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Uplifting and positive on The Reggae Power 2

unnamedLegendary riddim duo Sly & Robbie have once again teamed up with Japanese reggae stars Spicy Chocolate for another slice of reggae power.

The line-up on The Reggae Power 2 is strong and diverse ranging from old and young reggae and dancehall singers like Richie Stephens, Maxi Priest, Romain Virgo, Beenie Man and Cherine Anderson to seven piece latin pop and rock band Ozomatli and Japanese dancehall artist Ayo Ayo.

One of the most hyped cuts featured is Skip Marley’s Life. He’s son of Cedella Marley, daughter of Bob Marley’s. It seems that each Marley is destined to be a singer and Life, which opens the collection, is a fine slice contemporary and uplifting reggae music.

The set is mostly a reggae venture, but a few dancehall joints are also included. They are however far less tasty than the reggae cuts, and TOK’s soca/dancehall/pop/house fusion Feel So High could have been left out.

Best of the bunch is easily Loyal Flames‘ gritty and passionate Make It, with its infectious chorus, and Richie Spice’s Lay Back, on which he urges people living in developing countries to change their attitude – “can’t lay back, laid back, laid back is gonna hold you back, slow go, slow go, slow go gonna spoil your show, say you live in a third world country, but you want to be a first world country, you got to learn how to accept changes, so we can move from stages to stages, one track mind just won’t work.”

Another highlight is Ozomatli’s insanely catchy and ridiculously positive Affinity with its bright horns and loud backing vocals. In attitude it’s slightly similar to John Holt’s Reggae from the Ghetto.

The first instalment of The Reggae Power was nominated for a Grammy, and the odds for another nomination is probably pretty low.

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Fierce and smooth when Sly & Robbie team with Spicy Chocolate

MI0003837889Sly & Robbie’s joint album with Japanese producer Spicy Chocolate was released in the U.S. last year and was nominated for a Grammy. The Reggae Power is an eclectic and contemporary album that is finally available throughout the world.

The Reggae Power is a various artist compilation brought together by Spicy Chocolate with support from legendary bass and drum duo Sly & Robbie. And they have invited a broad range of artists for this set – ranging from dancehall kings and queens like Ce’cile, Beenie Man and Mr. Vegas to the righteous ravings from Sizzla. On board the project is also a number of Japanese artists, including Crystal Kay, Thelma Aoyama, Miss Monday and Ryo the Skywalker.

It’s more dancehall than roots, and sometimes it’s more R&B-influenced pop than dancehall. Just listen to sweet songstress Alaine’s Wasn’t So Bad or Bitty McLean’s slick Anything and Everything. Two tracks directly aimed at the charts.

But then you also have rampant soca-fused cuts like Mr. Vegas & Chehon’s Dancing Time and Jason Sweetness & Future Fambo’s Party Time, a track where the title says it all.

You have to be seriously impressed by Sly & Robbie. Last year they dropped no less than three rough and tough dub albums and then they direct a set like this, which is nothing like dub. The Reggae Power is joyous, party-fuelled and should appeal to anyone fond of contemporary urban R&B and pop.

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