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Getto Dictionary: The Mystery

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Album Review

Ghetto Dictionary: The Mystery was released in early 2002 simultaneously with the similarly packaged and configured Ghetto Dictionary: The Art of War. The two releases are befuddling in a number of ways; for one thing, both of them seem to include a combination of new and previously issued songs, though which ones are which is not really made clear on this one (presumably those fans who are most intimately familiar with the Bounty Killer catalog will recognize the older material on sight). Second, it's not exactly clear why the two albums were released simultaneously, or why they are designed as two parts of a set, or what is the significance of the Ghetto Dictionary theme. Nevertheless, there's no questioning the quality of the music on The Mystery; the rhythms are aggressively dark and minimalist, but occasionally a ray of melodic sunshine bursts through, as on the engaging "Guns in the Ghetto" (a nice combination track with Morgan Heritage) and the hidden thanks-and-praise anthem that closes the album. "Fed Up (Remix)" finds Sly & Robbie building a solid foundation of ragga and North African elements for Bounty Killer to ride in his inimitably gruff style. This is not an album that's going to change the reggae world, but it's a solid effort from one of dancehall's more respected DJs.


Born: 12 June 1972 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Bounty Killer was one of the most aggressive dancehall stars of the '90s, a street-tough rude boy with an unrepentant flair for gun talk. There were many other facets to his music -- condemnations of corrupt authority, collaborations with hardcore hip-hop artists, tributes to his mother, an ongoing DJ rivalry with Beenie Man -- but his main persona was so dominant that many fans instantly associated him with his more violent material. With such seeming contradictions in his personality, his image...
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Getto Dictionary: The Mystery, Bounty Killer
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