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Reggae Gold 2012 ()

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The cover art references the 2012 Summer Olympics -- along with Jamaica's massive contribution, Usain Bolt -- but Reggae Gold 2012 is also a celebration of a milestone, marking the of 20th edition of VP's annual review of the best in reggae and dancehall with its two-decade spanning bonus disc. The first disc of the set runs through the recent hits, and there's plenty of quality to be had. Popcaan's "Only Man She Want" is a supremely bright earworm, Konshens "Gal a Bubble" combines blippy ragga with a '70s-inspired, funky keyboard workout, while Christopher Martin turns out to be a brash crooner during the great "Cheater's Prayer," begging "Oh Lord don't let me cheat on my girlfriend," and if that can't happen, "don't let me get caught." Nice how the set chose the extended dub mix of Busy Signal's "Come Over (Missing You)" which sounds thick and almost organic, which leads to Etana and Iba Mahr both representing the fine state of roots reggae in 2012 as Beres Hammond offers the grown folks a full-bodied, reggae affirmation with "Keeping It Real." The second disc is a ridiculously good catch-up lesson, packed with important numbers, from Wayne Wonder's so smooth "No Letting Go" to the furious and raw "Benz and Bimma" from Bounty Killer. It's such a wide and wonderful selection that the rocky flow of the disc is forgiven -- think "sampler" rather than "set" -- but those who get hung up on censoring should know the version of Gyptian's "Hold You" is the edited, radio-friendly mix, even if Lady Saw and Beenie Man get to drop an f-bomb during their very sexual "Healing." ~ David Jeffries, Rovi Hide synopsis

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