In 1988 came the debut of Asher D & Daddy Freddy with "Ragamuffin Hip-Hop". A landmark release, it saw the first direct fusion of Hip Hop and Reggae Dancehall for a full album and finds Peckham's Asher D (not not be confused with the So Solid Crew member) and Kingston's Daddy Freddy collaborating with an album that both raises the scale of UK Hip Hop and shows off Jamaica's Ragga scene to the masses.
1. "Ragamuffin Hip-Hop"
They set it off well as they drop a tune that has them showing just how strong the pair's chemistry is and how well the sounds of both styles work together. It makes for some powerful material that you simply have to take attention of as they show just how well they are able to offer the toasting flows to some pretty standard Hip Hop beats to show that they are doing just as American Hip Hop artists had in the mid to late eighties by trying out Dancehall-influenced work.
As we come off the album's big single, we see that here the pair of them move to another continent, after having them go from the UK to Jamaica (stopping in the US along the way). Here they go hard as they toast in the mid to late eighties Dancehall style to production which sounds as though they are really trying out some new things to see just how much they are able to pack into this one album.
The beats hit hard on this one as we see that they've gone straight to New York on this one and they've managed to pull out some of the mild Rock influence of the time along the way as they do their thing. We see that their lyrical delivery seems to merge typical Dancehall toasting with the contemporary Rap styles to a great effect. It stands as one of the hardest ones here and it is bound to grab your attention immediately.
Sampling Mungo Jerry's "In The Summertime song, we see that here they come out with a tune that has them appealing to a different audience as they choose to come out with a little something where they are able to escape the dark themes in order to visit a little something that would be considered more radio-friendly (not that Dancehall was really embraced in the UK all that much at this time).
5. "Don't Stop, Do It"
Here we have them coming out with another tune which keeps them attacking it at another angle. The angle they take is one that has them directing it towards the girls as they go off about what exactly they like in girls and the type of things that they get up to with them. The beats here are an intermediate between Dub and typical Hip Hop beatbox stuff of the time and it comes together well.
6. "Posse Rock & Move"
Here we see that we get pretty dark beats coming through and they seem to take on the sort of form that you would expect to hear in progressive Hip Hop in New York and not yet elsewhere to other regions (never mind out of the country). The tune goes hard though and ensures that you have to really pay attention to the energetic things that they flow out and force directly towards you.
7. "Rough and Rugged"
For this one they are backed solely by some straight-forward Reggae Dubs and it seems to make for some pretty strong foundations from them to work from. On this one they seem intent upon displaying that they haven't lost their roots and are keen to ensure that it all makes for strong material that any fan of their other music will also embrace. It maintains the flow and seems welcome within the record.
8. "Run Come Follow Me"
They return from Jamaica and appear to have been trapped right in the middle of New York for a while as we get some exciting beats here which sound bang on-trend for the period (which is unexpected when you consider just how fast-paced progression Hip Hop was year on year through the eighties. Their approach on the rhymes is largely unchanged, but it isn't an issue as it leads to some of the most impressive results in spite of such massive conflictions being juxtaposed together.
9. "Asher's Revenge"
The album ends with this one as we see that Asher D chooses to present a little solo work where he shows just how well his music has come along in the years as he worked towards coming to deliver this as he looked for inspiration from what the East Coast of the US and Jamaica was offering when it came to urban music. The thing is a great one to close the thing off and I can see why it was chosen to take on this position on the album as he offers a blast of unbroken rhymes lasting over six minutes.
I found that this was a very impressive album from the two of them. With the experience of Daddy Freddy and the creativity of Asher D, they made for a record that really deserved much more attention than it did at the time. Each track is a strong one and they never stop delivering that impressive Dancehall material.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Ragamuffin Hip Hop
5 Don't Stop, Do It
6 Posse Rock & Move
7 Rough and Rugged
8 Run Come Follow Me
9 Asher's Revenge