Reggaeville Riddim Corner #3 [February 2015]
02/27/2015 by Dan Dabber
Dub Inc from France has worked with Jamaican artistes like Busy Signal and Tarrus Riley. Their drummer, Greg 'Zigo' Mavridorakis, is the musical mastermind behind Greenyard Records, a one drop focused label responsible for several releases over the last few years, including riddims like Jah Light, My Son, and Design. Greenyard’s newest riddim release, Fight It, features a cast of both recognizable and lesser-known artistes, including Suga Roy & Conrad Crystal, Natural Black, Tony Curtis, and Jah Mason, but to call this music “new” is a bit of a stretch. Curtis’ contribution, Fight It, was featured on his 2011 Greenyard produced EP by the same name, and and all but two of the versions from the new Fight It Riddim release appeared on the Dub Inc Summer Mix 2013. Despite the long wait, this grimey dub-inspired riddim has remained musically relevant and includes top offerings from all artistes involved, especially Jah Mason whose version, Never Forget, is a modern rasta anthem of the highest caliber.
Although Nyle Banks Music has released several singles, Black Roots Riddim is their first full riddim project and, if it is any indication of where Nyle Banks is heading, their future looks bright. But this has always been the case for Fyakin, the owner and CEO of Nyle Banks, and a talented artiste who has shown great potential over the last few years. The same can be said for the understated artiste line-up for Black Roots which features veteran singer and eternal underdog Lutan Fyah as the most recognizable artiste. The riddim is fleshed out with surprisingly solid contributions from unknown singers like Andi Ites, Tough Like Iron, and Chris Matic, the latter teaming up with Fyakin for a strong social critique called Revelation. Andi Ites, who possesses a powerful and unique, almost operatic voice, may actually be the biggest standout of the project with his version, Reparation Time, an outstanding and heartfelt condemnation of capitalism.
Make no mistake about it, although Dancehall Sings is one release, it is most certainly a release composed of two different riddims (Roots Edition and Love Edition). Producer, ZJ Chrome, calls it a “twist", and it is not unusual for Chrome, who is also a “Zip Jock” on Jamaica’s popular ZIP 103 FM, to put so much thought into how his projects are presented. Even though his label, CR203 Records, is mostly known for dancehall riddims like 2010’s Mad Collab, which included Vybz Kartel’s massive smash Clarks, Chrome has released several one drop riddims over the last five years, including the popular and thematically titled Cardiac series which included Cardiac Bass Riddim, Cardiac Strings Riddim, and Cardiac Keys Riddim, all released separately between 2010 and 2013. So, Dancehall Sings is only the latest in Chrome’s catalogue of conceptual works and it is certainly his most layered as well. In addition to this double release featuring two riddims, Dancehall Sings also employs a concept reflected in its name. Chrome called upon fifteen of dancehall’s biggest names including Vybz Kartel, Alkaline, and Popcaan to sing over these distinctly one drop riddims, a concept not unheard of, but usually not applied on such a grand scale. Each artist contributed one song, then Chrome mixed down a version of every song on both riddims, so the listener can choose which riddim they prefer as their backdrop to the vocals. When asked why he would present a release in this fashion, ZJ Chrome said, “Based on travelling, I found out that half of the world like a certain type of reggae and the other half like the next type.” Whether you like dancehall, roots and culture, or lovers rock, CR203 has you covered with the Dancehall Sings Riddims.
LISTEN TO A MIX OF THE RIDDIMS HERE: