Various Artists
Tony McDermott

Various Artists

The latest riddim from South Rakkas Crew, one of Miami's premier production outfits, is an infectious, whistle-blowing, booty-shaking romp called Red Alert, and it's already one of 2004's most popular dancehall beats, thanks to Capleton's blazing single "Real Hot." But no matter how appealing a particular riddim may be, there is an intrinsic tedium in twenty deejays voicing over the same computerized beat.

The South Rakkas Crew minimizes the monotony on this compilation of artists tackling Red Alert by making specific modifications to it for each vocalist. Layered handclaps and Spanish guitar flourishes color Sizzla's "Only Takes Love," churchlike organ riffs support foursome T.O.K.'s "Let It Shine" (which utilizes the chorus from the gospel standard of the same name), and furious synth overdubs underscore Predator's rage on "Mad Sick." There are suitable-for-all-ages selections by Tanto Metro and Devonte ("Some Bwoy") and Mr. Easy ("Pull Up"); X-rated offerings by Vybz Kartel ("Mi Fi a Dweet") and Cecile ("Hot Like We"); and international accents provided by deejays chatting in Spanish (Papichulo Crew featuring Escandalo's "Cho Cha [Spanish mix]") and French (Firestorm's "Gal So It Cool"), making this one of dancehall's most diversified and ultimately satisfying single riddim compilations in some time.


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