Raggasonic

Raggasonic

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The raggamuffin duo of Big Red and Daddy Mory from the French West Indies got very popular in France very quickly with their solid debut disc, Raggasonic. That may have resulted from hearing dancehall DJs spinning rhymes about French life experiences over familiar reggae and raggamuffin rhythms and melodies, but it doesn't mean Raggasonic won't satisfy dancehall fans who don't speak French. Raggasonic recruited top Jamaican musicians -- Sly & Robbie, Steelie and Clevie, Mafia & Fluxy -- to craft very spare, usually slow arrangements to frame the rapid-fire vocal flow of the French tag-team toasters. There are a few hip-hop touches -- the French rap crew Supreme NTM joins in on "Aiguise Comme Une Lame" -- but the music is mostly electronic raggamuffin adapting Jamaican classics. Big Red and Daddy Mory boast about their DJ prowess, deal on social ills and street life from a Rasta perspective, and, on "J'Entends Parler," the need for AIDS awareness over Bob Marley & the Wailers' "Waiting in Vain." The roots-style horns on "Poussiere D'Ange" blend with an almost rocksteady melody and the closing "International" rocks convincingly with help from Barrington Levy-sounding singer Desmond. Desmond also contributes vocals to "Original," which really isn't -- but it's also done well enough that if you like the sound, it really doesn't matter. That also does a pretty good job of summing up Raggasonic.

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