For the label’s seventh full-length LP release, well-regarded Scottish sound system specialists Scotch Bonnet (run by the mighty Mungo’s Hi Fi) have compiled a collection of favorites past and present, naturally entitled Puffer’s Choice.
Loaded up with big names, singers and producers alike, this includes tunes from established acts including Prince Fatty, Disrupt, Stalawa, and OBF, as well as relative newcomers like Danny T & Tradesman, Naram, and Bim One. Behind the mic there’s Solo Banton, the late Sugar Minott with Daddy Freddy, Mr. Williamz, Macka B, Charlie P, and plenty more. ‘Nuff talent all around, and fortunately none of that is put to waste!
Prince Fatty’s “The Model” kicks things off, featuring what appears to be an un-credited Hollie Cook on the sultry hook. The bass shines through during the break while the echoes cascade in at just the right moments on this intriguing mixture of dub, pop, and captivating synths. Rolling back the vibes – complete with a proto-reggae intro – The Hempolics’ catchy “Love To Sing” is reworked by Mungo’s Hi Fi into a dancefloor banger, complete with multiple verses from Solo Banton.
Collaborating with rising vocalist Dark Angel – who more than holds his own here – Danny T & Tradesman’s cut “Follow Me” is deceptively smooth, as the roughness of the fast chat pairs ever-so-nicely with the slowly bubbling riddim. Some subtle video game influences trickle through, giving this a firm vintage feel: ‘UK’s finest, oh yes indeed.’ Then comes Parly B, running an even bubblier digital effort from Viktorious. “What A Ting” speaks against ethnic cleansing, calling out hypocrites and parasites alike.
Lowering the bit rate just a bit, Zeb & Scotty join Disrupt on some booming bass for “Jah Run Tings.” The tenor vocal tones pair well with the sparse riddim, and the outro digs into the lo-fi synths nicely. Wrapping up the first half of Puffer’s Choice is Subactive’s take on “Dub Invasion” by the Led Piperz with Solo Banton. Keeping the horn sample lifted from the classic King Tubby/Niney The Observer “Dubbing With the Observer” that pilots the original version, this remix strips down the riddim to a simpler shuffle, allowing the lyrics to shine through: ‘I know the kind of music that you want us to play, I know the kind of words you want me say… it’s a dub invasion, don’t take it lightly.’
The ensuing Bond-esque horns usher in a definite album highlight, a tough and tougher collaboration between original ragamuffins Sugar Minott and Daddy Freddy. An updated heavyweight 140 riddim provides the foundation for “Raggamuffin Rock,” and the vocalists trade verses with exquisite skill between each soundbwoy chorus. Stalawa’s “Buss Shot,” featuring Delroy Melody, then feels like a bit of a throwback, with the simpler drums and bass, never-mind the slightly electrified melody. However, Melody finds the perfect tone for a homage to rub a dub.
“Golden Rule” finds two rising stars in cahoots, with Naram behind the boards and Tenor Youthman on lyrical duty. Addressing the audience on a retro-infused ragga cut with a particularly fat bass, he sings ‘if you trouble trouble, trouble will trouble you,’ before later demanding ‘education for every nation.’ Mungo’s Hi Fi return for one final contribution, the catchy “Give Thanks To Jah.” Mr. Williamz spits tight rhyme after tight line, primarily covering who ought to be praising the highest: ‘whether you drive Mitsubishi or you drive Honda, whether you drive Mercedes or you drive dem Beamer, and it don’t really matter you a bus passenger, whether you work 9 to 5 or you an entertainer, whether you a MC or selectah.’ The bassline is perhaps best described as devastating, and Mr. Williamz’s tenor tone – showing some Super Cat influence as always – is right in the pocket.
Following a big tune with yet another, next up is Bim One’s recent collaboration with Macka B, “Don’t Stop The Sound.” Using a thick, wobbling future roots vibe, the Japanese production duo have crafted a dynamic platform for the dance hall positivity coming from the veteran UK singer. Keeping things in a similar time frame is OBF’s weighty “Dub Controller (Future Mix),” here obviously given a rework: darker and sneakier. Charlie P makes it clear who controls what, with the verses kept intact while the choruses are pushed further, into trap territory.
It’d be worth arguing that the best contributions come directly from the hosts, however there are plenty of great tracks here beyond those three, showing a true range of vocal styles throughout the twelve tracks as well as embracing some differing interpretations on how best to rock a dance. These tunes have clearly been road-tested and are still well ready to be selected.
The Groove Thief
.the future of dub is the present.
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