Chaka Demus & Pliers

For Every Kinda People

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Singer-DJ combinations are always lots of fun, especially when the DJ has the sampling smarts and booming delivery of Chaka Demus. Pliers' singing voice isn't world-class, but it's serviceable. The pair's taste in cover versions is impeccable -- having already released a fine version of "Twist and Shout" as a mid-'90s single, they check in here with a fine take on the calypso classic "Man Smart, Woman Smarter" and with "Posse Come Jump Around," a rewrite of Yellowman's "Reggae on the Move" so blatant it was probably meant as a tribute. The rhythms could have been more consistently tight and focused; when Chaka tries to chat on "Hurry Up & Come" he's almost undone by the flat, foursquare beat, and it's even worse on "Comin' Home," a song whose loping swing rhythm is very poorly suited to reggae toasting. And why can't Pliers bring himself to sing in the right key on "War a Gwaan?" Despite several strong cuts, this album has difficulty recovering from missteps like these.

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