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My Year of Mixtapes Week 45: Turn-of-the-Century Ragga

My Year of Mixtapes Week 45: Turn-of-the-Century Ragga

Playing tracks by

Dutty Cup feat. Looga & Mossy Kid, Beenie Man, Vybz Kartel, Bad Gregory Hines, Anthony Cruz and more.

Before about 1993, dancehall and ragga had always been firmly rooted in traditional reggae aesthetics: dancehall (even digi) was essentially just reggae or dub, but stripped down and with DJs/singjays/toasting instead of traditional sung vocals. In the mid-'90s, dancehall took a pretty sharp left turn into some really odd areas—new producers like $ham$, Ward 21, Tony CD Kelly, and some veterans like Steelie & Clevie started turning out riddims that bore scant resemblance to reggae. These things were weird, synthy, minimalistic, and borrowed heavily from big room techno and American R&B. Somebody could write a whole thesis about how much these dancehall dudes influenced folks like Timbaland and the Neptunes, and then how much said R&B producers influenced the Jamaicans back, and how that whole weird feedback loop has led to a world of Top 40 tunes that sound like a Bollywood version of Kraftwerk.

Anyway, here is a mix of some of my fave stuff from that mid-'90s to early-'00s era.

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