Various Artists

Ragga Jungle Anthems, Vol. 2

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Released the year after Volume 1, Ragga Jungle Anthems, Vol. 2 feels kind of like leftover stew. It features the same winning combination of heavyweight dancehall reggae and hyperkinetic jungle breakbeats, but only a handful of tracks on this similarly long-winded compilation feel like truly essential material. These include the brilliant drum'n'bass reconstruction of Barrington Levy's "Here I Come," which opens the program, and the masterfully arranged combination track "Gunman (Junglist Ricochet)" featuring Michael Prophet and Beenie Man. On the less impressive side are several tracks on which the producers didn't bother to make sure that the singer and the rhythm were in the same key -- examples include a version of Dawn Penn's "No No No" that is far inferior to the one on the first volume for just that reason, and a truly excruciating setting of Barrington Levy's "She's Mine," on which the singer and rhythm are not only working in different keys, but one is in a major key and the other a minor one. This collection isn't worthless, but those looking for a good introduction to the ragamuffin jungle genre should definitely start with the first volume.

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