Boom Boom Bashment: Killer Ragga Riddims 2001-2004

Boom Boom Bashment

Phew! It’s done! John Eden and I are pleased to release Boom Boom Bashment, our follow up to the Lyric Maker mix. It’s a selection of killer ragga riddims from the early to mid noughties which we hope are either unfamiliar to readers of Uncarved and Shards Fragments and Totems, or at least presented in a new way. It’s different in feel from Lyric Maker; this one for a while at least is less sensual, more brittle and driven, but it’s probably a lot more emotionally dynamic. It’s as much a companion piece for John’s Shake the Foundations sets, and my Nervous Ragga mix, as for Lyric Maker.

Boom Boom Bashment kicks off with a staggering riddim: Kings of Kings’ Double Jeopardy, which combines minimal, space-drenched backing with operatic voices. Co-produced by Ce’Cile (with Cordell “Scatta” Burrell) the sense of drama is intense and it lifts off when Pinchers and Norris Man version Madonna. Double Jeopardy is a stark, spacious yet harsh introduction to the mix; Bushy Bushy is a slow-burn explosion of mashed up voices. Bookended by Ce’cile’s Spider, it slowly ratchets up the energy, not least on Alizade’s cut of that name where he outdoes Sizzla for excitement. Cecile winds the energy back down for the spaghetti western funk of the Mexican Riddim. According to John a lot of people complained that while the riddim was great, too many voicings were poor, but you wouldn’t know that from the tunes here; the performances are right on the button. It’s such a great groove that it starts to thaw the set out from the emotional starkness of Double Jeopardy and Bushy Bushy, and puts a suggestion of a smile on your face. This blossoms into a full grin with Rice and Peas. Thrashing around like a troglodyte on ketamin, Rice and Peas is classic stomping off-kilter dancehall riddim. Fat Bastard leaves us in no doubt about what everybody likes, so it’s not surprising Lady G knows what guys want: Rice and Peas!

The first four riddims of Boom Boom Bashment build up the energy and the next four ride it, driven by an increasingly metronomic pulse. Jeremy Harding Lightning riddim is a stern and propulsive string-laden death march with defiantly louche vocals. We’ve done a lot of intense overlays and call-and-response mixing between cuts on this riddim. Ward 21’s Don’t Push It is merged with Pacemakers’ Bad Man into one track, as are Gabriel’s The Powers and Kurupp, Mr. Vegas, & Sean Paul’s Eye For Eye. It’s an explosive yet super-dense sound which builds the sense of rage. 2 Hard’s superbly syncopated Liquid riddim maintains this momentum but opens out the sound, and it betters any number of R&B work-outs for pulsating groove and low-down boom. I didn’t like this riddim at all at first – the harpsichord opening put me off, because it made me think it was all angular tinny clockwork noise. But repeated exposure by Eden revealed Liquid to be an overpowering, rolling monster. The lyrics on all these cuts are a savage exploration of female desire, from both male and female perspectives, as on Sean Paul and Cecile on Can You Do The Work, while Lady Saw’s Tell Me What You Like is terrifying in its malevolent assertion of desire. When she sings “I ain’t gonna stop til you’re satisfied” it is not a statement of compliance.

The hellish maze occupied by Liquid is relieved and cooled by the Amharic riddim. In many ways, Amharic is the heart of the mix: it’s where the spirits are fully brought together in preparation for the climax of Nine Night and Forensic. Only Sizzla could open this superb clash of nyabinghi drums and electronics. He amply refutes his labeling as a purveyor of hate music and in this reflective mode he turns in one of the greatest performances of his career. Cecile’s All Night maintains the transcendent feel but translates it into tantric engorgement. Lady Saw’s Hot Gal Fi Life is just fantastic, a hymn to emancipation, with Spragga Benz & TOK’s We Waah rudely slamming into it. Spragga Benz’s brilliant Dem A Chat stomps even harder on the accelerator.

By now you’re ready for a proper heads down funky dancehall riddim and there’s none better than Tai Chi. It’s a well-known riddim but it’s got a few twists here (John did a superb breakdown in the middle of this as well). Tai Chi is ridiculously groovy but it’s just a taster for the epic, banging sea-shanty techno of Nine Night. This is my favourite riddim of the whole mix, it’s just amazing to dance to and enormous fun.

