Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Check It Vol. 14

Buju Banton & Wayne Wonder - “Flashback 1993-1999” [Penthouse Records]

Firstly this week is a piece which has been floating around for nearly two months, but it’s apparently taken me a while to catch on as Penthouse Records continues its really strong streak of releases (which now stretches back around eighteen months or so) by linking together two of its most famous musical progeny, Buju Banton and Wayne Wonder and “Flashback 1993-1999”. As you might imagine, the album features big tunes the two have done together for the label, as well as big solo tracks. For Buju’s part you can expect tunes like ‘How Could You’, ‘Bad Boy’ and ‘Sensimilla Persecution”; While the Wonder serves up gems like ‘Zero’, ‘Rumours’ and the original ‘Movie Star. Together, the dynamic duo link up for ‘What You Gonna Do’, ‘Reunion’ and of course ‘Bonafide Love’. This one is a bit odd because collectors are most likely to have anything they want from it (and probably on CD as well) and it’s probably aimed at such a group. But, check it out and if there’s something missing from your own catalogue, definitely take a look at this one.

- Available on CD & Digital

City Life Riddim [2 Hard Productions]

Typing “2 Hard Productions” there just felt good! The City Life Riddim from 2 Hard marks the return to the production side of things for a producer, Jeremy Harding, who has not only been one of the most influential the game has seen, but arguably one of the BEST. With 2 HUGE feathers in his cap - Being the one who brought superstar Sean Paul to prominence and continuing to manage him (he also manages ‘Di Genius’ reportedly) - - And being the maestro behind the immortal Playground Riddim, which featured Beenie Man’s equally never-ending ‘Who Am I’- Having Harding back behind the boards can only be a great thing! He returns with the City Life which is kind of a bubbly Roots/Lover’s track and it’s used to maximum effect behind the likes of Queen Ifrica, Tarrus Riley, Assassin, Ele, Tony Rebel, Dean Fraser and, of course, Sean Paul. It is lovely and hopefully just the first in a nice forthcoming string from one of the real MASTERS in the art of Reggae production.


Sudden Change Riddim [Stainless Records]

Really nice set is in next from DJ Karim and company at Stainless Records, the Sudden Change Riddim. With only six tracks on the ledger, the riddim STILL features one of the solidest lineups you’re going to see on any one-drop in 2010 thus far. Karim taps VI superstar PRESSURE BUSSPIPE, LUTAN FYAH, Emmanuel Stain, singjay Da Professor (who guests on Gentleman’s new album ”Diversity”, which I’ll tell you about on Thursday) and Moeish, a young female artist many are looking as ‘the next Queen Ifrica’. The riddim is also apparently laid by the timeless Firehouse Crew and by now you should be WELL WELL impressed just as I am.

- Digital

The Ol’ School Riddim [Bombrush Records]

Sticking on the riddim scales, next in is probably the most interesting (and VARIED) of drops here, Bombrush RecordsOl’ School Riddim. First of all, the riddim itself is a very familiarly vibed piece and it’s just really enjoyable on its own, but when you get to the roster of artists, you see just how comprehensive building this thing was. TOK, Lady Saw, Macka Diamond (alongside Harry Toddler), Tanto Metro & Devonte, Lefside (who features on the BIG ‘I Luv Girls’ alongside another alter-ego, Granfada, going all Degree on the people) and even Bunji Garlin all chime in with efforts for the Ol’ School. And if you don’t recall, it’s actually Bay-C from TOK who runs Bombrush (and thus produces the riddim) and also on board is his own artist, the up and coming Sleepy Hallowtips. Very well done.

