Various Artists

Petty Thief

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For his "Petty Thief" rhythm, producer Michael "DJ Liquid" Brissett harks back cleverly to the early days of digital dancehall, with an old-school synthesizer sound and a bassline that explicitly references the classic "Sleng Teng" rhythm. His effort brings out the best in many of the 21 singers and DJs who were gathered to voice the track, though a few -- including some accomplished veterans -- fail to bring their best game. Among those is Elephant Man, who should have taken this rhythm and romped with it, but instead turns in a bloodless performance on "Wild Shot." Similarly, Mr. Vegas chats as though he's simply not listening to the backing track. Much better are the contributions of Macka Diamond, whose heartfelt "Murderer" is one of the program's clear highlights, and of Chico & Taz, who provide the finest singer-DJ combination track on the album. It's also great to hear Pinchers' whiny voice again, though the gunman lyrics on his "Double Xplosion" are kind of a drag. Busy Signal and Buju Banton both provide excellent speed-rap interludes on "2 Much Gun" and "Talk to Me," respectively. Recommended.

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