Glorious as Nine Night is, Forensic is rough beyond belief. Forensic brings a new meaning to the word “brutal”. This is slamming, hardcore ragga, the sort you dream about after listening to the Bug. It’s not without subtlety but by the time Determine’s Round And Round and Turbulence’s incredible Hype in Jah come in Forensic takes on a demonic energy which has few parallels. Mr Vegas’ Fuck Face unifies the quake-fest backing with dead good massed chorus emoting. It’s like the sun coming out on a thundery day. You’re going to love it. Turn it up.

You simply can’t go any harder than Forensic – in any genre – so we didn’t try. Instead we switched down to Sly and Robbie’s Big Up Riddim. I guarantee that if you haven’t heard this riddim before, within eight bars you’ll be saying that this is the music you’ve been waiting your whole life to hear. This is an end-of-the-night, hall lights on and bouncers circulating, “just one more” requesting, slow-motion belter that might just be the only music you will ever need.

Until you wake up next morning and want to play this mix again.

Ladies and gentlemen, we give you: Boom Boom Bashment: Killer Ragga Riddims 2001-2004

Total running time: 63 minutes 9 seconds
Bit rate: 192K stereo mp3
Weight: 87Mb

Tracklisting:

1 Double Jeopardy
Kings Of Kings (Ce’Cile Charlton & Cordel “Scatta” Burrell) 2001
Length: 4.52
Start: 0:00

Jah Mason & Chrisinti: Up Up Up
Madd Anju feat. Cecile: Feel So Good
Pinchers & Norris Man – Set Dem So

2 Bushy Bushy Riddim
Extra Extra (Debbie Harding & Harvel Hart) for 2001
Length: 4.50
Start: 4:52

Ce’cile: Spider
Danny English: Right Ya Now
Elephant Man: Sex
Sizzla: Bus Out A Dis
Alizade: Energy
Ce’cile: Spider

3 Mexican Riddim
Pot Of Gold (Richie Stephens) 2002
Length: 3.43
Start: 09:43

Bounty Killer: Dem Bawling
Mad Cobra: Fool
Ninja Man: Sharp Like A Knife

4 Rice & Peas Riddim
Natural Bridge (Rohan “Snow Cone” Fuller) 2002
Length: 5.55
Start:13:23

Fat Bastard: Rice & Peas
Lady G: Girls Know What Guys Want
Spragga Benz & Elephant Man: Warrior Cause
Frankie Sly: Dem Nuh Know We
Shano: School

5 Lightning Riddim
2 Hard (Jeremy Harding) 2001
Length: 5.20
Start: 24:39

Ward 21: Don’t Push It / Pacemakers: Bad Man
Gabriel: The Powers
Kurupp, Mr. Vegas, & Sean Paul: Eye For Eye
Buccaneer: Oh My God

6 Liquid Riddim
2 Hard (Jeremy Harding) 2001
Length: 5:39
Start: 24:39

Sean Paul & Cecile: Can You Do The Work
Devonte & Tanto Metro: Give It To He
Madd Anju: Someting For Dat
Lady Saw: Tell Me What You Like

7 Amharic Riddim
Jam II (Jammy “Jam 2” James) 2003
Length: 6.26
Start: 30:19

Sizzla: Peace
Cecile: All Night
Lady Saw: Hot Gal Fi Life
Spragga Benz & TOK: We Waah
Spragga Benz: Dem A Chat

8 Tai Chi Riddim
B-Rich (Richard ‘Shams’ Browne) 2002
Length: 5.07
Start: 36:45

T.O.K.: Cree
Sean Paul: Time After Time
Wayne Marshall: Need A Girl Tonight
Tanya Stephens: Please Me
Lady Saw: Yeh Yeh

9 Nine Night Riddim
Stufio 2000 (Steelie and Clevie) 2001
Length: 7.39
Start: 41:55

Lexxus: Gwaan Trace
Red Rat: Fright Night
Mister G: Old Crook
Captain Barkey: Wine Baby Wine
Wicker Man: Girls Gungo Walk
Sasha: Poppy
Determine: Rappin’ Up Rhymes

10 Forensic Riddim
In The Streetz (Mr. Vegas & Computer’ Paul Henton) 2003
Length: 7.21
Start: 49:31

Kerry: I Got The Man
Cecile: Weh Yu Up To
Determine: Round And Round
Turbulence: Hype in Jah
Mr Vegas: Fuck Face

11 Big Up Riddim
Taxi (Sly and Robbie) 2004
Length: 6.16
Start: 56:53

Wayne Marshall: Big Up
Lady Saw: Messed Up
Bounty Killer: No More Suffering