-Digital (and maybe CD in Japan)

{note: Planning on picking and choosing through this one digitally - Check it first, each and every site we’ve checked has been HORRIBLY fucked up, so make sure it’s the tune you want before you click ‘buy’}

Catalog Riddim [Di Genius Records]

Definitely an old one here, but one which had seemingly been ‘threatening’ to drop digitally for quite some time before it actually did (I SWEAR I saw that cover around six months ago) and it’s finally out and running now. The previously mention ‘Di Genius’ here pushes what is one of my favourites from him in awhile with the Catalog Riddim, which is one of the best Dancehall riddims of the year (or was it last year???), to my ears. The riddim alone is CRAZY and shows up in several different forms on the tracks, in several different mixes actually, which is always so nice. And the artists? Of course the greatest of the Dancehall lineup to voice Genius riddims (minus one of course): And on board here are not only the usual Big Ship faces such as Mavado, Beenie, Aidonia, Bramma, Ele, Laden and Chino, but also Spragga Di Benz, a masterful Assassin and Capleton whose FUCKING EXPLOSIVE ‘Mash Up Di Place’ is probably the best choice here and then there’s the more unexpected likes of Frisco Kid (again), TERROR FABULOUS who scored the riddim title track, Di Genius himself aimed at the aforementioned missing DJ and even the skipper of the Big Ship, himself, Freddie McGregor. If you haven’t heard this thing, definitely check it out and now it’s very readily available so you have no excuses not to link up one of the best things I’ve heard in 2010 and hell, I like it so much I may even review it. BIG!


Drum Melody Riddim [Andrew Bassie Records/Zojak Worldwide]

And for the last riddim this week (I promise) (okay I take that back, I have at least two others to tell you about) is another very interesting one and one which I kind of hoped to get in the back of my subconscious mind, the Drum Melody Riddim from Andrew ‘Bassie’ Campbell. Okay, you know this one, but I’m going to have to explain it to you a bit (unless I can find a video, in which case, just ignore this part and go click the video). You certainly are familiar with NiyoRah’s ”Feel Your Presence” album. It’s great, you love it and you listen to it everyday. That goes without saying. One of your favourites on that album is the final selection, ‘Indigenous World’, which features Niyo going on a very drum heavy composition. That is the Drum Melody Riddim and as it reaches album, NINETEEN of NiyoRah’s friends have jumped on the riddim as well and to be perfectly honest, I have NO IDEA who about half of them are. The ones I know, besides Niyo, are nice under-known artists like Ras Neto, Bobo Desert, King David, Emperor Mangasha, Zebi-Lion and of course Winston McAnuff (I haven’t listened to much of the piece just yet, but the tunes from Zebi and Mangasha - WICKED!). Others like singer Ozie Love, Bless I, Jah Peter and the simply named “Empress” (really need to work on that) are COMPLETE mysteries to, but I’m certainly looking forward to getting to know them better. Also I should mention that just skimming through what I haven’t heard just yet and this entire project sounds very strong so do check it out.


Complete Riddim [Stingray Records/Zojak Worldwide]

Pretty stereotypical UK Lover’s Rock/Roots from the underrated boys at Stingray (who’re somewhere hopefully hard at work on a Prince Malachi album), but I never have a problem with such a thing and you probably don’t either. Sweet sweet vibes abound from the likes of UK familiars, a very Sanchez sounding Tenna Starr (with ‘Drowning, big tune), Roger Robin, Peter Spence, Donna Marie and Peter Hunnigale. And joining them are the likes of Sanchez himself (with ‘Incomplete‘, the song here you may know), Lukie D, Glen Washington and a very impressive Rafeelya, who does ‘Body’s Calling’, a rendition of R. Kelly’s international hit of the same name. You already know what to expect here, so if you’re interested - Yes, it’s very good.

