Sizzla

The Best of Sizzla: The Story Unfolds

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Sizzla's success is no mystery. He is a lightning-tongued DJ who can ride a rhythm and spout creative rhymes with the best of the dancehall chatters, and while he's no crooner, he is a better-than-average singer who presents his Bobo Dread beliefs with an appealing combination of rootswise devotion and gruff, aggressive certainty. And ever since attaching himself to Fattis Burrell's acclaimed Xterminator crew, he has done so to the accompaniment of the best dancehall and neo-roots rhythms available. This very useful two-disc best-of gives a good overview of Sizzla's work since the mid-'90s. Interestingly, the program de-emphasizes somewhat the gleeful depictions of fiery Babylonian destruction and the fierce homophobia that are typical of so many Bobo Dread albums (including Sizzla's) in favor of more generally palatable songs addressing broader issues of faith ("No Other Like Jah," "Show Us the Way") and upright behavior ("Good Ways," "Love Is Always There"). Still, the preachiness would be harder to take if the rhythms weren't so consistently great and if he weren't such a talented singer. The combination tracks are a mixed bag; there are only two, and one ("Jah Blessing," featuring Luciano) is wonderful, while the other ("King in the Jungle," with a whiny Jah Cure) is bearable. Highly recommended overall.

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