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Super Vocal & Dub Session (feat. Danny Vibes & Jonah Dan)

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Album Review

Before there was dancehall — before the rise of Shabba Ranks, Lieutenant Stitchie, Bounty Killer, Cutty Ranks, or Ninjaman — there was dubwise. The dubwise toasters of the '70s (King Tubby, I-Roy, U-Roy, Big Youth, Ijahman, among others) not only paved the way for modern dancehall, they also had an impact on hip-hop. While toasting isn't the same as rapping, hip-hop pioneers like Grandmaster Flash and Kool DJ Herc did put their own Americanized spin on dubwise's aesthetic of two turntables and a microphone. In the 21st century, dancehall is much easier to find than dubwise; nonetheless, some artists are doing their part to keep old-school dubwise alive — and Improvisators Dub is a prime example. Super Vocal & Dub Session is a 2004 release, but stylistically, this CD is a throwback to the classic dubwise of the '70s. Jonah Dan and Danny Vibes (the disc's main participants) offer no acknowledgment of dancehall artists like Shabba Ranks and Bounty Killer; their '70s-minded approach happily recalls a time when Big Youth, King Tubby, and their colleagues reigned supreme on Jamaica's sound systems. However, Super Vocal & Dub Session wasn't recorded in Kingston or Montego Bay; Improvisators Dub's members are actually based in France, although they certainly favor a Jamaican sound. When this album is playing, one is reminded how much toasting has changed and evolved over the years; in many cases, today's dancehall is much more harsh, abrasive, and forceful than the sort of old-school dubwise that one hears on this album (which is consistently funky, but never in a harsh or confrontational way). Super Vocal & Dub Session isn't in a class with the best King Tubby, I-Roy, or Big Youth recordings of the '70s; it is, however, an enjoyable and decent example of what Improvisators Dub has to offer long after dubwise's heyday.


Formed: 1994 in Bordeaux, France

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Jamaica, the birthplace of reggae, continues to dominate the reggae scene; however, there are plenty of reggae artists living in other countries, which range from England (where reggae has been quite popular since the '60s) to South Africa. And France is the home of Improvisators Dub, a group that has specialized in dubwise in the '90s and 2000s. The Bordeaux-based group does not get into dancehall, the harder, cruder, more forceful and abrasive style of toasting that came after dubwise's heyday...
Full Bio
Super Vocal & Dub Session (feat. Danny Vibes & Jonah Dan), Improvisators Dub
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