Chaka Demus / Chaka Demus & Pliers

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The singer-DJ combination has a long and honorable history in reggae music; the juxtaposition of singing and toasting just seems to have something inherently pleasing about it. But, strangely, there are relatively few singer-DJ duos working together as a single act. Chaka Demus & Pliers are one of those few acts, and they have managed to build an enviable reputation for themselves with the winning combination of Demus' gravelly chatting and Pliers' sweet singing voice. They have also shown solid commercial judgment, scoring hits with a combination of topnotch studio backing (Sly & Robbie were early helpmates) and a string of novelty and cover tunes that included "Murder She Wrote," "Twist and Shout," and "Tease Me." All of those winning elements are present on their latest effort, which features the instrumental talents of Sly & Robbie along with a slew of other studio hands, the requisite novelty cover ("Don't Be Cruel") and lots and lots of solid ragga-inflected modern reggae. Demus has one of the archetypal dancehall voices, and Pliers is a gentle and caressing singer; on songs like "It Hot" and "Miss Fine" they complement each other perfectly, and even when the primary focus is on dancehall-ready computer beats, there are always catchy melodies riding along on top. This album stands with the best in this duo's catalog.

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