The Best of Capleton


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The Best of Capleton Review

by Jo-Ann Greene

Capleton first burst into the dancehalls at the dawn of the '90s, with a stream of slack singles that bubbled up quickly, establishing the teen as a toaster of considerable talent. But there was more to the DJ than sex and guns, for scattered among these X-rated records were discs that delved with deep insight into cultural concerns. With the massive success of 1992's "Alms House" and the following year's "Prophet," Capleton left slackness behind and positioned himself at the forefront of the Bobo chanters, whose religious zealotry would inspire the dancehalls through the remainder of the decade and beyond. The 1993 sufferer's classic "Touring" burned its way through the clubs, both in Jamaica and, courtesy of a hip-hop version, the U.S. as well. This led to a deal with the American Def Jam label, which released Capleton's African Star album Alms House album this same year, and his Xterminator-produced Prophecy in 1995. In Jamaica, the DJ could do no wrong. Working with the island's hottest producers and riding only the best riddims, Capleton unleashed a slew of hits, but his emotive, patois-laced delivery made it tough going for American audiences, and his sales suffered accordingly. Def Jam released one final album, I Testament, in 1997, before showing the Bobo Dread hero the door. Back home though, his star continued in the ascendant, as the DJ flooded the dancehalls with hits, cutting records for myriad producers. The Best of Capleton, however, focuses exclusively on his American-released output, bundling up singles and album tracks from his Def Jam years. As an introduction for the curious, it's a strong set, rounding up much of the best of this era, although with a mere 11 tracks, it's a particularly parsimonious collection. Still, it's arguably the best place to start for the uninitiated.

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