Various Artists

Slow Bounce

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Michael "Liquid" Brissett's "Slow Bounce" rhythm -- a sharp and minimalist groove that bubbles along somewhere between an old-school dancehall flavor and a jumpy soca feel -- is the foundation for number 65 in the Greensleeves label's series of one-rhythm albums. As usual, a nicely mixed roster of established stars (Vybz Kartel, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Elephant Man) and up-and-comers was invited to sing or chat over the rhythm, and in this case it brings out the best in just about all the participants. Elephant Man's singing attempt doesn't quite work, but his speed-rap toasting is as tight as always, and the same is true of the silver-tongued Vybz Kartel and the gruffer Bounty Killer. Macka Diamond's singjay performance is a highlight track, as is the tag-team rapping of Ward 21. But top honors go to Tami, whose "Me Nuh Waa Dat" features both a brilliant kiss-off lyric and a hooky melody. It would have been nice to see the instrumental mix varied a bit more from track to track, but "Slow Bounce" is a strong enough composition to stand up to repeated listenings in its original form without causing too much weariness. Recommended.

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