- Digital

Ghetto Life Riddim [Fams House Records/Zojak Worldwide]

This one certainly has been getting more than just its fair share of spin and promotion - Fams House’s Ghetto Life Riddim (yes, there’re probably 400 different riddims with that name) - and justly so. The beautifully melancholy composition (I dare call it HEAVY, which is generally my preferred adjective for such a sound) is gorgeous as a Roots piece (what’s fucked up is that people often do stuff like this and try to mask it as hardcore Dancehall and it’s just not) which is apparently what Fams House had in mind, judging by the artist selection. The artists themselves keep their eyes on the proverbial prize and they take their vocals in a more socially conscious direction for the most part. Those artists? Konshens (very strong tune ‘Youth Dem A Say Money’), Lutan Fyah, G-Whizz, Hyah Slice, Wasp, Trapykal and others. BIG BIG artists with big lyrics (literally, almost every tune is strong and ALL of them at least have their moments).


Hawkeye - “Hawk Xtra” [Jah Chin/Junction File/Zojak Worldwide]

Oh stop it! I know I haven’t been too shy at all of maintaining (and stating) how loooooooongtime veteran Dancehall DJ, Hawkeye, was/is one of my least favourite artists of all time and I said so (and felt so) largely because I felt that he was unexceptional and, along with several others, kind of made up this very mediocre stable of Dancehall artists and like I say all the time, I’d rather listen to BAD Dancehall than average (at least if it’s bad, I don’t have to pay any attention). And that’s the exact reason that I feel compelled to mention that fact that after the eight or so years since his first album dropped, ”Bubble Wine”, Hawkeye has another album, ”Hawk Xtra”. It comes via the same Jah Chin & Junction File labels that bring us Bryan Art’s recent debut, ”20ten” (which I’ll probably tell you about in the next couple of weeks), and . . . Well it isn’t that bad! I’m not going to sit here and say that I like it and I probably won’t ever review and I may not even keep hold of it, but after having actually LISTENED semi-intently, it’s at least two or three times better than I expected (not that that’s hard to be). It features a lot of familiar sounds (especially after listening to ”20ten”) and it also features Hawkeye on a more of a socially conscious style throughout and I guess that what we should expect from someone who’s been deejaying for two or three hundred years at this point. Certainly you already have more of an appreciation for the artist than I do, so there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll actually LIKE it, or at least some of it, so check out Hawkeye’s return.

-Digital (& CD I think)

I-Octane - “My Life EP” [Tad’s Records/Zojak Worldwide]

Still waiting for a full length from him, but this WICKED EP from Tad’s is going to have to hold over fans until arguably THE most talented young(er) artist currently on the scene, I-Octane, actually pushes a complete album for the masses and even though I’m very familiar with most of it, I’m not complaining about it. The eight tunes featured here: the title track, ‘Mama You Alone’, ‘Lose A Friend’, ‘Missing You’, ‘Thank You Father’, ‘Puff It’ (which I barely even remembered until spinning it), ‘Lost Our Way’ and ‘Poverty’, certainly aren’t going to leap off the page as very new (because they aren’t), but some of them (or all of them), you maybe missed and certainly they’re some of Octane’s bigger hits from the past six months or so, so at least to me, this is a big fucking deal. Now hopefully the man steps forward and does what we know he is capable of by knocking an Album of The Year candidate later this year or in 2011.


Midnite - “Momentum” [Fifth Son Records]

And lastly is a piece to keep all of the Midnite heads good and well fed, because certainly they’ve been starving to death in the . . . Oh I don’t know eight, nine weeks or so since ”Ark A Law” dropped. "Momentum” finds Vaughn Benjamin having made his way back to New Mexico to relink with Fifth Son Records who helmed 2007’s ”Suns of Atom“ as well as the big double set, ”Standing Ground”, from the following year. So they’ve already proven to work well with Vau . . . Midnite, so there you go. I actually have listened through this one pretty extensively, certainly enough to give an opinion, but I’m not going to - You’re going to buy it anyway.

-CD & Digital

{note: Probably do this again pretty soon. There're a few NICE things I didn't mention}
{note 2: Review on Thursday this week, Friday is something different}
{note 3: Big tunes on Sunday. If you sent me something, send it again because I accidentally deleted 2-3 with ~ the same title by accident}

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