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Well, when summing up 2007 the number one topic of course has to be the phenomenal success of Stephen 'Genius' McGregor and his brother Chino.
Last years Powercut would probably have been the biggest riddims of this year or last year, but as it was big around the shift 06-07 it’s popularity sort of spread over two years. With Redbull & Guinnes and Powercut 'Genius' dominated the producers league last year, and this year he’s been doing that even more. Check his impressing string of well received riddims like Tremor (my own favorite), Shadow, Darker Shadow, Dark Again and now the brand new Beehive.
In my view they are all very solid riddims, very well built and with distinct melody hooks. The only “but”, I guess, is that they are all very similar to each other, both in tempo, style and sound. It is impressing that Stephen and Chino have built all these riddims and had such success at a, particularly for a producer, tender age. However, I refuse to view them as top producers until they have shown more versatility. There is a long way before they can compare themselves to current top producers such as Vendetta/Don Corleon, Dave Kelly, Gussie Clark or even producers such as Birchill or Jam2. For that they have to add at least a few solid one drops, some heavy roots riddims and some solid long players to their CV.
Having said that though, there is of course one riddims from the McGregor brothers that was completely different, the 2070’s riddims. This is, believe it or not, a 70ies disco groove very close to, or a version of, the old disco classic You Can Ring My Bell. Real cool and worth checking out for the more adventurous dancehall fan. God Good cuts, and particularly entertaining is Elephant man recutting his old Nah Smell lyric, replacing the “you can ring my bell” chorus with “if you arm nah smell”. Hilarious, has to be heard to be believed!!
I guess you know that Stephen and Chino are sons of Freddie McGregor, and that Stephen is only 17 years old. It’s going to be very interesting to se what he comes up with in the future. After all, it is producers and not performers that shape Jamaican music.
This is the Darker Shadow riddim, which caused some confusion as to if the Shadow riddim is the same. There are similar, but different, with Darker Shadow being the best of them, a bit slower, a bit heavier.