The Strictly the Best albums from VP Records are usually pretty good at getting something their Reggae Gold albums may have missed or something that hadn't been big enough at the time when the Reggae Gold albums were released and just generally used to positively promote their artists and reggae music in general. The cover is usually some artist's rendering of a dance and its always attractive and beautiful and there's more than one person in the world who'll know nothing of the music but will buy it on cover art alone, I'm sure. Its usually more about the music and less about the hype so it doesn't have to include every huge reggae tune down the road at the time, and the newest edition, #32, is no different on those points at all.
Because the album is what it is, right off the bat, you know you'll get tunes like There For You, from Vp's artist Beres Hammond, Solid as a Rock from VP artist TOK, Consuming from VP artist Capleton, Idiot Thing That from Vp artist Assassin, and I See Girls from Tanto Metro & Devonte (who just happen to be VP artists as well). None (and I mean NONE) of those tunes find the artists in their finest hour, and add to those We'll Be Burning by Sean Paul and rapper Remy Martin's remix of Lady Saw's I've Got Your Man (which is now edited).
What's good about STB 32 is also what's weird about it (a twist if you will). Unbeknownst to me, suddenly Sizzla's Rise to the Occasion, the title track from a 2003 Greensleeves album has become a delayed hit and it has never sounded finer than it does with the updated heavy Nyah drum treatment it gets here. Also present here is Marijuana by Richie Spice, huge tune which gets respect on a larger label than his full album, Spice in Your Life, did last month. Also love the presence of Macka Diamond, a Greensleeves artist doing her thing (with a very Vybz Kartel sounding flow) on Done A Ready, and absolutely the Mother Marcia Griffiths on the excellent Back in the Days.
The real stars of STB #32, however, are the opening 3 tunes (one of which is Sizzla's 'Rise') the other 2 consist of Bascom X's huge Lonely Girl which shows the artist stepping out of the self-imposed Kalongi shadow under which he previously recorded, the tune is amazing. Second in quality to only track one, which is probably the biggest tune in reggae in all of 2004 Can't Satisfy Her by upstart Rasta I-Wayne. The tune is a lyrically deep statement by an artist never before heard of who is now. . . you guessed it a VP artist (definitely waiting for that one debut) (sounds a lot like Warrior King a few years ago). If Can't Satisfy Her isnt the big tune here then its the sweet voiced one Cocoa Tea's Tek Weh Yu Gal, which you've probably heard before, big tune from the vet.
Overall, besides the interesting nature of its makeup this one probably won't interest reggae heads, you probably have the single of every tune on here which interests you, to the newbie however, I'd definitely reccoment STB 32, as I generally would every edition in this decent series.