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Various Artists Reggae Gold 2008

Highlighting a general trend in reggae over the years, this staple collection has become predominantly dancehall- and hip-hop-driven. This year’s offering is no different, though a nice selection of diversity floats above the pulsing low end and slick drum beats that VP claims as trademark. Collie Buddz’s “Blind to You” and Damian and Stephen Marley’s “The Mission” are two diverse takes from three men who have recently become iconic. Beenie Man has deeper roots in this game, though his contribution is predictable and somewhat trite; much better is the soulful piano and vocals of Melanie Hall’s “Somebody Come Get Me.” The rootsier side is represented nicely by Richie Spice, and even more nicely by Jamelody on “Pressure.”

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