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Thread: Dancehall

  1. #1
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    Default Dancehall

    Happy New Year first of all!

    I mostly lurk on here without posting, but suddenly this seemed the natural place to turn, as there's always some pretty deep musical knowledge on display on these boards. Couldn't see another thread dedicated to the topic, so here we go.

    Having listened to roots and dub reggae for years I've decided it's time to start checking the music that's come out of Jamaica since 1980, which mostly means dancehall. I'm way out of my depth though, so I'm seeking any suggestions as to where to start.

    I was recommended (and am enjoying) this Terror Danjah mix which has a lot of early and mid-90s stuff on it. Also I picked up the Sept/Oct issue of Wax Poetics which has interesting interviews with Beres Hammond, Sugar Minott, and Gregory Isaacs in it. I'm familiar with the latter's earlier (non-dancehall) work, but the rest is a black hole for me.

    Those interviews have thrown up a few other artists too, but I think they're pretty limited to the period when dancehall was evolving out of earlier stuff. I'm interested in that for sure (I've been thinking about checking out one of Trojan's box sets covering that era), but that still leaves the whole of the last 20-odd years untouched. A mate has passed a copy of Sizzla's Black Woman And Child on to me, which is a starting point, I guess. Only picked it up today so I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet.

    Also, I have to admit that danchall's reputation precedes it somewhat. I'm happy to give anything a listen from an academic perspective, but any records that are over-the-top with misogyny and homophobia aren't likely to get much rotation for pleasure in my house. So more righteous tips would be appreciated Although if anyone has anything insightful to add about slackness in Jamaican music, that's definitely a conversation I'm very interested in having, as it's not something I've really had opportunity to discuss before.

  2. #2
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    Post 1980 you want Greensleeves, not Trojan.

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by john eden View Post
    Post 1980 you want Greensleeves, not Trojan.
    There's been some good re-release-compilations on Trojan. Best of the bunch is focused on mid 80s Sleng Teng digital riddim mania too :
    http://www.discogs.com/Various-Under...elease/2224770

    As for labels other than
    http://www.discogs.com/label/Greensleeves+Records
    the ragga ragga ragga! compilations on there usually give a good overview of the sound of the different years from a Greensleeves perspective, although the choice of the vocal cuts seems to be a bit random...

    Others with quite a few compilation/LP/12"s are/were
    http://www.discogs.com/label/VP+Records
    http://www.discogs.com/label/Fashion+Records

    and some more prominent ones on the 7'' front
    http://www.discogs.com/label/Black+Scorpio+%282%29
    http://www.discogs.com/label/Penthouse+Records
    http://www.discogs.com/label/Jammy%27s+Records
    http://www.discogs.com/label/Volcano
    http://www.discogs.com/label/XTerminator

    Also worth digging for are Wackies, Jah Guidance, Firehouse, COrner Stone, RAS but there's also a lot of Lovers Rock, Reggae, Roots etc on those as well and the borders are quite blurry imo....
    Therefore I'd love to see what John Eden and some of the other reggae-Phds on here would list as dancehall game-changers (as in sound changers/, seeing that dancehall is classified more or less by what's actually played/succesful in the dancehall as far as I understand it...), there's a few I have in my head which made everyone jump on a riddim structure/sound bandwagon, but my reggae/dancehall knowledge is somewhat patchworky.
    c.

  5. #5
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    The Heatwave did a 25 years of Dancehall mix. 1 tune from each year (sort of)
    http://www.theheatwave.co.uk/music/i...rsofdancehall/

    Tracklist:

