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Crossover dancehall artist Shaggy started churning out hits in the early 1990s when his distinctive baritone voice and penchant for hooky, pop-inflected dancehall grooves struck a chord. Those early hits, "Boombastic" and a cover of the Folkes Brothers' "Oh, Carolina," kick off this best-of set. In fact, THE BEST OF SHAGGY sticks to the artist's early work, so those looking for hits from the 2000s, like "It Wasn't Me" and "Angel," won't find them. Even so, the 12 tracks that make up this compilation represent Shaggy's fun, bouncy, good-time music as it boomed from jeeps and clubs in Brooklyn and elsewhere in the `90s.
Although not as extensive as 1997's best-of compilation (that set has 17 tracks as opposed to this set's 12), 2008's THE BEST OF ZIGGY MARLEY AND THE MELODY MAKERS is still a fine round-up of the outfit's sunny reggae-pop. Along with the group's highest charting single, "Tomorrow People," from 1988's CONSCIOUS PARTY, THE BEST OF includes "Met Her On a Rainy Day," "Freedom Road," and "Tumblin' Down." Although Ziggy Marley's music isn't as roots-conscious as his father's, the messages of political consciousness, freedom, unity, and positive energy shine through on each of these tracks.
Since his appearance on the British lovers-rock scene in the mid-`80s, Maxi Priest has become not just a reggae icon but an international pop superstar. Impressively, Maxi's breezy mix of dancehall, roots and pop R&B has struck a chord with mainstream pop audiences in both the U.K. and the U.S., making him one of only two U.K. acts to score a Billboard number-one hit--the sultry "Close to You." THE BEST OF MAXI PRIEST is a useful career recap, focusing on the pop crossover efforts that have brought the singer widespread critical and commercial plaudits. From appealing cover material, like his bouncy roots-flavored take on Cat Stevens's "Wild World," to uplifting anthems, such as the soaring "Watching the World Go By," BEST OF is a satisfying roundup of one of the reggae world's most accessible artists.
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