Various Artists

Scoobay!

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The 57th entry in the Greensleeves label's series of "rhythm albums" (on which 15 or 20 deejays and singers are invited to take turns singing and/or chatting over the same instrumental backing track) is based on an extremely minimalist rhythm, one that is almost unbearably boring when listened to by itself but gives the intrepid vocalist lots of room to stretch out and show his or her stuff. And there are no surprises here in that regard: Elephant Man (after whose trademark cry of "scoobay!" this rhythm is named) both sings and raps effectively, lending an honest-to-goodness melody to the rhythm and making it listenable as well as danceable. Veteran DJ Mad Cobra makes an appearance on the relatively restrained "Don't Watch Me," and Vybz Kartel makes a typically strong contribution with "Stress Free." Scoobay! is unusually heavy on slack numbers, unfortunately, and some of the names that have redeemed similarly weak rhythms on previous entries in the series are missing here, making this one something less than an essential purchase overall.

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