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The influence of Jamaican music on modern dance culture is immeasurable. Yet except for a few isolated incidents, such as Mad Professor's almighty remix of Massive Attack, the flow of ideas has often felt like a one-way street, with electronic producers singing high praises to their Jamaican counterparts who seemingly have little desire to look beyond their own isolated musical genre. On Fearless, one of Jamaica's true original roots vocalist made the surprising decision to allow modern producers into his mix, and the results are everything one could hope for. Declaring his intentions with the Naked Funk-produced opener, "Hypocrite," Junior Delgado sounds perfectly at home within the tech-house soundscape. The drum'n'bass style of the Kid Loops-produced "Sons of Slaves" gains astounding depth from Delgado's gruff yet warm voice, the sort of soul that has never been achieved through the rampant sampling of jump-up or with the gangsta patois of London MCs. More than just satisfying an electronica curiosity, the Jungle Brothers make a guest appearance on the gritty slow "Buffalo Soldier," while Delgado honey coats his vocal chords for "Temptation," a Spaniard's duet with the stunningly unaffected vocalist Mary Jo Higgs. The only disappointing moment on the whole disc comes from the typically on point Ballistic Brothers, whose "Tichion" is a traditional reggae cut, clearly sparked by reverence rather than the spirit of cross-pollination that fuels the rest of the album. By escaping the same-same ghetto of almost all roots music, Delgado has made the perfect album for the millions of fans who love Jamaican music but whose collections go little deeper than a few Bob Marley and Burning Spear selections.
|Label:||BIG CAT (WASABI)|