Various – Arena Riddim

by Mar 26, 2023Mini-Review, Reviews

Arena Riddim

Release Info

Stingray Records
Street date
March 2023
Website Record Label

1. John Junior – Beautiful Woman
2. Nathi Prince – Call On Jah
3. Nature Ellis – Conquor
4. Stevie Face – Duppy Maker
5. Delly Ranx – Good Looking Girl
6. Baby Boom – Music Sweet
7. Publik Report – Push On
8. Chardel Rhoden – Queen Of The Arena
9. Jay Bignel – Sax Of The Arena
10. Sone G – Wrong Way
Every so often, the reggae audience is treated to a selection of tunes based on a familiar and proven riddim from the glory days of Studio One or Treasure Isle. The enduring popularity of these riddims is a testament to their quality and longevity, as well as a way of honoring the musicians and arrangers who helped bring them into existence. The producer was in most cases given credit for these riddims. However, the producer was often little more than the person who facilitated the recording sessions, arranged the finances and took care of distribution, with most of the proceeds going straight into his pockets.

The English label Stingray has a name to uphold when it comes to recycling those kinds of riddims. Their most recent effort is a modern version of the Death In The Arena riddim, hailing from the studios on Brentford Road in Kingston. The exact origins are somewhat vague, although the source is more often cited as the song Funkey Donkey (1967) by Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, an American drummer. Whipping The Prince by Alton Ellis and the Soul Vendors is most likely the first song to use Purdie’s riddim, while not much later Roland Alphonso’s instrumental version was released as Death In The Arena.

Stingray puts out ten songs using an updated version of the riddim, sticking close to the original tune. Unfortunately, there is no info on the musicians playing the riddim. As it is a recognizable and powerful riddim, it’s almost impossible to produce poor tunes and this holds true in most of the cases here.

Veteran John Junior, always instantly recognizable by his vocal delivery, delivers a somewhat tame lovers tune. Florida’s Nathi Prince manages to charm us better with Call On Jah. Jamaican singer Nature Ellis, formerly known as Nature also gives us pleasant listening moments with Conquer, a solid roots tune sung in a subdued tone. Stevie Face’s Duppy Maker is more of the same high caliber! With Good Looking Girl, Delly Ranx displays his well-known abilities in a compelling manner.

Baby Boom, a deejay who hails from North-West London, is someone we believe needs more recognition and exposure. Check out his song Music Sweet, a fitting tribute to reggae music and its surrounding scene. With Push On, Publik Report demonstrates that he possesses the necessary musical talent to succeed after Stingray released his EP The Journey. The only female among these men is Chardel Rhoden. Queen Of The Arena is a song with timely lyrics that is performed by this singer-multi-instrumentalist.

With Wrong Way, gospel reggae musician Cecil Wilson, better known by his stage name Sone G and a Jamaican native by birth, makes a strong impression. We yearn for more from this artist after listening to this message dancehall song, which is delivered with force and conviction. If Sax Of The Arena by Jay Bignel was played with a significant amount of passion and power, it would have left a better impression.


Where to get it

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