    * Wayne Smith - Sleng Teng (1985)
    * Admiral Bailey - Punaany (1986)
    * Super Cat - Mud Up (1987)
    * Ninjaman - More Reality (1988)
    * Shabba Ranks - Wicked Inna Bed (1989)
    * Cutty Ranks - Retreat (1990)
    * Buju Banton - Stamina Daddy (1991)
    * Chaka Demus & Pliers - Murder She Wrote (1992)
    * Terror Fabulous & Nadine Sutherland - Action (1993)
    * General Degree - Papa Lover (1994)
    * Spragga Benz - Dem Flop (1994)
    * Capleton - Tour (1995)
    * Lady Saw - Sycamore Tree (1996)
    * Beenie Man - Who Am I (1997)
    * Mr Vegas - Heads High (Remix) (1998)
    * Bounty Killer - Look (1999)
    * Baby Cham - Man A Man (2000)
    * Ward 21 - Don't Push It (2000)
    * Sizzla - Pump Up (2001)
    * Mad Cobra - Press Trigger (2001)
    * Tanya Stephens - Touch Me No More (2002)
    * Elephant Man - Genie Dance (2003)
    * Vybz Kartel - Tek Buddy (2003)
    * Sean Paul - Temperature (2004)
    * Leftside & Esco - Tuck In Yu Belly (2005)
    * Assassin - As A Man (2005)
    * Tony Matterhorn - Dutty Wine (2006)
    * Natasha - Calabria (2007)
    * Mavado - So Special (2008)
    * Demarco - She Can't Wait (2009)
    * Busy Signal - Bare Gal (2010)

    Loads of other good mixes/free downloads on their site as well.

    There are some good mixes on the Hipsters Don't Dance Soundcloud page as well with tunes from last year.
    http://soundcloud.com/hipsters-dont-dance

    Joe Grime's show on Live FM is very good
    http://soundcloud.com/joegrime

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    Unknown soulja to thread!

  7. #7
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    You people rock my socks. Ta very much. I can sense a good weekend coming on...

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    Quick riddim ID request...

    I just picked up a (sleeveless) copy of Shabba Ranks' Xtra-Naked LP for 1, and was blown away by the final track '5-F Man'. Craziest dancehall riddim I've ever heard. Cant find a clip as it seems to have been removed from youtube, but this was a big album so someone must know who produced it.

    I can recommend the whole album btw (even the hip hop tracks are quite good), but that tune in particular is mental.

    edit;its off the lp thats got 'ting a ling a ling' on it
    Last edited by Benny B; 18-01-2011 at 10:38 PM.

  9. #9
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    Interesting tune. Sounds a little random, but I like it. Producer is Clifton Dillon, but can't find the riddim name

    http://www.riddimguide.com/tunedb/ar...sortby_riddim/

  10. #10
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    Some big tunes from 2000:




  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by dd528 View Post

    I was recommended (and am enjoying) this Terror Danjah mix which has a lot of early and mid-90s stuff on it. Also I picked up the Sept/Oct issue of Wax Poetics which has interesting interviews with Beres Hammond, Sugar Minott, and Gregory Isaacs in it. I'm familiar with the latter's earlier (non-dancehall) work, but the rest is a black hole for me.
    Here's two from Gregory for starters.






    Also, I have to admit that danchall's reputation precedes it somewhat. I'm happy to give anything a listen from an academic perspective, but any records that are over-the-top with misogyny and homophobia aren't likely to get much rotation for pleasure in my house. So more righteous tips would be appreciated Although if anyone has anything insightful to add about slackness in Jamaican music, that's definitely a conversation I'm very interested in having, as it's not something I've really had opportunity to discuss before.
    The explicit homophobia really got under way in the 90s - probably as a gesture of defiance to the western disapproval and the campaigns against Shabba and Buju (at least that was my impression - others may know more). So, while Rastas have never exactly been gay-friendly, you're much less likely to come across calls for them to be murdered if you stick to the 80s.

