Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Check It Vol. XXV

The Show Version Riddim [Studio 53 Entertainment]

'The World Inna Mess' by Isasha

'Hail H.I.M.' by Khari Kill

Okay so, very first up this week is something which I HOPE I’m kind of going early on because, as of now, it’s not very readily available, so we’re hoping that changes pretty soon (hopefully it gets to iTunes) (someone connect these guys with Zojak). Dropping what is probably the biggest Reggae riddim I’ve heard ALL YEAR is the well respected crew at Studio 53 from out of Trinidad - The SWEET SWEET Show Version Riddim. This thing is absolutely beautiful and it makes usage of the certain things which make Trinidad so special in terms of sound and so wonderful connects it to Reggae. Here, you hear just a hint of a steel pan which works itself in so brilliantly that, despite their being a few big tunes here, I can confidently say that one of my favourite tracks is the instrumental. As far as the vocalists, on the high-end, in terms of popularity and name recognition, we have artistes such as Prophet Benjamin, Khari Kill, King David, Ninjitsu and Isasha who serves up the riddim’s finest moment, in my opinion, with ‘The World Is Inna Mess’. But they’re definitely not alone and we also see big efforts from the likes of up and comers in CUTIE Lady Meeka, the WICKED Siah Malachi, Sugar Head, Jah Z Blaze with a big tune and a whole heap of others. Of course, I would’ve loved to see Queen Omega here (and Bunji Garlin too) and just a REALLY big name also just to MAKE Reggae media have to deal with this one, but I don’t care, I’ll deal with it and like I said, it’s the best riddim so far for me in 2011.

[Available @]

The Light & Shadow Riddim [The HandCart Market]

'No Informer' by Sizzla Kalonji

Next we have another very high ranking composition, this one coming courtesy of a label from out of France with Jamaican ties, The HandCart Market- the Light & Shadow Riddim. In terms of attracting attention on paper alone, this one has it pretty much all together as it links Dutch up and comer Joggo and the burgeoning KeKe I, with bona fide legends Sugar Minott and Sizzla Kalonji on the piece’s four vocal tracks. And, as I mentioned, the riddim is outstanding as well (a little different, also) and that’s always a plus.


Mr. Williamz - “Tommy Ranks EP” [Necessary Mayhem/Zojak Worldwide]

Up next is the always welcomed Mr. Williamz who seems to have fallen back just a bit (hopefully that’s because he’s submerged himself in writing for his new album), but is apparently ready to do big things again as he’s currently riding high with a big new tune, ‘Tommy Ranks’. Here we have a set from Necessary Mayhem specifically designed around that tune on the Pass The Kutchie Riddim. Also on board is Williamz’ take on the title track which features the original Mighty Diamonds vocals as well as King Yellowman and a Dubplate remix (Drum & Bass just all over the place). Interestingly, all of these tunes were released on the original riddim EP, which just released in March, so obviously this one is doing big big things.


“Dancehall Rock” [Big Yard Music]

'Problem' by Ward 21

When I first saw this cover, in passing, I wondered if someone had managed to record yet another riddim with the album’s title (and LOAD it) without my knowing, but a quick skim through revealed something just a bit more interesting. Of course everyone knows Big Yard and on their ”Dancehall Rock”, they deliver a sixteen track set which is pretty much an AUTHENTIC Dancehall compilation on various riddims (and I stress that because such a thing is, so unfortunately, very rare these days). The album is split up (according to my almost certainly incorrect math) between four compositions, the One A Way, the Spazzie, the Sweatshop and the DAMAGING Problem riddims - All from Big Yard - and features some of the biggest names around such as Beenie Man, Ce’Cile, Mavado, Kiprich & Einstein and Ward 21, all with big tunes.


“Silver Bullet Series” Vol. 1 [21st - Hapilos]

You may want to pick this one up if you ever need to kill a werewolf or . . . Just want to catch up with what’s been going on in Dancehall (or it’s evil, evil replacement genre) as of late. Like ”Dancehall Rock”, ”Silver Bullet” is a multi-riddim, more ‘traditional’ Dancehall compilation. This one comes from the ridiculously active 21st - Hapilos who release pretty much everything that remotely even may look like Dancehall to someone living on the moon (including two other releases in this same post) (at least) and who also run a nice fete. Again, this one is a bit of ‘catch-up’, so you might even want to get it for like a lukewarm fan of the music. Buju Banton, Kartel, Tarrus Riley, I-Octane, Khago and Beenie Man & Future Fambo (yep, that song) headline.


