Fix Up Riddim – ZJ Liquid H20 Records [2015]

Fix Up Riddim - ZJ Liquid H20 Records [2015]

Fix Up Riddim - ZJ Liquid H20 Records [2015]

With a dying single and album market, modern dancehall often finds itself in the position where the riddim is the star. Gone are the days when a single personality is featured on an album, and many modern dancehall artists create their hype and careers without even releasing an album.

The riddim is the star, and with it comes an open market where various top DJs basically compete for market share on the riddim. Make the best track, get played more – simple.

And with digital distribution allowing for pretty much instant releases it has opened up a nice niche for newer designers to create eye-catching covers without depending on using an artist or personality as a selling point. Sure, the names of artists are listed, but this is all about the riddim.

This is probably my favorite riddim of 2015 so far. ZJ Liquid and H20 Records have been taking their time and releasing some real quality, heavy, dancehall riddims. The Fix Up Riddim is a follow up to 2014’s Good Book Riddim (another hard riddim) and features the usual suspects of artists on it: Konshens, Vybz Kartel, Versitile, Mavado, I Octane etc….

Kind of like this cover, had a real 80s feel to it, whilst still feeling modern.

Track Listing:

  • 1 So Mi Born – Agent Sasco
  • 2 Dem Ago Dead – Alkaline
  • 3 Dem Ago Dead (Radio) – Alkaline
  • 4 Me No See Them – Big Roundz
  • 5 Me No See Them (Radio) – Big Roundz
  • 6 Dutty Livity – Bryka
  • 7 Me Nah – Delly Ranx
  • 8 Dem 2 Hand Ya – Demarco
  • 9 Dem 2 Hand Ya (Radio) – Demarco
  • 10 Bad Man Laws – I Octane
  • 11 Beaa – Kalado
  • 12 Beaa (Radio) – Kalado
  • 13 Say the Word (feat. Javada) – Konshens
  • 14 Say the Word (feat. Javada) [Radio] – Konshens
  • 15 Bad Anytime – Mavado
  • 16 Bad Anytime (Radio) – Mavado
  • 17 Shub Dem Out – Quick Cook
  • 18 Shub Dem Out (Radio) – Quick Cook
  • 19 Me Never – Versatile
  • 20 Me Never (Radio) – Versatile
  • 21 ExplicitFix Up – Vybz Kartel
  • 22 Fix Up (Radio) – Vybz Kartel

Two of my favorite cuts on the riddim aren’t featured on the album, namely Aidonia’s ‘Gangster Mek Walk‘ and Popcaan’s ‘Slap One‘ (featuring thinly veiled swipes at Alkaline in the lyrics).

Listen To It

Listen to the Fix Up Riddim Mix

Listen to Aidonia ‘Gangster Mek Walk’ on the Fix Up Riddim:

Listen to Popcaan ‘Slap One’ on the Fix Up Riddim:


Ninjaman – Superstar [1988]

Ninjaman Superstar

Ninjaman Superstar
Ninjaman Superstar (back cover)

Check out the youthful looking Ninjaman posing for this 1988 release of his “Superstar” album. His eyes have always had that crazy look though……

‘Superstar’ was released on Music Master Records in Jamaica and on Witty’s Records in the UK in the same year.

Ninjaman has been around for so long, he has pretty much covered every lyrical trend in dancehall; from gun tunes, to slackness, a detour into Gospel (as ‘Brother Desmond’), and then back to Dancehall. This album pretty much covers all lyrical themes, it’s a paradox of messages all delivered over slow paced, heavy digital bass lines.

Well worth checking out for some classic 1980’s dancehall flows (check out ‘Pedal and Wheel’ below). Also, given Ninjaman’s well documented unpredictability – there is something wonderfully ironic about Ninjaman giving out road safety advice on ‘Don’t Beat the Amber’ and chastising reckless drivers.


  • Take Time To Know Her
  • Magnificent
  • Batchelor
  • Wrenking Meat
  • Psalms
  • Comming In Mad
  • Pedal And Wheel
  • Don’t Beat The Amber
  • Ganoose

Listen To It

Listen to ‘Dont Beat The Amber’ from Ninjaman:

Listen to ‘Pedal and Wheel’ from Ninjaman:

Buy It

Bit hard to find this album now, but there is still plenty more Ninjaman to be downloaded online.

Elephant Man – Dance and Sweep

Elephant Man - Dance and Sweep

Elephant Man - Dance and Sweep

This is more like it.

