Liberate Yourself

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This two-disc set makes an interesting package: disc one is a new album from Sizzla, currently one of the top deejays on the conscious dancehall scene; disc two is a compilation of similarly oriented artists from the Kariang label, all of them delivering cultural roots lyrics in a dancehall style. The Sizzla disc is rather uneven in quality. Its opening track, "Inna Africa," is bloody awful -- Sizzla alternates chatting and singing what sound like purely improvised lyrics over an arrhythmic instrumental track, often straying off-key and rarely saying anything worth listening to. He gets things under control subsequently, though, delivering an earth-shaking sing-jay performance on "Takes Only Time" and tearing things up masterfully on "From Long Time." Yet he keeps veering off-course. On "Fire fi Burn" his chatting again seems strangely divorced from the music. Disc two is more varied in approach and more musically interesting. Though the best track is probably Garnet Silk's exquisite "Sayonara," other highlights include Doniki's very nice soca-influenced "I've Been There," Bushman's "Somewhere," and the supremely paranoid but kicking "Micro Chip" by Prezident Brown. Modern reggae doesn't get much better than this.

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