Sugar Minott

Slice of the Cake

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Originally released the same year, 1984, as Herbman Hustling, and subsequently suffering accordingly, Slice of the Cake bundled up a batch of Sugar Minott's recent work and hits. Recorded with Sly & Robbie, the Roots Radics, and Tod's Dynamic Crew, much of the album features a deep roots sound and, as expected, plenty of dubby effects. The beats themselves, however, are dancehall fired, while there's a foreshadow of an embryonic ragga style. The title track, for example, has a wondrously organic quality, even as the electronics pulse through. More extreme is the fierce "Inna Dance Hall Style," a cut stripped almost down to its bare rhythms. There's little for lovers, but the few there are easily trade quantity for quality. The soulful "How Could I Let You Go" is too fast for close dancing, but superb regardless, while "Is It True" boasts a rocksteady tempo, passionate vocals, and a supple, throbbing bass. Of particular interest to fans is the intriguing original version of one of Minott's biggest hits, "Buy Off the Bar" (mistitled here as "Buy Out the Bar"), while the deeply dread "We a Fi Live" and the scathing "Harbor Shark" are both roots gems. In a very different mood comes "Nice It Up" and "Level Vibe," another big hit, both happy-go-lucky cuts with a dancehall vibe but a pop soul. The rest of the record is just as entertaining, and captures much of the artist's best cuts from the time.

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