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Production LEE MILLER, Jah Vinci cut.
Jah Vinci who reminds me, for some reason of the 90-ties DJ:s. A good thing I guess, perhaps why he is popular....
A lot of hype around the 90-ties riddims these days, but I'd like to be ahead of the game so I thought I’d take look at the -00 riddims and sort the seed from the weed.
During -00 there really was three major phases.
Up to 2003 things preceded pretty much in the tracks of the 90:ties. Riddims had the same style and pace, but what is noticeable is that the monster riddims became more and more rare. For example, -98 had riddims like Baddis, Showtime, Powerplay, Bruckout and Bookshelf. All of these are today considered classics and are already rectu, som a number of times. And that was just one year. -99 had Street Sweeper, the Bug and Bada Bada and Backyard, all huge riddims. If you on the other hand look at the periods 00 – 03 there are pretty much just Martial Arts that comes close in terms of popularity. A lot of good riddims, no doubt about that, but much fewer riddims that really made a big impact or will be remembered in the future.
Then in 2004 there was a beginning of a was a second phase. There was a distinct change of pace as one drops suddenly got popular. Don Corelone kick started the trend with the release of Drop Leaf (and Jah Cures monster hit Longing For on that same riddim). In retrospect it may not seem very impressing, but at the time it was pretty unthinkable that a traditional reggae song would become a dancehall hit, much less an entire one drop riddim. It was not unusual with odd one drop hits, but to think a set of tunes on one drop would make an impact in the dancehall was far fetched. However, Drop Leaf did it and the started an intensive release of one drops. Already the same year saw the release of I Swear and Hard Times, two of the most consistent one drops ever released, and sure future classics.
In 2005, one drop was the name of the game, and as always when some thing new is invented the best came first. 2005 was stunning, with the release of Seasons, Sweat Sop, Cry Baby, State Of Emergency, Strivers, Lion Paw, Istanbul and Rose Apple. And if that wasn’t enough, the two biggest hits (by far) where also on one drops – Daimain Marleys Welcome To Jamrock (World Jam riddim) and Marlon Asha’s Ganja Farmer (Ganja Farmer riddim). I bet these two years will be regarded as the golden age of ”modern” one drops in the future. And for good reasons, all these riddims, and the versions on them, are magnificent, timeless music.
Then in 2006 came the third phase. There where still good one drops being produced, like Wash Belly, Street Swing, but they weren’t nearly as successful as before. The trend has clearly changed.
And as Don Corleon had set the pace slower on 2004 with Drop Leaf, another producer with new ideas changed it again – Stephen “De Genious” McGregor.
His Powercut, Red Bull & Guinness, Breaking News and Ghetto Wiskey riddims (some of them produced with Delly Ranks) change the focus of the dance back to faster riddims, but this time with a much rawer and drum oriented sound than before. While the dancehall riddims of the -90tis, and the riddims that followed them in early -00, put focus on melody and hooks, the riddims post De Genious focused on drum patterns.
And that’s where we are today. McGregor is still one of the top producers, and he made some of the best and biggest riddims the last 4 years (Tremor, Advocate… woow, what riddims!), but overall his impact is probably even bigger in the way his first riddims changed the sound and direction of dancehall.
Looking through the history of JA music since the early 60-ties, it’s clear that a major change in direction appears approximately about every fifth year. So if this continues to be true we have something exciting and new to look forward to in the near future…!
By the way, all the riddims mentioned above are of course available here in JAMRID.