Jahranimo Real Life

Dancehall is spiralling downward, burdened under too much hip-hop influence. US-style production has been chiselling away the uniqueness of Jamaican dance music so much that artists like Beenie Man and Sean Paul have tracks that could nary be called dancehall, if not for their patois laden deejays. Jahranimo’s debut, Real Life, veers dangerously close to this style of dancehall-hop — at times the Jamaican/Canadian deejay pays tribute to Jamaica’s roots and adds his own distinctive stamp, but all too often he pays lip service to the American music industry. Tracks such as the rootsy "Opposite” and hard-edged "Up Deh” could see Jahranimo rising to the heights of the deejays that inspired him like Super Cat. But in order to do so he should do a little culling for the next album. The anti-gay "Love De Women Dem,” for instance, may have worked back when Lovindeer hit it big with "Don’t Bend Down,” but Buju Banton and Beenie Man have proven that international audiences won’t stand for homophobia. The worst of the bunch is "I Wanna” with its stiff computer rhythm and guest singer Zade’s pitch shifting vocals. The only thing you want to do upon hearing it is hit skip. There’s enough quality music here to suggest Jahranimo may well do great things, but he’s just not there yet. (Ightningball)