Echoslim X Nicko Rebel X Mr Williamz - "Higrade Skanking" (3:43)
Review: Nicko Rebel Music are back to serve up more top shelf skanking material after their debut release sold out in quick time. The EP introduces a host of debutants including Nadine Sutherland, Echoslim and Nicko Revel who sit next to the more established Mr Micah Williams, a Necessary Mayhem mainstay with skills to burn. Sutherland's "Dance Africa" is a rootsy roller with flabby bass and big trumpet lines accompanying her vocal work, which celebrates the glory of Africa, while B side "Higrade Skanking" from Echoslim X Nicko Rebel X Mr Williamz does exactly what it says on the tin.
Review: Howie Smart's "In Dancehall Style" was first released on the legendary dub label King Culture back in 1982, a time when dub, reggae, roots and dancehall were all intersecting and evolving at a slick pace. There's nothing hurried about the rolling rhythms on this one though, which has some exquisite drum playing embellished with avant-garde studio trickery while the vocals add old school authenticity. Along the way, there are pained odes to missed romances, stoner anthems and more dancey cuts all next to gorgeous dubs.
Link Up (feat Matthew Allman, Illaman & Black Josh) (4:54)
Hustle & Flow (feat Illaman) (3:05)
King On The Throne (feat Rodney P) (4:20)
Some Of Us Love Rum (feat Rebel ACA) (3:41)
Trilogy (feat Killa P & Harry Shotta) (4:08)
Review: Spragga Benz first made his mark in the mid 1990s, rising to become one of Jamaica's leading dancehall and reggae artists at the turn of the century. He's been rather quiet of late, though, with "Chiliagon" marking his first album release for almost a decade. It includes plenty of auto-tune-laden contemporary updates of his dancehall sound - with his trademark flow often laden in digital effects - but also touches on more traditional roots reggae, ragga, full band hybrid hip-hop/rock (intriguing opener "Move To The Music (feat Rebel ACA)"), ragga-jungle ("If Yuh Ready" with General Levy), grime ("Hustle & Flow") and the kind of ragged, punchy, heavily electronic club fare popularized by Switch and Diplo's Major Laser project.