Reggae Gold 2005

Kicking off with Assassin's urgent and revolutionary "Step Pon Dem" and closing with Lexxus' leering party number "Booty Clap," Reggae Gold 2005 compiles everything from sleazy dancehall to righteous roots and somehow makes it all flow. The series has bounced between spotty and vital with the 2005 edition skewing towards the latter. Beenie Man's "King of the Dancehall" and Nina Sky's "Turnin' Me On" are a little more crusty for 2005 than the usual selections the ultra-current series includes, but both hits are crucial and the Sky track is presented in its fiercer "Black Chiney Reggae Remix," which adds the brash singer Cham. Jah Cure and his mentor Beres Hammond put the love in lovers rock on their excellent cuts, while the lesser-known Kiprich tops them all with his bedroom crooner "Telephone Ting." Sasha's "Coca Cola Shape" slams like the crunkest Dirty South club number you can think of, and Elephant Man's furious singalong "Rah Rah" is presented in its slick reggaeton remix. The first CD orders these tracks in a smooth way while the "mixed" CD number two starts slow and builds to party level with wicked scratching on the turntable from Kingston radio DJ Collin "The Captain" Hines. ~ David Jeffries

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