Anthony B

My Hope

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During the year or so immediately preceding this album's release, there was a strong resurgence of interest in roots reggae sounds in the Jamaican and British reggae scenes. Singer and deejay Anthony B. has been well positioned to take advantage of that change in popular tastes, and has not only taken charge of developments in the neo-roots style but has also toned down the malevolent and self-righteous "fyah bun" rhetoric that typifies the message of so many of his fellow "Bobo Dreads." My Hope is built on an excellent set of rhythms from producer Andreas "Brothersman" Christopherson, featuring such distinguished session players as Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, Dean Fraser, Nambo Robinson, and Uziah "Sticky" Thompson; the Al.Ta.Fa.An. production team contributes one digital rhythm as well, the unusual "Classic," which features sampled baroque strings and provides the structure for Anthony B.'s "Dancehall Thing." The latter isn't bad at all, but the best tracks are the rootsiest, including the excellent "Face Off" (a combination track featuring DJ Gentleman), and another fine combination with Mark Wonder titled "Don't Cry." (The album's other collaboration, with Taffari, would have worked better if the latter had familiarized himself with the rhythm ahead of time.) Recommended overall.

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