And so we see the return of the latest instalment of the Ragga compilation series. Now on its 16th CD, Ragga Ragga Ragga 16 serves up an abundance of artist heavyweights, the ultimate cream of the crop. Yes folks the impressive line up doesn't get much better than this - featuring: Elephant Man, Lexxus, Beenie Man, Capleton and Bounty Killer to name but a few.
First up who better to kick- start the album than the "Energy God" himself. Leaping straight into "On Line" Elephant Man exemplifies to us in only the way he can, the new dance some are hailing as the official anthem for 2002. Although I'm not convinced, it is a memorable track, but it's not even close to last year's smash hit dance-floor filler "Log On". However a possible contender is "Bad Man A Bad Man", which by cleverly using the backing sample of R. Kelly's "The World's Greatest," provides this track with definite crossover appeal. So don't be surprised if you catch yourself singing along with it. It appears that currently the dancehall scene can't get enough of this larger than life lisping DJ. With four tracks on the compilation, Elephant Man definitely makes his presence felt. Despite the plucky attempts of Spice to diss him on "Fraid Fi Fly" where she bravely talks of his recent ordeal in the UK, not surprisingly this is short lived as he promptly comes back with "Robbing" and tells her exactly what he thinks of her.
Notable surprising tracks are from Shabba Ranks where he unwittingly takes us down memory lane, and provides us with a subtle reminder as to why he used to be the undisputed champ of Dancehall. And Harry Toddler - another famed former Scare Dem Crew member with, his instantly enticing track "Drive By" -guaranteed to have you nodding your head by the end of the tune. A somewhat refreshing change comes in the form of Beenie Man with "Erase your Mind" where we get a breather from the raw, violent and X-rated lyrics often dominating the album.
Despite the all too common pre occupation with violence (and you need only glance at the title tracks "Press Trigger", "Robbing", "Drive By" and "Empty the Clip" to realise they are not singing about picnics!) those looking for something to get the party started and can live with this, need look no further. With its catchy rhythms and almost hypnotic heavy baselines, you're likely to find it hard to resist shaking a foot or two to this CD. No doubt several tunes will also serve as a teaching tool, when practising the latest dance craze in Jamaica, although after a while several tracks fall short of distinction and inevitably begin to merge into one another (rest assured your stereo isn't on repeat), despite the DJ's individual trademark style. Having said that if any of you dancehall enthusiasts do not yet have this compilation album in your collection - Shame on you!