Various Artists

Toasted: Massive Ragga Jungle

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In the early 1990s, British dancehalls were overtaken by a new style of music called jungle -- a strange and weirdly compelling combination of slow, languorous reggae basslines and hyperactive double-speed breakbeats, usually supporting the vocals of deejays chatting in the "ragga" style that ruled the reggae scene by that point. This collection (presented in an ultra-cool metal tin) compiles jungle hits and underground tracks from those early days, and it's a solid winner. It starts out strong with Prizna's "Fire (Urban Shakedown Remix)" and never lets up the pressure; there's Smokey Joe's excellent "Gimme My Gun," with its dancing bassline and astoundingly intricate beats, and the North African inflections of Badman's "War in '94," plus much more. Every track hits you where it hurts the most, and that's a compliment. You couldn't ask for a better introduction to classic jungle.

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