Reggaeville Riddim Corner #2 [February 2015]
02/04/2015 by Dan Dabber
Island Roots X Kingston 8 X Ghetto Bible X Brit Jam Flesh
Donovan “Don Corleon” Bennett may be the best producer to come out of Jamaica in the last 15 years and, even with a 2 year hiatus from the riddim game, Bennett’s newest release from his Don Corleon Records imprint, Island Roots Riddim, is likely to become a romantic staple for the spring. This new riddim oozes lovers’ rock vibes and is the perfect soundscape for all four artists chosen for this project. This is especially true for singer Jah Melody, whose Island Roots version, entitled Over U, may be the strongest song included in the release, even with solid contributions from veteran artistes Shaggy, Cecile, and Pressure. With such immense talent on the riddim, there is no doubt that, no matter where you are in the world, Corleon’s Island Roots Riddim will soon be at a reggae party near you and it will likely hold a regular spot there, creating a distinctly amorous vibe well into the summer months.
Kingston 8 Riddim is a rather important release for Wayne “Unga Barunga” Thompson and Jason “Big Bass” Welsh, the truly dynamic duo behind Notis Records. Although they are veteran musicians and experienced producers with several riddim credits under their belt as Notice Records, Kingston 8 is Unga and Big Bass’ first riddim since the departure of their third producer and keyboardist, Llamar “Riff Raff” Brown. Riff Raff’s exit prompted a new spelling and, essentially, the need for a new identity for Notis as a label. The label’s updated image was etched in stone last summer with Diamond Sox, a huge hit single about rasta fashion sense voiced by singer Iba Mahr. Mahr also contributes to the Kingston 8 project with a song called Mama Rosie, but this cut, and the vibe of the riddim in general, is rather glum and sentimental. Although tracks like Bugle’s Where Were You and Konshens’ Jah Never Leave My Side will likely be included in many conscious reggae sets in the near future, it is doubtful that Kingston 8 will make the kind of impact that Diamond Sox made in 2014.
ZJ Dymond of ZIP 103 FM and Full Chaarge Records also made a big impression in 2014. His Promiscuous Riddim was a dancehall mainstay through much of the year, yielding two hit versions, Gage’s Kitty Kat and Vybz Kartel’s Pretty Position. His first 2015 release, Ghetto Bible Riddim, promises to bring similar success to Full Chaarge this year. The riddim itself has a raw and aggressive vibe, but is irresistibly danceable and, surprisingly, melodic. The versions are voiced by some of dancehall’s top talents like I-Octane and Kalado, and the tunes that stand out the most from this release are Mavado’s Ghetto Bible, Alkaline’s Nuh Like People, and Vybz Kartel’s Straight and Narrow, all of which will be in heavy rotation status in high-energy dancehall sets for many months to come.
The two men behind Good Good Productions, DJ Satday and Zum, have taken cross-promotional marketing to the next level with their long-running Brit Jam riddim series. In addition to being dancehall producers, Satday and Zum are party promoters on a global scale, organizing the annual Brit Jam Spring Break Music Festival in Montego Bay. Their latest riddim to carry the festival’s brand is the Brit Jam Flesh Riddim. True to its meaty modifier, the riddim is saturated with a dreamy sensual vibe, inspiring Konshens to Bring Back Love Making and Vybz Kartel to declare that “your pum pum is paradise” on his appropriately titled version Paradise. In addition to these two dancehall heavyweights, the Brit Jam Flesh also features a stellar lineup of both young and veteran vocal talent including Bryka, D’Angel & G Whizz, Ghost, and Nitty Kutchie. Despite a good showing from a capable cast of artistes, Brit Jam Flesh will probably not produce a hit tune. However the dancehall fan base, especially the female segment of the market, seems to have an unquenchable thirst for sexy, provocative music . So, there is a good chance that the Brit Jam Flesh Riddim will be a part of their musical diet for at least a little while this year.
LISTEN TO THE FOUR RIDDIMS HERE: