Shabba Ranks A Mi Shabba reggae music CD album mp3
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A Mi Shabba (Epic, 1995)

It's a tribute to Shabba Ranks' popularity that he could record so many albums for a major record label like Epic (This was his fifth and final for the label.).  Too often, a dancehall artist (or any reggae artist, for that matter) will get a shot at a major label, only to be dropped after that one effort.  A Mi Shabba comes on the heels of his smash crossover hit "Mr. Loverman," and such success of this sound manifests itself here in a distinct R&B/hip-hop flavor (on about half of the songs).  It's guilty pleasure, to be sure, but you can't help but groove to cuts like "Let's Get It On."  Ranks displays a disturbing lack of originality on this album, however, as several tracks are remakes of classic reggae tunes: "Shine Eye Gal," "Ice Cream Love," and "Fattie Fattie" cover the Black Uhuru, Johnny Osbourne, and Heptones songs on the same names, respectively, while even "Rough Life" takes the music from Isaac Hayes' "A Few More Kisses to Go," a sample already made popular in Redman's "Tonight's da Night."   Still, despite the unoriginality, the production is so crisp and the music so appealing, you inevitably feel that guilty pleasure creep in.  A couple of less crossover tunes also stand out: "Ram Dancehall," which brags about Ranks' two Grammys (for 1991's Raw As Ever and 1992's X-tra Naked) and "Original Woman," which rides a great "water dripping" rhythm similar to Jeru da Damaja's "Come Clean."

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Track Listing
1. Ram Dancehall
2. Shine Eye Gal featuring Mykal Rose
3. Spoil Mi Appetite
4. Well Done
5. Fattie Fattie featuring Leroy Sibbles
6. Rough Life
7. Let's Get It On
8. Ice Cream Sound featuring Patra
9. High Seat
10. Gal Nuh Ready
11. Medal and Certificate
12. Original Woman
A Mi Shabba
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Shabba Ranks and Friends reggae music CD album mp3

Shabba Ranks and Friends (Epic, 1999)

This is a semi-greatest hits album in that it contains only some of Shabba Ranks' hits -- mostly the ones that were popular in the U.S. (This smells like an effort by Epic to squeeze out of Ranks all of the sales they can before dropping him.)  As such, many of the tracks here are heavily R&B/hip-hop-influenced.  At the top of this list is his smash "Mr. Loverman," which was released on the soundtrack of the movie Deep Cover.  Along the same lines as that sultry R&B jam are "Slow and Sexy" with Johnny Gill and "House Call" with Maxi Priest (which begs the question, "Where is 'Twice My Age' with Krystal?").  Both of these were released as singles, and the latter was especially popular, although the remix included here is inferior to the original version.  A couple of funky remakes from A Mi Shabba are also included: "Ice Cream Love" and "Shine Eye Gal."  Ranks throws in two new songs as well: the so-so R&B "Mr. 'G'" (which has no "friends" on it) and "Universal Love," featuring Bob Marley's son Ky-Mani, who adds likeable Marley-like vocals to a funky dancehall bass line to create a solid tune.  Most of these tracks will probably be familiar, diminishing their impact, but it's hard to deny that there is some nice crossover material on Shabba Ranks and Friends.  Still, I'd prefer it to be offset by a harder tune like "Ting a Ling" every now and then.

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Track Listing
1. Mr. Loverman featuring Chevelle Franklin
2. Slow and Sexy Johnny Gill
3. House Call (Your Body Can't Lie to Me) [The Morales Re-mix] featuring Maxi Priest
4. The Jam featuring KRS One
5. Shine Eye Gal featuring Mykal Rose
6. Telephone Love featuring J.C. Lodge
7. Mr. 'G'
8. Pirates Anthem featuring CoCo T. and Home T.
9. Universal Love featuring Ky-Mani
10. Ice Cream Love featuring Patra
11. Two Breddrens featuring Chubb Rock

Shabba Ranks and Friends
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