As mentioned last week, the riddims have been piling up down in Jamaica while I was off on a South Africa mindtrip for the last three weeks, so it’s time to start digging my way out. There are so many things that have to get a mention that I thought I would forego the usual mixshow format and just cherry-pick the absolute tuffest of the tuffest for inclusion, whether they blended with each other or not. So without further pre-amp, here’s a heap of loose 45s and updates on whats up in dancehall.
Walshy Killa Culture 2009 Mix – Presented by Black Chiney Soundsytem and The FADER! I had a small hand in the creation of this so it had to get a first look. Ghetto Palms Miami correspondent and selector extraordinaire Walshy Killa runs through only the newest and truest in one drop reggae and biased or not I have to say it’s fucking brilliant. Any mix that starts with a David Rodigan endorsement, Notch aka Omar Gosh putting down a Black Chiney dub in lover’s rock style AND an Eddie STATS shout out all on the first track is pretty much guaranteed to be my favorite for the year, but you don’t have to take my word for it, sample the intro and then download the entire blood-cleet mix below, or check blackchineylife.blogspot.com for info on how to cop yourself a physical copy.
Download: Esco, “The One”
Esco is one half of the artist/producer duo Leftside & Esco who tore up the dance in 2005 with “Tuck in Your Belly” but seem to have gone their separate ways since. Of the two, everybody seemed to feel like Craig “Leftside” Parkes was the brains of the outfit, the dude who played the instruments and had most of the musical ideas, while Esco was the vibes man, kind of what Bongo Eddie was to Marvin Gaye. BUT—as much as I respect Lefty for basing his entire vocal style on an impression of Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies, I have yet to hear a solo project from him that tops “Belly.” By contrast this Esco 45 is my new shit, a perfect fusion of doo-wop chords and dancehall roughness, kind of like the R. Kelly/Sean Paul/Akon collabo “Slow Wind.” A lot of fools don’t realize that when you get back to the real pre-historic Studio One dancehall, back before Bob Marley and U-Roy even, reggae was basically Jamaican musicians interpreting Motown and Curtis Mayfield-type soul and still in 2009 any riddim that gets back to that “Sitting in the Park," “I’m Your Puppet” vibe is a guaranteed killer in my book.
Download: Collie Buddz, “Par Wid I-Mon”
This is a late entry on Shane Brown’s underrated “Rainforest” riddim, half Showtime Bashment throwback and half atmospheric movie score. I’ve already justified the inclusion of any new Collie tracks but I’ll just add this: in spite of all the great white hype talk he inspired as a freshman artist, Collie has failed to turn into the watered-down crossover his label might have been hoping for and has instead morphed into an incredibly consistent and lyrical voice in dancehall. He’s kind of like the white kid whose reward for convincing everybody that he’s down with the fashionable black crowd at his high school is getting pulled over by a racist cop.
Download: Mavado, “Neva Believe U”
Download: Mavado, “A So You Move”
Not only did I give Mavado for his first press outside of JA back in '06, I also launched this very column one year ago this week with his tune “Nah Bleach.” So I couldn’t think about a back to Jamaica palmcast without touching on his new LP, which dropped yesterday. Go buy it. As “So Blessed” blows up in the dancehall and threatens to become the next “So Special," I thought I’d include these two sterling 45s—either of which could be a Hot97 crossover with the right cameo on the remix. Which brings us to:
Download: Full-length Walshy Killa, Culture 2009: Musically Yours”mix