Various Artists

DJ Connection [November]

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At first glance, this is not a very promising looking-album. Released on a no-name label and featuring an array of mostly obscure DJs (Little Lenny and Elephant Man are the notable exceptions), DJ Connection has all the hallmarks of a waste-of-time, one-rhythm rip-off. But in fact, it's a surprisingly consistent and enjoyable tour de force by some DJs who deserved more commercial attention than most of them eventually got. For one thing, it's not a one-rhythm album -- it's about a four-rhythm album, and those rhythms are all provided by the formidable Firehouse Crew, which means that they're well above the generic dancehall standard. And apart from a couple of real stinkers (such as Leggo's worthless "U Man Love U Body" and Elephant Man's disappointingly atonal "Tekkie-Tekkie"), the chatting is generally first-rate. Highlights include Red Dragon's "Hise It Up," which quotes slyly from the Toots Hibbert standard "Pomps and Pride," Black Coolie's conscious and minimalist "Shout Selassie I," and Ken Serious' lovely singjay performance on "Unity Is Strength." You may have to search to find this one, but it's worth the effort.

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