Elephant Man is on a mission to bring the fun back to Dancehall. His latest album is called “Dance and Sweep – Adventures of the Energy God”, and it features a fantastic piece of cartoon cover art that brings back memories of those old Greensleeves album covers (especially the Scientist ones). The album art was by Tony McDermott, the legendary artist that produced much of the album art for the Greensleeves reggae release – including the aforementioned Scientist ones.

This is released on VP records, who actually acquired Greensleeves a while back – so the link between the two is not that surprising.

The cartoon cover protrays Elephant Man as the dancehall superhero who is here to start the party and lead the crowd in dancing. Look closely and you’ll see what looks like Usain Bolt in the background, and even Harry Potter clutching his broom for the Dance and Sweep. There’s a possible Barak Obama in the background as well?


1. The Genesis (The Energy God’s Introduction)
2. How We Do It ft. Bounty Killer
3. Party Up In Here
4. In Jamaica
5. Nuh Linga
6. Dance And Sweep
7. Clear ft. Kardinal Offishall
8. Sweep
9. Wine And Dip
10. Dip Again
11. Swing
12. Step Ova
13. Shake It
14. Let Me Be The Man
15. Life Of The Party Ft. Bounty Killer (Digital Exclusive)

Dancehall fans will be already familiar with some of the tracklisting as recent singles like ‘How We Do It” and “Nuh Linga” are included.

Listen To It
Listen to ‘How We Do It” with Bounty Killer (Mad Collab riddim):

Listen to “Wine & Dip”:

Watch the official video for “Nuh Linga”:

Buy It

Gappy Ranks – Put The Stereo On

Gappy Ranks Put The Stereo On

Gappy Ranks Put The Stereo On

A modern dancehall album that doesn’t look like a modern dancehall album! Understated, well designed, nice fonts.

Gappy Ranks has just released his debut album and the album cover is really nice.

The album itself couldn’t strictly be classed as hardcore dancehall by any means (although Gappy has released pure dancehall tracks in the past), it is more of a well written tribute to reggae music over the years – so in that sense the album art really works well. It has a real Studio One, or blues feel to it – even down to the detail; if you look closely you can see it has been designed to look like one of the old paper album sleeves that contains a big slab of vinyl that has worn through, and has become imprinted on the outer cover.

Interview with Gappy Ranks on the making of his new album:

Put The Stereo On – Gappy Ranks: Track Listing:
1. Mountain Top
2. Heaven In Her Eyes
3. Put The Stereo On
4. Pumpkin Belly
5. Happiest Day Of My Life
6. Musical Girl
7. Little Understanding
8. They Shall Love
9. So Lost
10. Soul Rebel

Worth picking up or checking out further:

Listen To It

Listen to Put The Stereo On by Gappy Ranks:

Buy It

Buy or Download Put The Stereo On by Gappy Ranks:

Capleton – Prophecy [1995]

Capleton - Prophecy [1995]

Capleton - Prophecy [1995]

Capleton - Prophecy [1995] back cover

Capleton had been around for years on the dancehall scene before his major label debut on Def Jam Records was released in 1995 – and surprisingly it wasn’t an overproduced affair (despite a couple of obligatory hip-hop mixes) and it retained an authentic dancehall sound.

In the early to mid-90s there was a huge ‘culture and consciousness’ surge in the dancehall and many rudeboys grew dreads and changed their output from ‘guns and slackness’ to ‘roots and culture’. Capleton was one such DJ who refocused their energy to more cultural and religious concerns.

The artwork is nice too – although it makes us think of Capleton as a lonely rasta lighthouse keeper. The album art design is credited to Rebellious Designs and the photo is by Klaus Schonweise.

The album itself has since been discontinued but it’s worth digging out or finding a secondhand copy to catch Capleton before he started shouting ‘fire’ in most of his releases. The CD cover art of this album was nowhere near as good as the vinyl release that we have featured here.

Track Listing:
1. Tour
2. Big Time
3. Obstacle
4. Leave Babylon
5. Heathen Reign
6. Don’t Dis the Trinity
7. No Competition
8. Wings of the Morning
9. See from Afar
10. Babylon Judgement
11. Glorious Morning
12. Chant
13. Wings of the Morning [Lil Jon & Paul’s Mix]
14. Heathen Reign [Lil Jon Y Paul’s Mix]
15. Tour [Lil Jon & Paul’s Mix]

Listen To It
Listen to Tour by Capleton:

Listen to Don’t Diss The Trinity by Capleton:

Buy It