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By the late '90s, the role of the conscious dancehall DJ might seem to be pretty well played out in reggae's history. However, on his first album for Philip "Fatis" Burrell's Terminator Productions, the young Lion proves that some important things still need to be said. His style is based pretty explicitly on that of Sizzla (who also records for Fatis), but his skills are such that he demands to be judged on his own merits. With the expert help of Sly Dunbar, Dean Fraser and other members of modern reggae's studio aristocracy, Lion delivers a first-rate collection of hard-driving, consciousness-raising roots dancehall. Song titles like "Show the Youths the Rights" and "Heathen a Heathen" will give you an idea of what to expect -- muscular, rolling dancehall beats and gruff pronouncements of condemnation for Babylon and salvation for the sufferer. Guest artists include the fine young roots singers Prince Malachi and Singing Colone, who sounds an awful lot like Sanchez but delivers a great performance on "Rich and Switch." Highly recommended.

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