Various Artists

Island Warriors [Hobo on the Hill/Mountain Apple]

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If you didn't know that Hawaii hosts a vibrant contemporary reggae scene, then this delightful compilation will come as a pleasant surprise. If you're already familiar with the scene, then it will offer a handy overview. Either way, it's an outstanding collection of modern reggae by just about any standard. Ranging from the contemporary roots stylings of artists like Fiji and Natural Vibrations to more dancehall-oriented fare by Jamin the Chief Ragga and Baba B., Island Warriors showcases an impressive roster of local talent. Highlights include the contribution from Natural Vibrations, whose "Tools and Materials" betrays a clear Steel Pulse influence, and Mana Ohana's sweet and poppy "Island Dream Girls"; Jamin the Chief Ragga exhibits top-rate toasting chops on the fine "Flex." This album only stumbles on B.E.T.'s "One Love Jam," a lame "Hits on 45" treatment of reggae classics. Highly recommended overall.

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