Dancehall Attack/Fat Eyes Dee-Lite
It seems that every couple of years or so, dancehall reggae manages to break through into the mainstream, from Shabba Ranks (“Mr. Loverman”) to Shaggy (“Mr. Boombastic”) to this year’s Mr. flavor du jour, Sean Paul. Then, after going platinum, selling songs for use in Levi’s commercials and making the rounds on Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show and every MTV special ever, it’s usually back to the island for these artists.
But what gets lost in the race for pop superstardom is the fact that reggae in its various incarnations, particularly dancehall, is one of the purest forms of music out there. The two-CD set Dancehall Attack/Fat Eyes Dee-Lite, compiled by producers “Bulby” York and “Fatta” Marshall under their Fat Eyes alter ego, works on two fronts: the body and spirit, which is as pure as it gets.
Dancehall Attack is perfectly mixed to get the listener bouncing. It kicks off with “Victim” by Wayne Wonder (next in line for the reggae/pop throne?), and features tracks by Bounty Killer and Beenie Man, among others. “There’s No Feeling,” a collaboration between Chevelle Franklin, Elephant Man and Harry Toddler is the perfect blend of up-tempo beat, island vibe and Franklin’s rich voice.
Underneath the purpose of getting the feet moving are messages of religion and social injustice, as evinced on songs like “Jah Works” and “Weapons of Destruction.” A deejay at a club on “Reggae Night” could easily throw on this album, put it on shuffle, and would be guaranteed to keep the crowd hyped up for hours.
Dancing that hard, though, would tire anyone and leave you wanting to slow it down. That’s where Fat Eyes Dee-Lite comes in. This is what you’d want to hear at 3 in the morning, when you just want to groove with the person you’ve been kicking it with for the past couple of hours.
From the opening song by Sanchez, “Always Be True,” to “Soldier of Love” by Andrew Coombs, it’s obvious what the theme of this disc is. (Hint: It’s love.) This CD is great to listen to for unwinding, or if you want to display some “mack-daddiness” for the ladies.
So as Sean Paul’s expiration date nears and we get ready to go a couple of years without the dancehall phenomenon, take note that the music’s still out there. Albums like Dancehall Attack/Fat Eyes Dee-Lite, which convey a range of emotions and keep the ass in motion, ensure that the purity of the whole genre is kept intact.