Bounty Killer

Ghetto Dictionary: The Mystery

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Ghetto Dictionary: The Mystery Review

by Rick Anderson

Ghetto Dictionary: The Mystery was released in early 2002 simultaneously with the similarly packaged and configured Ghetto Dictionary: The Art of War. The two releases are befuddling in a number of ways; for one thing, both of them seem to include a combination of new and previously issued songs, though which ones are which is not really made clear on this one (presumably those fans who are most intimately familiar with the Bounty Killer catalog will recognize the older material on sight). Second, it's not exactly clear why the two albums were released simultaneously, or why they are designed as two parts of a set, or what is the significance of the Ghetto Dictionary theme. Nevertheless, there's no questioning the quality of the music on The Mystery; the rhythms are aggressively dark and minimalist, but occasionally a ray of melodic sunshine bursts through, as on the engaging "Guns in the Ghetto" (a nice combination track with Morgan Heritage) and the hidden thanks-and-praise anthem that closes the album. "Fed Up (Remix)" finds Sly & Robbie building a solid foundation of ragga and North African elements for Bounty Killer to ride in his inimitably gruff style. This is not an album that's going to change the reggae world, but it's a solid effort from one of dancehall's more respected DJs.

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