Its alright. The antecedent of a ton of awful midi synth riddims that probably peaked with Dutty wine. Also fast at about 110 and the beginning of a long curve up in BPM, bad company was probably the next step up.
Cobra is the best cut. Capleton, Sizzla, Vegas are all pretty awful, a career nadir for Sizzla actually. I remember meeting Keith Lawrence (who had a show after me on pirate at the time) at his shop in elephant and castle just before that came out and he told me Sizzla had gone slack. Didn't believe it and certainly couldnt believe just how bad hed gotten so quickly.
At the turn of the millennium especially you had a wedding DJ aesthetic in London. You can see this in Hertless Crew sets. Before they do garage they'll play Ja Rule & Ashanti, Elephant Man, all this glossy, shiny, happy music of the era, just the hits, from across dancehall, R&B and Rap. Soundsystems like rampage operate in the same way.
The music I like and grew up with has never been underground. I didn't have to search for it. It was what was in the air coming out of every car, every radio, what kids in school playgrounds were singing the lyrics to.
Hardcore, jungle, garage, grime, dancehall, R&B, rap, it's all the mainstream, populist music of the day in east London and I don't have a collectors cognoscenti mentality. I don't have a problem with the connesiuer thing. It's useful. But I'm not that person, I'm the other one.
I love it when I get to go to weddings of my peers in east London cos you will hear gimme the light, general levy doing incredble, whatever, and everyone, young and old going mad for it, every ethnicity like a Benetton advert on the dancefloor. I really value that thing I think it's special.
Don't try and play the popist card. Sean Paul is (like Shaggy) a very particular kind of dancehall crossover. Unlike say Beenie Man, Vegas, Shabba etc. who broke through because of how Jamaican they were, he made it by watering things down. Unthreatening, cuddly even, only a slight edge of patois - comprehendible to the average punter so everyone could sing along.
I mean, what am I supposed to say? How is it possible to have an argument about this? I don't see how it can be productive. I like a song. You don't like it. Sean Paul is a dancehall artist that came up through the dancehall scene and was accepted and successful within dancehall. He signed to Atlantic and made music for an American/Global audience later on. I don't think any of that is a deadly sin that deserves punishment.
it's a fairly standard career arc. Find popularity at a local level get signed by a major, make a kind of deracinated 'universal' music for a global audience.
The same space, but not in the same way - and that's the crux.
Heads high - an anti oral sex song, mainly popular because UK audiences couldnt understand the lyrics. Murder she wrote was the same - an anti abortion tune. Similarly Beenie with Who am I, but due to the playground riddim being such a classic bass heavy dancehall riddim. These tracks were popular without compromise.
So if gimmie the light was socially conservative it would be OK? So Log On is OK cos of step pon chichi man, but maybe signal the plane is a compromise? I dunno droid. If you don't like it I'm not interested in trying to force you to like it but I don't buy this line of reasoning.
If you cant see why an unthreatening, light skinned, uptown deejay who eschews all but the most anodyne themes of dancehall and whose delivery is barely inflected with patois became the most successful crossover artist ever - then Im not sure what else to say.
The reasons Sean Paul and not Bounty Killer say, was able to cross over are perfectly obvious. No one is disputing that. But the way the global pop marketplace operates is the way the global pop marketplace operates. There's not a huge appetite, at this point in time, for songs in heavy patois about killing gays or whatever.
I don't see how that makes gimmie the light a bad song. It just means the marketplace and the system are tilted in favour of unthreatening, light skinned, easily comprehensible.
Still seems like a weird argument to have. But it's kept me occupied all morning so fair play.
The same qualities which enabled his crossover appeal are the same qualities which make him a bit shit. This is why he is so criticised in JA for his inauthenticity. Virtually every other dancehall artist that had a mainstream hit were unable to capitalise on it because they were, fundamentally, too Jamaican.