Monday, April 5, 2010

Week 45: Turn-of-the-Century Ragga

Before about 1993, dancehall and ragga had always been firmly rooted in traditional reggae aesthetics: dancehall (even digi) was essentially just reggae or dub, but stripped down and with DJs/singjays/toasting instead of traditional sung vocals. In the mid-'90s, dancehall took a pretty sharp left turn into some really odd areas—new producers like $ham$, Ward 21, Tony CD Kelly, and some veterans like Steelie & Clevie started turning out riddims that bore scant resemblance to reggae. These things were weird, synthy, minimalistic, and borrowed heavily from big room techno and American R&B. Somebody could write a whole thesis about how much these dancehall dudes influenced folks like Timbaland and the Neptunes, and then how much said R&B producers influenced the Jamaicans back, and how that whole weird feedback loop has led to a world of Top 40 tunes that sound like a Bollywood version of Kraftwerk.

Anyway, here is a mix of some of my fave stuff from that mid-'90s to early-'00s era.

  1. Merciless; Ashes to Ashes BADDIS RIDDIM
  2. General Degree; Bag A Tings
  3. Spragga Benz; Peace
  4. Mr. Vegas; Jacket
  5. Beenie Man; Number One
  6. Red Rat; Me Can't Sleep
  7. Buccaneer; Gweh KASHMIR RIDDIM
  8. Anthony B; Wave
  9. Spragga Benz; African Move PUKE RIDDIM
  10. Elephant Man; Can't Roll
  11. Ward 21; Haters BADA BADA RIDDIM
  12. Wayne Wonder / Bounty Killer; Criss Pack of Boots BACKYARD RIDDIM
  13. Alias; Punanny Holiday
  14. Baby Cham; Boom Tune
  15. Bounty Killer; Mr. Tear 'n' Boar SIREN RIDDIM
  16. Bad Gregory Hines; Fool Her PLAYGROUND RIDDIM
  17. Lexxus; Fade Away
  18. Mad Cobra; Hot Gal
  19. Glamma Kid; Big Ting
  20. Red Rat; Girl with a Car MERCURY RIDDIM
  21. Dutty Cup feat. Looga & Mossy Kid; Happy Days
  22. Sean Paul; Work With It
  23. Red Dragon; More Gyal IN & OUT RIDDIM
  24. Spragga Benz; Mad House Tek Him
  25. General Degree; That Thing PRESS A FOOT RIDDIM
  26. Lady G; Perform
  27. Tanto Metro & Devonte; She Gone BAGPIPE RIDDIM
  28. Mr. Vegas; Latest News
  29. Goofy; Fatty Boom Boom
  30. Spragga Benz; Unu Say Yeh
  31. General Degree; Signal
  32. Beenie Man; Kickin for Show
  33. Admiral Bailey; Work Wid It VOLUME RIDDIM
  34. Amin Brasco; Bang Bang
  35. Lexxus; Who the Fuck
  36. Mad Cobra; Fraid A Wi
  37. Cutty Ranks; Badman Sittin'
  38. Ward 21; Firehouse Anthem
  39. Goofy; Look Out Fi Dem
  40. Red Rat; Thief
  41. Wayne Marshall / Baby G: Flossing (Bling Bling Bling)
  42. Vybz Kartel; Injustice TYPHOID RIDDIM
  43. Anthony Cruz; All I Have
  44. Tanto Metro & Devonte; Say Woyee BOOKSHELF RIDDIM
  45. Beenie Man; Bookshelf
  46. Sean Paul; Deport Them
  47. Evette; Over and Over
  48. Wayne Wonder; Watching You
NEXT WEEK: The Year in Jungle—1994.


  1. Hi, I've listened to a whole bunch of your mixtapes over the past few months, enjoyed them enormously, learned a shitload, etc. but have never left a comment....So, thanks. Really, thanks. I haven't listened to this week's mixtape yet - it looks fascinating - but your description here of today's r'n'b/pop as a 'world of Top 40 tunes that sound like a Bollywood version of Kraftwerk' is absolutely perfect. Well done.

  2. HELP !
    Why cant I get any of your mixtapes to play - is there a special player I need to download?
    yours hopefully

  3. they're just 'em and they should show up in quicktime, itunes, wmp, whatever you use to play mp3s. Or you can right-click and select "save as" to save to a specific spot on your comp...

  4. i think i must have been having a brain drain yesterday - works fine today
    great mixes and should provide some much needed entertainment whilst out running / driving
    any plans for a hard techno tape ?
    yours hopefully

  5. yeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! Jungle!!!!

  6. Thank you, for all the work that you do, In the service of music and musical subculture.
    I had a question, have you heard many of these certain Italo disco tunes, Gitano fockewulf- I've only heard this and body heat by them, if you've heard more, show me where i can find
    Paul paul
    the twins
    You know, serious, good Italo, with all the humanity drained out.
    or, something minimal, like cold french
    like deux- I've just discovered cold french, If you have any suggestions in that direction I'd like to know!

  7. Yo 'Bot!

    Another masterful mix filled with subgenre artists I haven't heard anywhere else. Thanks!


  8. dammit you made me set my living room on fire.



  9. man this brought back a lot of memories. this was just the time period when i started getting into dancehall, so most of these songs are burned into my brain. nice work. thanks for the riddim annotations as well.