It's all been a bit roots and culture round these parts lately. Now, though, it's time to mash up the dance. With two stone-cold anthems already released and a rapid turnover of new material, Jamaica's continued love affair with old-school-style riddims is proving surprisingly fruitful.
First up is a tune everyone needs. Baby Cham's "Ghetto Story" (Mad House/7"/JA), released on Dave Kelly's comeback Eighty Five riddim, does exactly what it says on the label, telling Cham's autobiographical tale of badman business, the wealth crime brings and its fatal consequences. Going from "I remember those days when hell was my home/ When me and Mama bed was a big piece a foam" to "Mi best friend Richie get two inna him dome/ I remember so the Avenue tun inna warzone," it doesn't so much glorify gun talk and violence as simply tell it how it is, rocking into the bargain. Other voicings of this splurgy Casiotone beat worth looking out for are Pinchers' "Desperate Scenario" (It's a desperate scenario/ What would you do/ Should I be a bandelero, at age 22/ Mi got nuh dinero/ Mi rent overdue") and Yellowman's fantastic "Orphan".
In the same rhythmic vein Ding Dong's "Badman Forward, Badman Pull Up" (VP/12"/JA) is an absolute cracker, drawing heavily from the 1980s, but bouncing with 21st century panache.
Speaking of Ding Dong, this dancer and deejay also crops up hosting Fine Gold Productions' excellent DVD It's All About Dancing. Over one hour and 12 minutes, the film takes the viewer on a tour of Kingston, showing how central dancehall is to island life, especially at the berserk Passa Passa street party. It also includes sections teaching all the latest moves, for those who don't know their Weddy Weddy from their Shankle Dip, interviews with Beenie Man, Tony Matterhorn, and Cordell "Scatta" Burrell, and rare footage of famed dancer Gerald "Bogle" Levy shot before his death in January 2005. Dave Stelfox


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home