Various Artists

24 Karat Gold: A 24 Track Mega-Mix of Classic Dancehall Hits

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Reggae fans nostalgic for the early days of dancehall will get a kick out of this compilation, which features 24 hits from the early to late 1980s, the period during which dancehall was emerging as a distinct reggae subgenre but well before the ascendancy of the computerized rhythms and ragga. Most of these songs are strictly old school: "Zungu Zeng" by Yellowman, "Kushung Peng" and "Cassandra" by Frankie Paul, "Wa Do Dem" by Eek-A-Mouse, and so on. The most recent hitmaker represented is Shabba Ranks, whose "Caan Dun" closes the program. The tracks are strung together end-to-end in "megamix" style, which is fine, but too often it seems like that format was used as an excuse to trim the songs excessively -- the average track length is just over two minutes, and in some cases the editing is blatant and distracting. That doesn't stop 24 Karat Gold from being very enjoyable, but it's an annoyance.

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