Junior Kelly / Bounty Killer / Capleton The Good, the Bad & the Blazing

In the tradition of split dancehall releases like Three the Hard Way, German producer Andreas "Brotherman” Christophersen has voiced three of reggae’s biggest stars on one album. Unlike his recent work for Anthony B, Brotherman has opted to alternate between digital ragga riddims and the real thing, giving Bounty Killer the sparsest and hardest of the ragga set and saving the roots-iest for Kelly and Capleton. Surprisingly though, Bounty Killer excels best when he steps away from the confines of digital rhythms and tries his hand chatting over real instruments. The resulting "West Indies” is possibly the album’s sweet spot, with Bounty Killer’s knack for changing voices giving him a chance to break out of his bad-bwoy persona and have fun with the song. Capleton’s impassioned "Hear the Children” gives it tight competition, as does Junior’s Kelly’s best song, "Done Dem Career.” But with three artists contributing only four tracks a piece to the record you would expect strong material all around. Not so, as each also offers up throwaway tracks, the worst of which is Bounty Killer’s boring "Straight A” and Junior Kelly’s drudging lover’s note, "All I Do.” (Imbalance)