Thursday, January 27, 2005

Dean Fraser and Mad Professor

Dean Fraser
Kill Dem Wid Sax
Jamaican music has changed over the past 25 years, but there has been at least one constant—Dean “Cannon” Fraser. From Bob Marley and Jackie Mittoo to Luciano, Sizzla and Sanchez, Fraser has appeared on over 1,000 records—more than a few of which are his own productions. He also tours tirelessly with the Xterminator crew. The man is undeniably a legend. Sure, at first this collection of instrumental tracks might feel a little syrupy, but once you start to recognize and appreciate Fraser’s trademark tone, you’ll find yourself listening to the horn parts in so many classic tunes and asking yourself, “Could it be Dean?” 9/10

Mad Professor
Crazy Caribs
Send some recent dancehall records to outer space, where I like to imagine Mad Professor’s studio is located, and they’ll come back all crazy cosmic-like. 7.5/10

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Riddim Driven: Hard Times and Riddim Driven: I Swear

Riddim Driven: Hard Times
Here's the proof that Stephen Gibbs is his father's son. Legendary producer Joe Gibbs, responsible for "Uptown Top Ranking," seems to have passed on the ability to combine great hooks with great melodies. Sure, riddim albums aren't always the most exciting things to listen to, but I'd argue that this is an exception. From future superstar I Wayne's exceptional "Living in Love" to Bascom X's sweet "Lonely Girl" to Richie Spice's "That Ghetto Girl" to Capleton's "That Day Will Come," not to mention the other 10 equally good tracks, this riddim alone should demonstrate that consciousness still rocks the dancehall. 8.5/10

Riddim Driven: I Swear
If you missed this in 2004, get it now - but you just might want to skip Richie Stephen's questionable "Woman to Man." 8/10