This is a solid, complex riddim that was guaranteed to spark a throw down when you dropped it during a dance. I remember one quincineara I was playing in 2005 where I thought I was going to get run out of the hall. Kopa dropped, shirts were unbuttoned and then ripped off. Grinding commenced, first the quince and the kids, then the adults, then the older adults almost shut the whole party down when things got too wild for their sensibilities. The lights came on after that for pretty much the rest of the night.
Seriously though, I love everything about this riddim. Supa Dups pulls out all the stops, throwing static squeaks and drones into a straight up dancefloor banger. Claps and high hats start things off and some well placed bongos and shakers heighten the urge to dance. When that low end thump comes in and starts interweaving with the bongos before that first riser you’re pretty much hooked.
I love dancehall where the rhythm drives the song….not melody. Everything Supa Dups expertly throws into the mix adds to the groove. There’s the “I’m tuning the old time radio or firing a 1950 sci fi laser” sound alongside the sample of laughing (girls or children?). that’s punctuated by a fresh take on the every popular “Hey!” sample. It’s all controlled expertly, lurching forward and then stopping before hitting you hard again. Like any good riddim it all just works. The totality of the overall groove is so much more than the sum of its individual parts and samples. It’s about rhythm and dancing and if it doesn’t make you want to move something you’re probably already dead.
As far as the voicings go, pretty much everyone on this riddim sounds tuff. Black Chiney was multi-talented in both clashing and production and the riddim is tailored for each individual deejay/singer. I don’t really care for the few examples that remove that driving low end boom but even Nicky B’s melodic voicing retains some of that percussive stomp. Nina Sky’s “Turnin Me On” was probably the biggest hit here in the states and Baby Cham sounds like he’s having fun on the remix. Whether or not you like Sean Paul,”Straight Up” is probably one of his better tracks. The way he weaves the chorus around the percussion revs the riddim up a notch in danceability.
Similarly “Hot Like Fire” seems to meld Sizzla’s usual inspired ranting with the pulsing rhythm in a way that makes it even more urgent and dramatic.
Elephant man voices no less than 3 tracks, one alongside rapper David Banner. Its all vintage Ele who made calling out steps into a whole genre in and of itself. “Father Elephant” is my favorite. When Ele yells “Clear” after his bit of singing it hangs up for a moment before launching into his double time lyrical pounding alongside a metalllic mallet added in to punctuate his flow.
Lyrically though, the prize has to go to Vybz Kartel who is in top playful (explicit) form with “Four Seasons”.
The rest of the cast is solid here too making this an all around must have rhythm to rock a party. Supa Dups went on to win a Grammy later in his career. Here’s an ad he did for OWC:
BIg up to a rhythmic genius!
Kopa came out in 2005 and was on the Riddim Driven series on VP:
01 – Sean Paul – Straight Up
02 – Notch – V.I.P. (Get Back)
03 – Kardinal Offishall And Akon – Kill The Dance
04 – Tami Chin – Hot
05 – Elephant Man – Father Elephant
06 – Macka Diamond – How Much Gyal Yuh Wah So
07 – Busy Signal – Wuk Gyal (Pharmacy)
08 – Sizzla – Hot Like Fire
09 – Nina Sky Feat. Cham – Turnin Me On (Black Chiney Remix)
10 – Nicky B – If You Wanna Ride
11 – Delly Ranks – Love How You
12 – Capleton – Who You Callin Nigga
13 – Vybz Kartel – Four Seasons
14 – Elephant Man – Ele Melody
15 – Supa Dups – Version
16 – Elephant Man And David Banner – Shake That Booty (Krumpa Remix)
17 – Bounty Killer – Free Up The Atmosphere (Raw)
18 – Bounty Killer – Free Up The Atmosphere (Radio Edit)
19 – Kevin Lyttle – After Party
20 – Timberlee – Boom Wine