Raggasonic, Vol. 2

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Raggasonic's debut was marked by the enthusiasm and reverence of a pair of French West Indian dancehall/reggamuffin DJs in France getting a chance to strut their lyrical stuff over musical styles they loved. But the second and final release by Big Red and Daddy Mory, again with first-rate Jamaican musicians providing the backing tracks, is geared toward adding something original to those forms thanks to fully realized songs that are more than mere platforms for stringing together rhymes in French over Jamaican rhythms. The pushing, up-tempo arrangements offer plenty of different textures -- "A La Ancienne" rides on a driving, rasty-sounding clavinet while "Mental Feat" freely mixes roots reggae nationalities by featuring ex-Black Uhuru vocalist Mykal Rose over the militant Anglo reggae of Aswad's "Mossman Skank." "Au Nom Di Qui" is very bright and vibrant and the fresh, upbeat "Faut Pas Me Prendre Pour Un Ane" mixes dub effects with Dean Fraser's alluring sax fills and bright Leroy Mafia piano. Rasta consciousness, calls against social inequalities, and Afro-centric themes dominate the lyrics along with pro-herb, anti-cocaine/crack, and anti-drinking sentiments. "Raggasonic Crew" closes out the strong Raggasonic, Vol. 2 and Big Red and Daddy Mory's career together in righteously rocking fashion.

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