Mr. G


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If you were listening to one of those great, over-the-top, and very silly Red Rat and Goofy tracks back in the day, there's no way you'd guess one of those jokers could turn in a fully formed, knockout album. Nobody but dancehall's inner circle knew it, but Goofy (real name Chad Simpson) was learning all he could about the business while releasing those novelty singles and setting himself to be a songwriting/producing/singing triple threat. It all comes to life on Issues, Simpson's debut for his less silly moniker, Mr. G. He's still playful and fun, but he's added poignant and reflective to it, along with a slick R&B-styled palette of sounds. Issues is way more varied than most dancehall albums and way more polished, but still with that punch. Simpson sits in the producer's chair here and there and brings in some top-notch help (Shocking Vibes, Pop Rox) to keep things lively. With Wayne Wonder, Tony Rebel, and Beenie Man, the album has plenty of A-list power and it all works. Even pop diva Joss Stone's appearance on "Issues" fits like a glove and you'd be hard-pressed to pick a whack track. Mr. G is a skilled vocalist, taking it slower than most of his contemporaries and making it easier for all non-Jamaicans listeners to keep up. The album is just a bit too lightweight to be called an instant classic, but rarely do you walk away from a full-length -- pop, R&B, dancehall, or whatever -- with so many good tunes stuck in your head.

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