The Face Off Riddim [Di Genius Productions]
Stephen McGregor is back again following his latest masterpiece, the WICKED Moving Riddim, with the flaming Face Off Riddim which now gets its official release. While the Moving Riddim was very much a deviation from many of McGregor's previous sets in that it was a straight forward Roots Reggae Riddim, the Face Off (and its great cover art) is more 'business as usual' as it is a return to the hyperactive Dancehall on which the super nova producer has made much of his reputation and while I thoroughly enjoyed the Moving and hope he continues in that direction in the future, I'm not complaining at all. The Face Off is fantastic! Not only that, but it also completely lives up to its ever-changing name as on various tracks it gets a healthy variety of mixes. Enjoying the diversity of madness are the usual 'crew' of the big ship - Chino, Bramma (big tune), Laden, Mavado, Ele, Di Genius himself (and also a clean version of the riddim), as well as Aidonia who stars on the Face Off with two tracks, one of which, 'Funeral', features the DJ at a vintage devastatingly word-firing level. The Face Off is just extremely fun and authentic modern hardcore Dancehall music from the greatest doing it today.
The Meltdown Riddim [Soul Rebel Sound]
Soul Rebel Sound from out of Switzerland, along with Mr. Mento are up next with an exciting and extremely infectious new Dancehall track, the Meltdown Riddim. This thing is damn hard to get out of your head almost regardless of who exactly is rhyming on it. Thankfully, however, while SRS tapped a healthy variety of vocalists which includes well talented names like TOK, Bugle, Charly Black, Jahmiel who continues to impress, Etzia and of course, Achis Reggae favourite Cali P (more on him later). Also check 'Wine & Cotch' from the up and coming Tripple Bad. I don't know that I can recall hearing from Soul Rebel Sound previously, the beautiful Meltdown Riddim ensures that I'm not likely to forget them anytime soon. Check it out today.
The Radioactive Riddim [DJ Smurf Riddim]
Up next is a bit of a BITE, courtesy of DJ Smurf, in the form of the well lively Radioactive Riddim (and it's nice cover) (which appears to be in 3D and I could actually verify that because my Wife loves to stea… I mean collect 3D glasses) (…and it is) (VERY well done!) (is that the next step??? 3D album covers) (I digress). This is another very strong piece sure to please those who like the opener in this post (which means you). The always brilliant Agent Sasco tops this one, but he's joined by Dancehall royalty Beenie Man & Lady Saw (on separate tunes), I-Octane, Popcaan, Flexxx (who continues to add Xs to his name) and a dominant Esco on 'We Nuh Fear Dem'. For what it is, this is a very strong (actual) Dancehall riddim album.
The Gipsy Woman Riddim [Skyman Productions]
I'd actually heard the Gipsy Woman Riddim via Skyman from maybe a few months back now and while I did forget exactly what it was, I was definitely impressed and when I refigured out what it was, I was very happy to see it reach an official release and, subsequently, to see just what they had done with it. What they did was to add in a very nice selection of artists. First of all, ANY riddim that has a tune from Tiwony and Sizzla Kalonji is going to get my attention and that is what's going on with the Gipsy Woman. Throw in more tunes from Turbulence (in a good form), Perfect Giddimani (always in a good form), Omar Perry, Anthony John, Dutchie Leah Rosier and others and you have something which is going to KEEP my attention. On top of that, the riddim is beautiful. It's a varied and powerful track which is very nice to the ears and one which would look very good in your collection. Pick it up.
The Karukera Riddim [Mavrick Records/Don Jalys Production]
While I'm certainly not their biggest fan (at least I hope I'm not for the sake of their company), I've learned enough from over the past couple of years or so to know that when you see the name Don Jalys attached to a project, it generally means that whatever it is, is going to be of a very high quality and their latest piece, which finds them linking with Mavrick Records, the Karukera Riddim is no exception. While generally DJ focuses on talents from out of the FWI, here they go a different route in tapping talents such as Turbulence (another one which finds the artist in a good form), the Burning Spectacular, Gyptian, Mark Tenn, Hyah Slyce, Lymie Murray (big tune) and others. Unsurprisingly, my choice as the best tune on the Karukera, 'Jah Nah Go Mek Me Suffer' from the completely tuned in Lutan Fyah. The track itself is golden and would seemingly find a wonderful audience in any fan of modern Roots Reggae - like YOU.
The Krunky Riddim [Kapriss'Tudio Rekordz]
Embarrassingly, it took me just a minute or two to recognize it, but I did finally and it made my interest in the Krunky Riddim so much more intense. I know the HEAVY track from backing 'Viv La Vi', Tiwony's masterful and equally dense tune and title track of his second solo album from 2009. It may've taken awhile (it did), but the riddim's creator, DJ Kaprisson has finally gotten it to an official release and it's not just a showcase piece for Tiwony either. Instead, it's full of other very talented artists and, in full, the album carries twenty tracks. Some of the stronger come from Tiwony's former Double Trouble collaborator Féfé Typical, MC Janik, Daddy Mory, the brilliant Straïka D, Guy Al MC, Yeahman'C (biggup Yeahman'C) as well as the aforementioned and still more to come from Cali P, with the wonderful 'We Got To Respect'.
The Letter Riddim [J'Island Records/J'Small Records]
The Letter Riddim is up next via link between J'Island and J'Small Records, respectively, and just in terms of the composition, this thing is nearly SPECTACULAR and it also comes with a bit of a 'change' as the labels don't tap the 'usual suspects' and instead have turned the Letter over to a nice mix of artists from around the world and of different stages of their careers as well. You may recognize names such as Nikki Burt, Nickiesha Barnes, Geoffrey Star, Cen'C Love, Miriam Simone (who looks EXACTLY like Alison Hinds), Phenomden and the very, VERY easy to look at Cat Eyes, all of whom turn in nice work on the Letter Riddim. The track is just so open and while you definitely can hear a little R&B and, therefore, Lover's Rock, it's so accessible and it's nice how many different artists here take it in differing directions in terms of subjects. For example, check out 'Reggae Music', the big tune from Cali P who we actually received a very nice and inspiring message from a couple of days ago - and in this post now you have three big tunes from him. So biggup Cali P (who did confirm he has a forthcoming Bobby Digital produced album by the name of "Musi-Cali Speaking") always and go and pick up the Letter Riddim - actually you don't even have to go anywhere, you can sit RIGHT THERE and get it.
The Mellow Mystic Riddim [Silent Mode Entertainment]
Next, in to help us end things in a mellow mood is Silent Mode Entertainment who returns for the first time in quite awhile I believe, with the very nice Mellow Mystic Riddim. This is an excellent modern Roots composition which is given to eight very talented vocalists who well make the most of the track in my opinion. Warrior King, Anthony B, Einstein, Twiggi (biggup Twiggi), Bascom X, Teflon, Mr. Bertus and riddim topping Lutan Fyah all take turns here with good to excellent results to make for a big release in full and one well worth your attention.
The Mellow Vibes Riddim [White Magic Records]
And finally and keeping things mellow, be sure to check this excellent and cool track via White Magic Records, the perfectly titled Mellow Vibes Riddim. While this one comes through a bit on the brief side, in its succinctness it does serve up a few mighty moments from a few big names (and there's really only one song out of the eight which I do not like and even that one has a nice chorus). Luciano's is certainly the biggest, but you also get nice pieces courtesy of Gappy Ranks, still sweet singing Half Pint and Mr. Easy, who shines exquisitely on his effort, 'Turn Up The Music' - an excellent song.