Various Artists

Dancehall Baptism, Chapter 2

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Maybe evangelical Christianity and dancehall reggae don't sound like natural partners. But really, there's nothing about the music itself that makes it an intrinsically more appropriate forum for praising Jah Rastafari than Jesus, as the Lion of Zion stable makes clear once again with another fine collection of gospel dancehall reggae. As always, the beats are slamming and the lyrics are fiery and heartfelt -- sometimes in a way that evokes the harsh rhetoric of the Bobo Dreads (check out Tiko & Gitta's "Sodom and Gomorrah") but more often in ways that place the artists' more specifically Christian faith front and center. Christafari, whose style is a bit more rootswise than most of the artists on this compilation, delivers one of the album's highlights with a nicely funky setting of Colossians 3:16-17 (which draws, interestingly enough, on Indian scales and percussion textures); another is Tiko & Gitta's almost creepy "One Minute You're Here." Monty G takes a minimalist speed-rap approach on "Christ Inna Ya Life" and it works very nicely, but the best moment comes right at the end with a melodically attractive jungle remix of Todah's "Beware." Recommended.