Various Artists

Riddim Driven: Buy Out

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The "Buy Out" riddim by Tony Kelly was one of the hottest of 2001 in Jamaica, powering tracks by acts as diverse as Beenie Man, T.O.K., Spragga Benz & Twice, and Sadeki. To be fair, it's a good rhythm, although hardly original, based around three chords, but its simplicity is what makes it so versatile. It lets the plain pop of "Drive Me Crazy" from Mr. Easy, which seems more influenced by American Top 40 than anything out of Jamaica, sit well with the hyper dancehall of Beenie Man's "Miss L.A.P." Elan remade a couple of classics, putting both Neil Diamond's "Red Red Wine" and Bob Marley's "Put It On" over the riddim to good effect, while T.O.K. unleash the weekend anthem "Money to Burn," which illustrates their close-harmony abilities. More than anything else, Buy Out shows the range of modern music from the loudest island in the world -- and there was far more going on there in 2001 than many realized. Dancehall was the dominant culture, thanks to stars like Beenie Man and Spragga Benz, but pop, harmony, and roots reggae survived. However, a disc like this also points out the limitations of the music; that there's a dangerous lack of originality, as riddims get recycled in many different forms -- although that's been the case for many years and the music hasn't died.

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