Dogboy Rebel Riddim

With a Jamaican-ised Confederate flag emblazoned on its cover and a popish amalgam of punk-y reggae and California rock, Dogboy’s debut record celebrates musical traditions from Trenchtown to the U.S. Opening track "Return of the One Drop” is as much a tribute to roots reggae’s most famous drumbeat as it is to the influence reggae artists have had on the singer, a life altering transformation according to his lyrics. The theme is revisited on "Dear Jamaica (Stand Strong),” where Dogboy, slipping between speak-singing and deejaying, delivers a love letter to the Kingston music scene over a Sleng Teng-inspired bass line. The song comes off as a little overly sentimental though, a sort of a bleeding heart Rasta conversion story. First single "Can’t Buy Soul” takes a different tact. A retro rocker given the Smash Mouth treatment, the song stands out as one of the album’s highlights. Rebel Riddim feels like a debut that tries to be too many things. There’s mainstream pop, quirky retro alternative, punk-y reggae salutes, ghetto preaching and slinky girly double entendres. But with a little winnowing of the chaff, Dogboy could be the new Kid Rock of reggae. Whether that’s a good or bad thing is for you to decide. (Suburban Noize)