- Heavy D – Vibes [Federal Distribution 2008]
- Taj Mahal – Maestro [Heads Up 2008]
- UB40 – Twentyfourseven [Edel 2008]
- Ice Cube – Raw Footage [Lench Mob Records 2008]
- Dennis Brown – The Best of Dennis Brown: The Niney Years [Heartbeat 2008]
- Lee “Scratch” Perry – Repentance [Narnack 2008]
- Conor Oberst – Conor Oberst [Merge 2008]
- Blitzen Trapper – Furr [Sub Pop 2008]
- Randy Rogers Band – Randy Rogers Band [Mercury 2008]
- Gilberto Gil – Banda Larga Cordal [Warner Music Latina 2008]
Heavy D, yes that Heavy D, the guy who funkdafied Third World’s “Now That We Found Love” for the American pop charts in the 1990s. The original overweight lover dropped Vibes and kicked out a wicked dancehall jam “Long Distance Girlfriend.” This is the most head noddin’ song of 2008. Amazing!
Blues legend Taj Mahal unleashes blues, country, folk, and reggae on his new album Maestro. The track “Black Man, Brown Man” with Ziggy Marley has melody and a message. The song “Never Let You Go” sounds like a roots reggae groove. Guest musicians Ben Harper and Jack Johnson also make appearances on the album.
UB40 lays down some great tunes on their new album Twentyfourseven. The tracks with special guest Maxi Priest “Dance Until the Morning Light” and “I Shot the Sheriff” (a Bob Marley cover) add to the impressive UB40 reggae discography.
Ice Cube’s pyroclastic flow on Raw Footage is gangsta rap music at its best. The tracks “Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It” and “Do Ya Thang” layer hardcore rhymes over heavy thumping beats. Ice Cube, going back to the days of N.W.A., has continued to make quality music with deep social insight and a political edge.
Heartbeat’s release of Dennis Brown’s The Best of Dennis Brown: The Niney Years features the tracks produced by legendary reggae icon Niney the Observer. Tracks include classics like “Westbound Train” and extended and deejay versions of songs, including versions by boss dee-jays I-Roy and U-Roy.