Various Artists – Jamdown, Strictly Dancehall Volume 2

Jess Harvell

By Jess Harvell

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Shady-looking compilations are a dancehall tradition. Most of the big name artists and tunes are licensed to Greensleeves or VP Records, who've got the JA export game locked up. But Jamaica produces so much music per capita that invariably a few good or great tunes get chipped away from the coalface of seven-inch singles and make it to the US in a badly Photoshopped bottle. Mr. Vegas and Sean Paul may be the only names you recognize here, but don't let that turn you off; half the fun in dancehall is rooting around blindly. If you're only familiar with the smooth disco motion of US crossover hits like Nina Sky's "Mova Ya Body," tracks like Jack A Diamond's "Shoulder to the Wheel" might surprise you with traditional dancehall's chunky, clunky rhythm programming which lurches more than it funks. On the awesome "Tink Mi Fraid," Red Rat bounces his slightly hysterical (in both senses) pubescent voice along to the squelching acid squiggles. Despite a few wack cuts like the unfortunately named Loogaman's lukewarm "Hotness Ting," Strictly Dancehall 2 hides gems like the sickly sweet jungle coos of Swade's "All I Wanna Do" in a rather nondescript box.