The Retro Riddim [DJ Frass]

The Retro Riddim

I promise that I’m going to give you at least one artist’s album in this post . . . But this isn’t it. The Retro Riddim is the latest from the ever active (although I may’ve missed one (or two) in between) and you can pretty much tell what is going on with it from the title. Ridiculously, these days words like “retro” and “again” are substituted in the place of the far more appropriate ‘actual’ or ‘genuine’. This one is a real Dancehall track and it isn’t too ‘retro’ to my ears, but it’s DAMN good as a composition. The performances aren’t quite as top-notch, but decent. Assassin (as always) BLAZES with ‘Gallis From Birth’ (which is far from his best, but still impressive) and also doing well are veteran singers Pinchers and Mr. Vegas. Flexx does pretty good and there’s also Macka Diamond and Kibaki rounding things out. I would’ve liked just a bit more in the way of BITE on this one (. . . like Fay-Ann Lyons maybe), but as far the riddim, itself, you can’t go wrong here.


The Island Breeze Riddim [Madd Spider Productions]

Riddim Mix

Here’s somewhat of a similar set, although it very much lies on the softer side of things. It’s the very popular Island Breeze Riddim from Madd Spider. With names such as Sizzla Kalonji, Buju Banton, Wayne Wonder, [General] Degree, Delly Ranx and Gappy Ranks, this one definitely boasts one of the more loaded arsenal of artists out of just about anyone this year and it’s also a very nice and colourful riddim and one which, as I alluded to, has really caught on in many places. Missing however is ‘Feeling Inside’ from new Achis Reggae favourite, Shalli, but check this one anyway (because you can still get that tune, it’s also currently available).


Ras Tewelde - “One Way Ticket” [Bizzarri Records]

I was somewhat surprised to see this one, largely due to the fact that the label, Bizzarri Records, just dealt another big deal release . . . Like a week or two ago. Here we have the debut album (I think) of Italian chanter Ras Tewelde, ”One Way Ticket”. Of course, when we see “Bizzarri” around here, we immediately draw back to the great Lion D and ‘The Burnin Melody’ does feature here as do an outstanding group of guests in Josey Wales, Louie Culture, Sugar Minott and even Stitchie, as Tewelde takes center stage (now Bizzarri, you can do the same for Miss Linda any day now).

CD [I THINK] + Digital

"Soca Box 2011" [J.W. Productions]

'Doh Drag De Flag' by Shal Marshall

'Wave It Away' by Patrice Roberts

With ”Best of The Best” having been a disappointment this year (no Machel, Fay-Ann, Bunji or Destra) and ”Soca Gold” still about a month away, ”Soca Box” is the latest Soca compilation attempting to grab your attention (and cash) in 2011 and with the lineup of stars, it should have a pretty good shot. Reigning Soca Monarch and Road March Champion, Machel Montano, checks in not once, but twice here and does so with the season biggest winner, ’Advantage’, as does his most interesting ‘sidekick’, Patrice Roberts [’Wave It Away‘ & ‘Sam Sam‘]. The release also boasts ‘Doh Drag Flag’ by Shal Marshall, multiple efforts from former Soca Monarchs JW & Blaze and more from Benjai, Shurwayne Winchester, Buffy, Lil’ Bitts and others. ”Soca Gold” is good this year, until then however, ”Soca Box” should suit you just fine.


‘Can’t Wait’ by Jah Mason (single) [Andrew Khool]

(Usually) WICKED chanter, Jah Mason, brings forth the best new tune I’ve heard from in quite some time, the CHILLY ‘Can’t Wait’. BIG TUNE! The song comes through Andrew Khool who (needs to make about twelve more and slap a cover on it) lays one serious riddim as backing and over it the Mason delivers in a way which is emblematic of his more than considerably natural talent (as opposed to that SHITTY album late last year). Definitely check this one.


‘Step Aside [Beep Beep]’ by Ce’Cile (EP) [Kingstone Records]

And finally - A certain diminutive human being who hangs out around my house would be very upset if I didn’t include this one this week (and if she paid me ANY attention at all besides when I slip and fall down). My Daughter is VERY fond of this song and how could you blame her. It’s the infectious latest (not really), from Achis Reggae favourite, Bad Gyal Ce’Cile, courtesy of Kingston Records. Besides the original tune (which is very nice), there’s also a remix featuring Dancehall DJ Mr. Lex, an instrumental (this riddim, whatever it is called, is RIDICULOUS!) and even an interesting a cappella track for you listening enjoyment.


{Biggup Risto Benji}


  1. Who is this Jah Z Blaze? This is my first time hearing him and love the voice. Is he a newcomer? I can't find anything else on him. Any albums or other songs from him?

  2. Yeah definitely DJ, he's a very new newcomer as far as I know. I think I may've heard his name before (but that's probably because part of it is so common yeah), but I couldn't name a next tune from him.

    Oh and I agree, he's excellent.

  3. Absolutely love this blog. Bless.

  4. Thanks Funkt4life, glad you like it