Shaggy / Chaka Demus & Pliers / Aswad

The Very Best of Shaggy, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Aswad

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The most questionable thing about this 2012 Universal set is where to categorize it. Does it go on your various-artists shelf/hard drive folder, or should it be split up? Wherever it lands, The Very Best of Shaggy, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Aswad is filled with hits from the artists, and seeing as how this is the major label Universal with the Island Records catalog in house, these are the real-deal recordings so no ripoff to report here. A welcome overview of the dancehall don, the Shaggy disc kicks off with the massive swagger hit "It Wasn't Me" along with pivotal singles like "Oh Carolina," "Boombastic," and the dance music crossover "I Wanna" with producer Bob Sinclar. Stuck in the middle is a worthy set featuring the light ragga duo Chaka Demus & Pliers, opening with their signature "Murder She Wrote" before fun numbers like "Bam Bam" and "One Nation Under a Groove" lead toward the disc-closing megamix. The sometimes reggae-pop, sometimes roots group Aswad are represented by their big and brokenhearted hit "Don't Turn Around" plus the much sweeter "Smile" and the righteous "Africa." Take the discs in one by one or think of it as a Reggae Sunsplash-headlining bill circa 1998, but either way, great set.

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