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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

VYBZ KARTEL

By Judson Kilpatrick

Up 2 Di Time: More Up 2 Di Time Edition
Greensleeves

Over the past couple years, the one-man rhyme syndicate Vybz Kartel (real name: Adidja Palmer) stormed out of Jamaica with a string of hit singles, most of which are on this debut, now expanded with five new club-ready cuts. This is dancehall at its hottest, featuring party lyrics over the biggest riddims around, like Mad Guitar, Tunda Klap, Kasablanca, Egyptian, Time Travel, Krazy and Mad Ants. But as talented as Vybz Kartel is (named DJ of the year at Stone Love's 30th Anniversary dance and considered Jamaica's #1 deejay right now), he's not for everyone -- his lyrics are quite crass. The very first new song, "Picture This" (Blackout riddim), contains a catchy chant of "lF-U-C-K-I-N-G" (watch the kids!). Purists may gripe that he uses American hip-hop influences, but despite a couple cuts like "Start Well," which adapts the bassline of Whodini's "Friends," this album doesn't contain anything close to the crossover attempts by Sean Paul or Beenie Man, who makes a guest appearance on "Breast Specialist" (Scoobay riddim). It's the most solid dancehall album in a long time.