Shabba Ranks's status as a toaster extraordinaire and king of the international dancehall scene is mostly attributable to his deep, muscular voice, provocative lyrics, and dazzling, rapid-fire rapping/singing. But his collaborations with producer/engineer Bobby "Digital" Dixon, which began in 1989 at King Jammy's recording studio, have greatly contributed to Shabba's unique sound. BEST BABY FATHER, another Dixon/King Jammy production, finds the producer and artist further refining their winning formula with bass- heavy, dub-influenced soundscapes and a rhythmically dense yet accessible vibe.
Dixon knows how to foreground Shabba's voice in the mix for maximum effect, keeping the singer's forceful baritone front and center as it rides the roots-inspired rhythms. Whether on mid-tempo grooves like "Can't Drop Off a Shape" or insistent, bouncy story-songs like "What a Nite," Ranks's rough-and-ready, hip-hop-influenced delivery is always powerful, and--along with Dixon's fine production-- makes BEST BABY FATHER another in a string of commercial dancehall winners.