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Wednesday, June 2, 1999

Dance Floor Derivations

Posted By on Wed, Jun 2, 1999 at 12:00 AM

Not since Chaka Demus and Pliers has a dancehall DJing-singing duo had such a good chance of gaining American pop acclaim as the team of Tanto Metro and Devonte. The title track was featured on last year’s Strictly the Best 21 and is still getting play on mainstream radio such as New York City’s Hot 97. Overall, the album does a slick job of melding together the dancehall riddims of Jamaica, the hip-hop sensibilities of New York and the syrupy R&B croonings of Atlanta. By including interpolations of American hits by Peter Gunz & Lord Tariq, Missy Elliot and others, Tanto and Devonte create a sound that is instantly accessible for hip-hop and R&B fans unfamiliar with today’s dancehall sound. Almost every song here is sure to pack a dance floor with various clamors to "raise the roof," shout-outs to the "’bout it, ’bout it girls" and classic riddims such as Buju Banton’s "Batty Rider."

Depending on your stance, this deliberate crossover feel has both upsides and downsides. By aiming for a crossover audience and borrowing elements of established hits, many of the songs may move the crowd but come off as pop derivatives from American radio. Then again, the whole point of the album is simply to make you dance! This could very well be this year’s summer hit record.

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More by Daniel D. Zarazua

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