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A thumping rhythm sampling an old roots classic, a singer whose lineage guarantees column inches, and a tune that gets played at every dance in the country. No, we're not reminiscing about Damien's Marley's 2005 monster hit ''Welcome To Jamrock'' – it's herb anthem ''Come Around'' by Bermudian/American chanter Collie Buddz, the opener to his self titled long playing debut.
Using a loop of Beres Hammond and Zap Pow's ''Last War'' rhythm as its foundation, ''Come Around'' is a big tune and no mistake; and since its release the internet has caught fire like the organic combustibles he sings of, pouring forth both praise for the track and castigations of its author for being a fake, a white man trying to sound black, a Bermudian trying to be a Jamaican and so on.
So how does the rest of the album hold up after such a strong start? Not amazingly well, but it isn't a total loss either.
Like Sizzla's The Overstanding, and Morgan Heritage's Full Circle, *Collie Buddz *is Jamaican style music with smooth commercial hip hop production, and a clear eye on the lucrative US market. Yet where those albums came late in their makers careers and had their fair share of rootical tracks, Collie Buddz has ''Come Around'' and that's pretty much it.
There are exceptions that hint at what might have been: ''Blind To You'' is a pre-emptive strike against the critics and 'hataz', then there's the inevitable tune called ''Sensimillia'', featuring guest vocals from the Ras Shiloh-like Roache. The rest is mainly slick reg-hop and pop dancehall in the Sean Paul mode, well produced and executed but transient in appeal.
So forget the controversy; which stems more from island rivalry than the red herring issue of race. Forget also the lazy comparisons with Gentleman, whose voice is thinner and whinier than Collie's rasping authentic growl. What we have here is a talented vocalist, who has delivered a solid crossover album as his debut. Which is a shame, because, with a few more tracks like ''Come Around'' he could have been so much more.