Jamaican Mic Rocker Realizes Wet Dream

"I and I a raw African"—a single, indelibly growled statement Sizzla dropped into singer Mikey General's '95 tune "Black and Comely"—foreshadowed the seismic shift in reggae dancehall set off one year later by his dueling debut CDs, Praise Ye Jah and Black Woman & Child. Soon everyone was biting Sizzla's style: chanting that layers hardcore rhythm into sweetly gruff melody and a persuasively insolent persona that merges shrewd thuggishness with a holier-than-thou 'tude. Overstanding brings Sizzla closer to his longtime wet dream—taking it deep into America—in part because of Damon Dash's equal wile in rescuing Sizzla from his foot-shooting habit of releasing new tracks like the corner shop sells patties— he's churned out more than 30 CDs in less than a decade. The plan: Introduce stateside heads to Jamaica's most dangerous mic rocker via already certified boom shots like "Solid as a Rock" and "Black Woman & Child." Impressive remixes justify this best-of strategy, but dancehall and hip-hop march to the same drummers these days, so why mess with perfection? Still, mission accomplished. Overstanding makes clear why Sizzla stands artistically predominant.

 
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