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Various Artists

Irie Reggae Hits: Best of Dancehall

(Time-Life; US: 23 May 2006; UK: Available as import)

Dancehall, as a musical style, is a little out of vogue now. But it’s hard to imagine today’s hip new reggaeton rage without it. Dancehall took reggae and gave it a hip-hop feel, and then reggaeton added in Spanish language vocals and Latin musical elements. However, only a few of the artists represented on this 17-track CD continue to have true staying power. Sean Paul and Bounty Killer have made names for themselves outside of the stylistic trend, and Buju Banton remains on the roots reggae tour circuit. But unless you’re a diehard genre fan, other contributors, like Vybz Kartel, Spragga Benz, and Tenor Saw, will likely mean nothing to you. Similarly, “Here Comes the Hotstepper” by Ini Kamoze is a rare universally recognized hit on this set. This CD is a slightly interesting time capsule item, but don’t expect it to spark a full-blown dancehall comeback anytime soon.

Rating:

Dan MacIntosh is a freelance writer from Bellflower, California,


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