Friday, January 30, 2004


ok, so it's a no-brainer that most dancehall albums are relatively dire: it's a 7" medium and all the better for it. but every now and again, i will pick up a long-player (ahem) by a dancehall/conscious artist if i missed the singles and it seems reasonable value.. so it is with last year's Anthony B 'Street Knowledge' album, and it's a weird beast. any album that kicks off with God Above Everything and Police has already justified its place in the rack, but other than that it seems to have some sort of identity crisis. the first few tracks are fairly righteous, but halfway through - perhaps because he's run out of things he thinks we need to 'bun', we're confronted with an entirely incongruous holiday reggae section, the most horrible example being 'I'm In A Dancing Mood', which is so dire (and camp, which is ironic, although to be honest Anthony B's lapses into homophobia are desultory and underpowered really, there being much more important stuff to 'bun' first) that it almost entertains, like Tony Benn suddenly stopping a monologue to do a 'i'm not saying my mother-in-law is fat...' routine.

for the most part though, despite relying on a few rather TOO familiar riddims, it's a decent album and to be honest i think Anthony B outranks Sizzla (who i guess he most resembles). Anthony B can do the breathless anguish thing and pull it off without sounding overwrought, whereas for the most part Sizzla sounds like he needs Ventolin more than Jah Love and comes off far too much like a joyless fundamentalist prick for my liking (Bono Dread, anyone?)....

(this was going to be a more general post about dancehall albums, but i got bored halfway through the new Elephant Man one, the first tune on the disappointing Vybez Kartel disc was straight out of the box with the boom bye bye business and Anthony B was entertaining me on the bus this morning....)

posted by dubversion at 1:20 pm

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