This two-CD, 31-song dancehall compilation isn't one of the most top-notch such things that could have been assembled, in part because it's primarily a chronologically uneven mix of material from dancehall's '80s prime with circa 2005 cuts. The non-chronological sequencing is none too clever either, and some of the criticisms non-dancehall lovers have of the genre -- a repetitiousness (particularly of the rap-influenced singing/chanting), some over-reliance on synthetic instrumentation, and generally weaker songs than the pre-1980 reggae from which it descended -- will also hold true to some extent. Still, it does have tracks by quite a few big reggae/dancehall names, including Shabba Ranks, Frankie Paul, Gregory Isaacs, Chaka Demus, Junior Reid, Horace Andy, and Buju Banton, along with artists who won't be familiar to non-reggae specialists. Some of it's formulaic, but there are occasionally nice surprises like Apache Indian's "Boom Shak-A-lak," which combines manic growling vocals with a fairly dynamite son-of-"Wooly Bully" groove, the Afro-pop-like rumble of Elephant Man's "Free Your Soul (Lose Control)," and Demus' off-kilter take on "Twist & Shout." There's enough quality stuff on here to make it worth a chance for some casual consumers, though it might be more useful as something to selectively extract your personal favorites from for your own compilation.
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2