Title
Artist
Label
Format
Date

Under Mi Sleng Teng ~ The Dawning Of Digital Reggae
Various
Trojan
2 CD
January 29, 2007

Track list
Disc 1

  1. Paul Blake & The Bloodfire Posse - Rub A Dub Soldier
  2. Sugar Minott - Herbman Hustling
  3. Wayne Smith - Under Mi Sleng Teng
  4. Tiger - Briggy Dip
  5. Ninjaman & Tinga Stewart - Cover Me
  6. Little Lenny - Gun In A Baggy
  7. Dirtsman - Roadrunner
  8. Tenor Saw - I Just Love My Woman
  9. Beres Hammond - Groovy Little Thing
  10. Papa San - Big And Bad
  11. Admiral Bailey - Big Belly Man
  12. Sophia George - Lazy Body
  13. Chakademus - No To Drugs
  14. Half Pint - What's Goin Down
  15. Nicodemus - Computer Knife and Fork
  16. Pinchers - Mass Out
  17. Nitty Gritty - Sweet Reggae Music
  18. Sugar Minott - Rub A Dub Sound
  19. Beres Hammond - What One Dance Can Do
  20. Foxy Brown - Sorry
Disc 2

  1. Black Uhuru - Fit Yu Haffi Fit
  2. Tulloch T - Entrepreneur
  3. Tenor Saw - Pumpkin Belly
  4. Double Ugly - Bad Bwoy Attack
  5. Admiral Bailey - Jump Up
  6. Ninjaman & Flourgon - Zig It Up
  7. Sugar Minott - Musical Murder
  8. Nitty Gritty - Ready Done
  9. Robert Ffrench - Rebel Girl
  10. Frankie Paul - She's A Maniac
  11. Admiral Bailey - Kill Them With It
  12. Papa San - Alphabet Stylee
  13. Beres Hammond - She Loves Me Now
  14. Sanchez - Baby Can I Hold You Tonight
  15. Nicodemus - Ugly Gal
  16. Dan Ambassa - Lifes Riddle
  17. Nitty Gritty - Mek Dem Come
  18. Dennis Brown - The Exit
  19. Pinchers - Original Nah Talk
  20. Ninjaman & Tinga Stewart - Save The Last Dance For Me
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3
Jamaican music never stands still for very long as the hothouse atmosphere of the Kingston studios and the competing soundsystems continually produce new variants of established formulae. But even when there's an unmistakable shift from the preceding period, the break is never total. The 'digital reggae sound' from the mid-eighties is no exception to that law. Though the first fully digital riddim was not built until the beginning of 1985, the so-called 'robotic' sound of many Sly & Robbie dancehall productions of the first half of the decade was a precursor of the computerized style.

The most obvious examples include The Viceroys' "Heart Made Of Stone" and two popular tunes by Sugar Minott from 1984, "Rub A Dub Sound" and "Herbman Hustling", the latter featured on disc 1 of this compilation. Also the Roots Radics were pushing the music forward by pioneering a sparseness that would only find its full expression in computerization. Yet it was Paul Blake & The Bloodfire Posse who most closely anticipated the sound of 'digital reggae' with their semi-computerized hits of 1984, "Every Posse Get Flat" and the wicked opening track of this set, "Rub A Dub Soldier".

However it's producer and soundsystem operator King Jammy -- formerly Prince Jammy -- who is rightly heralded as the prime originator of the digital reggae sound. He kick-started the digital phase of reggae with the release of one crucial record, Wayne Smith's "Under Mi Sleng Teng". This recording, which consisted of little more than Smith's voice set to sounds of a Casio music box (including a bass riff taken from Eddie Cochran's rock 'n' roll hit "Something Else") took Jamaica by storm and generated over two hundred (!) cover versions within the next six months. As a result, from 1985 to 1995 digital reggae ruled the roost, with almost every artist trying his hand at it.

This 40 track double CD collects some of the biggest hits of the digital age from singers and deejays alike. As well as the aforementioned "Under Mi Sleng Teng" and "Herbman Hustling" there's also Nitty Gritty's "Sweet Reggae Music" and "Ready Done", Tenor Saw's outstanding "Pumpkin Belly", Admiral Bailey's "Big Belly Man", Foxy Brown' "Sorry", Dennis Brown's "The Exit" and "Baby Can I Hold You Tonight" by sweet-voiced Sanchez, to name a few worth of hearing. Also check out Tiger, who manages to combine an edge of real menace with freewheeling joviality that makes his track, "Briggy Dip", truly irresistible.

Besides of course "Sleng Teng", this entertaining collection of tunes features riddims such as "Agony", "Kuff", "Taxi", "Darker Shade Of Black", "Love Me Forever", "Pressure And Slide", "No Warrior", "Lazy Body", and "Mr. Bassie", produced by people like King Jammy, Whitfield 'Witty' Henry, Sugar Minott, Bunny Lee, Ossie Hibbert, Lloyd Dennis, Willie Lindo and Ossie Thomas.

With American hip-hop currently raiding the digital reggae vaults for inspiration, "Under Mi Sleng Teng ~ The Dawning Of Digital Reggae" is a perfectly timed release that will appeal equally to young and old fans alike.