Various Artists

Bad Company

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With stuttering treble and straightforward beat the Bad Company riddim never over-shadows the dancehall singers. The rhythm is so simple that there aren't familiar patterns that the background s singers can fall into. This keeps several tracks from sounding very similar which is what happens on many other rhythm albums. A dominant rhythm seems to trap singers into cutting tracks that are almost indistinguishable. The Bad Company riddim sets the singers free and they turn some good tracks. Despite the lack of an obvious gimmick, the rhythm has attracted some of the best dancehall artists in Jamaica. Beenie Man seems to have liked the rhythm enough to cut two corresponding tracks with Bad Company. Although Beenie Man's first Bad Company track has been included on many ragga compilations, his second track, "Han Up Deh," has a faster flow and really rolls over the track. The scatted chorus and speed of the rhymes outdoes "Row Like a Boat," despite its popularity. Buju Banton cuts a track about guns that shows he can still tear up a rhythm. The chorus sounds like an NRA slogan but Buju Banton's unmistakable style is incomparable. When he calls out the track producers name ("Scatta") at the beginning of his cut, it is hard not to think of some of the brightest moments from Ras Shiloh. The rhythm has many great dancehall tracks but there is a fear that they will be overshadowed by the infamous "Chiney Ting." Elephant Man's track makes an obvious reference that highlights an ignorant sense of humor. Japanese girls call out to Elephant Man as he goes on to rhyme, mixing up oriental stereotypes freely. The track recalls Yellowman's "Mr. Chin." There is no doubt about Elephant Man's strength as a singer, but his sense of humor seems to be in question. It becomes clear that Elephant Man should stick to easier topics -- like guns and violence. Something that at least isn't directly offensive. Without Elephant Man's track the Bad Company riddim would be a collection of unstoppable tracks from the best in dancehall, minus another reason to question the genre.

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