Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Dancehall 101, Vol. 1 [VP, 2000]
Speaking as a not quite total stranger, unimbued with electroskank riddims and incapable of understanding more than half of the nominally English-language leerics, I know of no more fun way to access Jamaica's answer to hip-hop, disco, house, techno, and Blowfly than this historical compilation. From Red Dragon's "pop [??] your vagina" to Beenie Man's "keys to my Beemer," from Yellowman's zungaing keyb-as-guitar to Cutty Ranks's deep-jingle organ-grind, this connects as timeless novelty music, lively and dirty and knowing no shame. As a style, not to mention an industry, of course its repetitive hooks are recycled endlessly. Here's where they started--or were especially well imitated, I don't know. The secret is that it doesn't make much difference. A-