Sugar Minott

Inna Reggae Dance Hall

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Bundling up a dozen recent hits done with a variety of different producers (sadly, the album provides no information on this point), Sugar Minott moves gracefully into the ragga age. As expected, the cuts are all over the map stylistically and thematically, as dancehall itself electrified roots and lovers rock. But this creative diversity was ragga's strength, and was perfect for the DJ's own multi-pronged approach. The very ease with which Minott embraced ragga is evident in the relaxed atmosphere that surrounds all the tracks. From the deeply rootsy "Victim of Society," a sufferer's gem, to the laid-back lovers rock of "You've Got the Love," and on to the stripped-down-to-the-beats and peppered-with-effects "Four Wheel Wheelie" and "War and Crime" (hardcore dancehall-winning duets with Charlie Chaplin and Jackie Lickshot respectively), the DJ skips across the musical spectrum with perfect agility. Several tracks are notable for their very simplicity and easygoing air, notably "Run Come" and the rocksteady-esque "Rhythmic," awash in harmonies and a lush melody. Others are startling in their innovative sounds, particularly "All Day and Night," very loosely based on the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night," "Nuh Follow Nuh Fashion," obviously inspired by the Techniques' "Queen Majesty," and "Inna Rab a Dub," with its sublime blend of throbbing bass and funky little guitar riff. The ragga age was more than one-rhythm records; at its best it electrified the entire musical lexicon and audiences in its wake, and Inna Reggae Dance Hall is a prime example of ragga at its most creative.

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