Wednesday, 1 July 2015

ALBUM OF THE WEEK: Chart-toppers and up-and-comers anchor star-studded Reggae Gold 2015

FEELING 'GOLDEN': Top musical acts, like Ding Dong, spice up VP Records' latest.

One of the assets music lovers usually find appealing about Various Artist compilation CDs is the diversity of the talents brought together, combined with the mix of sounds and moods that they capture.

When it comes to chart-topping R&B and hip-pop jams, you can’t do much better than the long-running Now! That’s What I Call Music series. In the sphere of dancehall and reggae’s finest, VP Records’’ enduring Reggae Gold series remains the benchmark. As it happens, their 2015 edition is set to drop July 17, coinciding with the record label’s 35th anniversary.

Packing 20 of the most memorable reggae and dancehall singles of the past 12 months, Reggae Gold 2015 is a feast of feel-good island vibes – a well-balanced soundtrack that finds fast-rising young acts sharing space with some acclaimed veterans. So while the disc features standout releases from Yahsha (“Karma”), Jah 9 (“Avocado”), Romain Virgo (‘Stars Across the Sky”) and Ikaya (“My Man”), you also discover icons still at the top of their game, namely Beres Hammond (“Jamaican International Dance”), Jah Cure (“Made in California”) and Inner Circle with Jacob Miller and Chronixx (“Tenement Yard”).

A few surprises are always thrown into the mix, and in this case Hollywood heavyweight-turned-rootsy hitmaker Eddie Murphy (the bouncy “Oh Jah Jah”) and Canadian supergroup Magic (the radio and Billboard smash “Rude”) get in where they fit in. As for ‘body specialist’ Gully Bop, one of the most talked-about acts in recent memory, he holds the distinction of having two of his popular songs being featured, back-to-back.

Torch-bearing gents Ding Dong (“Syvah”), Dexta Daps (“Morning Love”) and Busy Signal (“Text Message”) – and trendsetting first ladies Spice (“Conjugal Visit,” with Vybz Kartel), Etana (“I Rise”) and Queen Ifrica (“I Can’t Breathe”) are all here, too, making it clear that when it comes to blazing a trail and ruling the charts, they still rank among the cream of the crop. Tyrone’s Verdict: A-

> DOWNLOAD THIS: Gyptian – “All One Me”; Chris Martin – “I’m A Big Deal”

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