    Oh, and get yourself a good Gussie Clarke comp, like this.

    and obviously don't stop until you own this


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerjack View Post
    The explicit homophobia really got under way in the 90s - probably as a gesture of defiance to the western disapproval and the campaigns against Shabba and Buju (at least that was my impression - others may know more). So, while Rastas have never exactly been gay-friendly, you're much less likely to come across calls for them to be murdered if you stick to the 80s.
    Yeh, such a shame really as the 90s is hitting the right spot with me riddim wise... space, digital sine subs, fast chat lyrics to bridge the space/silence.
    fuckery. I need a voice scrambler that keeps melody & rhythm of the voice, but gets rid of the meaning.
    One example of one I found recently is here. It gets actually great from 34seconds onwards, although the sample just stops when it's about to get good... but not really playable, although it's probably one of the tamer ones...
    http://www.reggaecollector.com/en/de...hp?number=3454

    So here's a few mid 90 s riddims.

    Now Thing


    Mad Lion
    "Plenty more nice gals outa me slum, 1 milli on, 2 milli on...."


    nightcrawler


    And finally, Rotten Rich, here the good version, (there's another version of Rotten Rich that sounds like it sampled cringe worthy euro-dance chart hits though...), which I have some fond memories of when King Kong Sound played their kingkong special version....


    c.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by crackerjack View Post
    The explicit homophobia really got under way in the 90s - probably as a gesture of defiance to the western disapproval and the campaigns against Shabba and Buju (at least that was my impression - others may know more). So, while Rastas have never exactly been gay-friendly, you're much less likely to come across calls for them to be murdered if you stick to the 80s.
    I dont think thats really true. Soundsystem tapes from the 80's have tons of homophobia, and it really got going in the late 80's on vinyl, culminating in boom bye bye in '92. Im not sure you can really say that 'Western disapproval' had a huge amount to do with it either, more the general rise of slackness and attempts to get cheap forwards.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benny B View Post
    Quick riddim ID request...

    I just picked up a (sleeveless) copy of Shabba Ranks' Xtra-Naked LP for 1, and was blown away by the final track '5-F Man'. Craziest dancehall riddim I've ever heard. Cant find a clip as it seems to have been removed from youtube, but this was a big album so someone must know who produced it.

    I can recommend the whole album btw (even the hip hop tracks are quite good), but that tune in particular is mental.

    edit;its off the lp thats got 'ting a ling a ling' on it
    As Baboon pointed out, that was produced by Clifton 'Specialist' Dillion. IIRC, he produced all the 'dancehall' tunes on his major releases for Shabba. Dillon ran Shang records and also managed Patra and Mad Cobra in the early 90's, so he's viewed as being a bit of a starmaker. I always thought he was a bit underrated as a producer TBH.

    Whats interesting about the first couple of Sony Shabba albums in particular is that they contained loads of reversions of older tunes, done again in either a fairly shite hop hop/R+B crossover style, or with a completely different dancehall version. There's something quite strange about the dancehall versions too, they have a weird sheen to them but also tend to be pretty offbeat compared to mainstream JA stuff of the time, maybe as a result of Dillon working in a plush studio with Sony engineers? Who knows?

    Here's a favourite from 'a mi shabba':



    'Medal And Certificate' is another killer from the same LP.

  15. #15
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    hi dd528,
    First port of call for up-to-the-time dancehall should definitely be the heatwave. Their weekly show covers off loads of the best new stuff. Gabriel tends to do a yearly round up as well which is a good place to look for pointers on what was happening in a certain year (here's '09 for example http://tinyurl.com/6jnmddx)

    Heres an incoherent list of good artists from the last couple of years which might be useful (some of these may be well known to you already but just in case):

    Mavado, Vybz Kartel, TOK, Mad Cobra, Busy Signal, RDX, Blak Ryno, Gaza Kim, Spice, Demarco, Leftside & Esco, Charlie Black, Assassin, Popcaan, Twin of Twins

    None of these are particularly (or consistently) conscious though and homophobic / misogynistic stuff abounds; so for more specifically conscious stuff check- Alborosie, Turbulenc, Ras Myrdhak, Michael Rose

    Hope some of this is useful.

    John, thanks for posting those blogariddims links, so much stuff i never copped off there but should have; think i'll do a trawl to remedy that.

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