi Ching Ching's crazy "Roast Or Fry (Breadfruit)".

Spice rides the "Gyalla Park" riddim very convincingly and powerful for her "Sight & Wine" and Savage the fast-paced soca-ish riddim of the same name as his tune "Culu Culu" for Dutty Fridaze Productions that also backs Razor B's "Bruck Fi Mi Back". More impressive hardcore dancehall from Masicka with "Hard Ball", Dexta Daps with "3G", Aidonia with "Ball A Fire" and Mavado's brilliant "Big League". Christopher Martin's superb "Pirate Of The Caribbean" is preceding the closer by veteran-producer Bulby York from his magnificent "Epic & Ting" album featuring Busy Signal's "The Streets". This is the kind of compilation every dancehall aficionado wants (especially if the clean versions would have been replaced by the explicit tunes) and the bonus disc only makes it better. A selection of classic dancehall combination-style tunes that every soundsystem selector could play to get forward after forward and keep the massive dancing.

Must have set, this "Strictly The Best Volume 55"!