Every week resident FADER selector Eddie STATS runs through dancehall riddims and other artifacts from the ghetto archipelago.
Things have been a little crazy in the office today but any day you can unveil a new-brand riddim run from Stephen “di Genius” McGregor–who is quickly becoming the FADER’s favorite dancehall auteur—is a good day.
Work Out riddim blend:
Vybz Kartel, “Work Out”
Mr. Evil, “She Waah”
Mavado, “Ina Car Back”
Elephant Man, “We Ketch Dem”
Download: Work Out Blend
A logical progression from the Day Break riddim which appeared in Ghetto Palms #1, it has a different feel but ricochets around in the same double time bpm sweet spot and shows the same penchant for switching up the pattern a million times. From cathedral-size synths and ATL-ish snaps to 4/4 house bump to long sections of nothing but hand drums, Work Out is more like a DJ set than a regular old “beat,” but it never feels anything less than coherent. Of the new artists who get some bars, Blamma makes the strongest statement on “Whao”, even outshining Laden, who stole the show last time. Mavado and Vybz connect solidly but Assassin actually rises to the top. Leftside’s impersonation of The Dream on “She Waah” reiterates what I first realized on “Husslin;” that this Mr. Evil thing is a not a joke thing any more, but a valid musical persona. “We Ketch Dem,” meanwhile, is the best argument for Ele’s continued relevance in dancehall that’s been heard in a looong time, like since before his Bad Boy move and the Wyclef collabo .
Brighter Day riddim:
Download: Mavado, “Overcome”
And just on some hidden groove type shit I included this loosey (remember Stress Mag?) from Mavado, also produced by ‘di Genius’ on a riddim called Brighter Day—not to be confused with the (excellent) song “Brighter Day” by Busy Signal or the album Brighter Day by Sizzla It’s slower than Work Out but has similarly knocking snares and also establishes the third pillar of what I see as the emerging genius signature sound: that warbly synthesized bird-trill that just fits so right with D. Brooks’ gangster gospel. Not to say that Daseca didn’t do him right ‘til now but Mavado may have found his ideal producer—especially when you consider that McGregor was the power behind the throne of the Red Bull & Guinness riddim which first launched him out of Cassava Piece like a bat outta concrete jungle.