For the second time in a less than a month a dancehall superstar has dropped a more or less straight reggae album. Mr. Vegas’ double set Sweet Jamaica dropped in late March and Busy Signal’s Reggae Music Again was put out on April 10th, originally set for April 19th.
The reason for both artists putting out one drop reggae albums in 2012 is to celebrate 50 years of reggae music, or more accurately, 50 years since Jamaica’s independence from the UK on August 6th, 1962.
Where the Mr. Vegas set included several covers and sweet, honey-drenched reggae, Reggae Music Again is more of an original and individual affair.
Busy Signal is one of the most versatile and unique artists in the reggae industry today and moves seemingly effortlessly between hard, percussion-driven bashment, such as Jafrican Ting, and sexy, bedroom-luring ballads, such as the Phil Collins cover One More Night.
Reggae Music Again is somewhere in between. It’s contemporary reggae of the finest sort, blended perfectly by some of Jamaica’s top producers and musicians, including Shane C. Brown, Donovan Germain and Dean Fraser. On top of the sometimes tough, sometimes hip-hop-tinged or R&B-flavored, riddims is Busy Signal’s authoritative singing or deejaying style, occasionally spiced with auto-tune.
Among the many fine moments is the modern rub and scrub Come Over (Missing You) along with the combinations 119 and Running from the Law featuring Anthony Red Rose and Joe Lick Shot on the former and Romain Virgo and Esco Levi on the latter. Two songs with completely different moods, while 119 is dark and grim, Running from the Law is more up-tempo and cheerful with its keyboard hook in the background.
Busy Signal states in the liner notes that he’s committed to keeping the reggae flag waving high and proud. His flag is on top of the pole, and will probably stay there for years to come.