Various Artists

The Biggest Ragga Dancehall Anthems 2000

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Britain's well-established reggae label might be still having a rethink after releasing one too many Jamaican breakbeat compilations and watching Shaggy hit superstardom after leaving the flock -- but it seems for the best. With scowling electrified zippers and dirt under the fingernails, this amassed pile of Greensleeves releases pounds in the noblest and mangiest of ragga beasts this side of a Rastafarian golem. Dub tracks dropkick, the rabid percussion lines hiss like scorched steam, and the vocalists add instead of detract. Mr. Vegas pipes in a wonderfully offensive "She's a Ho" that sounds like hands-aloft hip-hop for two-step trendies and Ward 21 -- almost stealing the 40-track show -- is as nasty and rude as RZA thrusting heated ammo clips into the mouths of starving newborns. It pushes, it pulls, it all boils down to the medley at the end of the first disc: over a dozen of label favorites bobbing and weaving with crisscrossed rhymes over the top of an unsophisticated loop and not a duff link in the entire shebang.

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