Various Artists

Strictly the Best, Vol. 11

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The Strictly the Best series is the longest-running reggae compilation series and this volume clearly demonstrates why. A solid collection of 1998's hard-driving dancehall, Strictly the Best XXI displays the rough and ready side of the genre, booming with hot beats, sex and attitude. All of the year's popular hits are here but the standouts are Buccaneer's "Bruck Out," laced with rockin' guitar riffs and lyrics; Innocent Crew's "Impossible Mission," which cleverly samples the Mission Impossible theme; and Lady Saw's scorching "Oh Yeah." This record shines with back-to-back cohesive picks, except for DJ of the year, Beenie Man's "Gospel Time." Couched between the classic gospel hymns "Praise Him" and "Down by the Riverside" are the DJ's entreaties to "move to the right in the name of the Lord" and to "shake the booty that Jesus gave ya," indicating obvious, if ill-advised lessons from genre-twisting gospel peddler Kirk Franklin.

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