Dr. Israel Inna City Pressure

I first discovered Dr. Israel on punk group Rancid’s latest album Life Won’t Wait. “Coppers,” the album’s brilliant reggae-influenced closing song featured smooth toasting alongside Rancid vocalist Tim Armstrong’s guttural growls. As it turns out, “Coppers” is about as good as it gets. The song appears on Inna City Pressure as “Dr. Israel vs. Rancid (Brooklyn Version)” and surprisingly almost tops the original. New lyrics are added and Dr. Israel’s part in the song is expanded. The remix has more of a reggae feel to it, with less punk rock guitar and more drum and bass. Besides “Coppers” there’s not much on Inna City Pressure that truly stands out. The a cappella first track, “Inna City,” sounds a lot like Buju Banton’s “Shiloh,” but is melded into “Pressure,” the second song, which creates an interesting effect. “Pressure,” as well as some of the other songs, is helped out by a horn section, but in general the songs are pretty generic. Despite well-written Rastafarian and politically-themed lyrics, and a great voice, Dr. Israel is burdened by an excessive use of hip-hop and techno beats in his music, turning would-be reggae anthems into an unsuccessful combination of musical styles. The final two tracks are dub versions of the songs “Together” and “Survivor” and they come off almost better than the originals. Dr. Israel, who remixed “Together Dub” and “Dubvivor” himself, seems to be skilled in the art of dub. It would be interesting to hear more of his forays into that particular offshoot of reggae music. (Mutant Sound System)