Beenie Man

New School vs. Old School

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New School vs. Old School sticks together two albums that have little in common other than they're both reggae and both originally came out on the U.K.'s Creole Records (who often license their dancehall releases from the Jamaican imprint Shelly Power). The Beenie Man disc turns out to be 1999's Ruff 'n' Tuff collection, which can be traced back to Shelly Power singles from 1994 and re-released in the U.K. in a different order as Mr. Cool. Beenie Man faithful will appreciate having his take on Chic's "Good Times," and the excellent "Mouth Murderer," but those only familiar with his major-label career will be surprised at the disc's rinky-dink production (which goes uncredited, of course). Horace Andy's disc is actually Wicked Dem a Burn, another Creole collection that sticks "Best of" in the subtitle but doesn't include career-defining moments like "Mr. Bassie" or "Every Tongue Shall Tell." The collection does contain quite a bit of fine music with Beenie Man sounding as collected and quick as ever in the strange context of shoestring budget production while Andy's disc contains little filler with plenty of worthy hits and showcases for his sweet voice. If Fuel 2000 bothered to sort out the details it would go a long way to make their releases more essential. As it is, the collection reeks of a quick buck and excess inventory.

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