GHETTO DICTIONARY: THE MYSTERYand THE ART OF WAR
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Funny how hip-hop and rap rattle the tinted windows of every redheaded network administrator in Aliso Viejo, yet dancehall is a genre that seems to fly under the radar. It has the smooth, looping backbone of hip-hop and the pissing-contest rhymes of rap, but the delivery leaves no one on the fence—it's all syncopation and bravado, with every syllable an exclamation mark. Kingston dancehall kingpin Bounty Killer (a.k.a. Rodney Price) testifies like a veteran of the streets—a cross-fire bullet caught him at 12—and of the scene, getting shit done here with two separate discs of his best stuff in years. Like previous efforts, Bounty Killer's lyrical wizardry is a blend of "who da man," "why can't we all get along?" and my personal favorite, "wah load guand murdan me blote baht" (from "Sufferah") While The Art of War is the more hip-hop-oriented disc, The Mystery is perhaps the better disc, adding reggae styles, sax, relentless chants, even a Tom and Jerry reference to the mix—and it all deserves to be rattling windows across the Southland.