Good Cop: You’re on your own with this. I don’t like this album.
Bad Cop: Whoah, you’re the one always accusing me of breaking character and now you’re doing that right off the bat. That’s supposed to be my line.
Good Cop: I don’t care. I think this album is amateurish and panders to a certain demographic, know what I mean? Pot should be legal, sure, but do we have to sing about it?
Bad Cop: [in a fake Jamaican accent] Yeah mon! Greetings in the name of His Imperial Majesty, Haile I Selassie I, JAH!!!! Rastafari, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Igziabeher, Nagus a Nagas, the healing of the nation, the only cure for glaucoma, found on the grave of King Solomon…
Good Cop: You’re mixing your metaphors. And this isn’t a religious album. It’s about getting stoned. And it’s about as interesting as getting stoned.
Bad Cop: How do you know? You’ve never been high.
Good Cop: I don’t think I’m missing anything.
Bad Cop: Fine, more for me.
Good Cop: I’ll bet you’re high right now.
Bad Cop: Hahahahaha. Um, I lost my train of thought. Say, you don’t have any Ring Dings on you, do you?
Good Cop: Seriously, you look pretty stoned.
Bad Cop: I think that comes from listening to this album. I guess we should go through the tracks. Um, the first one is by Snoop Lion. The point of this one seems to be that we can fight global warming by planting more weed.
Good Cop: The vocals are autotuned. Yuck. You have to be stoned to like this.
Bad Cop: OK, the second track is about drinking ganja tea, and that’s the title of the song. It’s by Keida. I like this one. It’s oldschool, kinda oldschool at least. You know, a real band.
Good Cop: Too top 40 for me.
Bad Cop: Here’s another rootsy track, Cali Green by Mighty Mystic. This one’s a little more of a dub. Good song, huh?
Good Cop: More R&B masquerading as reggae. At least this isn’t autotuned.
Bad Cop: You’re in a bad mood. Here, have some of this [reaches into his pocket].
Good Cop [waves him away] No thanks, I don’t need your saliva.
Bad Cop: You’re no fun. But this album is. The next track is titled simply Marijuana. It’s by Linval Thompson – I think this is an old song, but I can’t remember if I’ve ever heard it before.
Good Cop: That figures. This is obviously an old song: you can tell that this is an overcompressed digital mix of an old analog recording. You know, this one actually isn’t bad.
Bad Cop: Glad you agree. Now where were we? Here’s track four, Marijuana, by Linval Thompson.
Good Cop: We just heard that.
Bad Cop: Oh yeah, duh. OK, here’s track six, another old roots number, I Man a Grasshopper by Pablo Moses.
Good Cop: You skipped a track.
Bad Cop: Huh?
Good Cop: We just heard track four. Now you’re saying we should listen to track six.
Bad Cop: No, this is track five.
Good Cop: No it’s not.
Bad Cop: Oh yeah, you’re right. But we might as well listen to I Man a Grasshopper. It’s got a clavinova and distorted guitar through a cheap amp. It sounds so Jamaica, 1980. I love it! Yeah mon!
Good Cop: You know, if we were around back then, we’d be listening to something more substantial.
Bad Cop: I was around back then
Gooc Cop: But you weren’t listening to this.
Bad Cop: I didn’t know this existed. Not many people outside Jamaica knew this existed and I wasn’t in Jamaica. [aside] I was deprived as a child.
Good Cop: Good thing you were deprived or you wouldn’t have any brain cells left.
Bad Cop: You’re just jealous. OK, we’re now going to hear track seven, Oh Mr. DC by Sugar Minott with Fantan Mojah and Military Man.
Good Cop: You forgot track five.
Bad Cop: Oh yeah, We’ll get back to that. This is more of a dancehall song. Very in the moment. Roots riddim, but it’s all hi-tech.
Good Cop: And those R&B vocals. Not my favorite.
Bad Cop: Me neither. Now here’s, um, what track were we just listening to?
Goood Cop: That was Oh Mr. DC. But you forgot track five.
Bad Cop: Aw, wow, ok, let’s hear that one, Weed Fields, by Desi Roots. Now this is a great song! I don’t know this one. Obviously from the golden age. Good band, good singer, a real crooner. Good lyrics too.
Good Cop: This sounds like a reggae remake of a Vegas pop song from the sixties. I don’t know which one. Any idea?
Bad Cop: You know what, you’re probably right. This is my favorite track so far.
Good Cop: Yeah, not bad. Now let’s hear track six, I Man a Grasshopper, by Pablo Moses.
Bad Cop: I think I’ve heard this before. An old roots tune.
Good Cop: You have heard it before. About ten minutes ago.
Bad Cop [sheepishly grinning]: OK, you got me. Got me good. Here’s track seven, Oh Mr. DC – wait, didn’t we hear this one?
Good Cop: Yes, if you weren’t so high you would realize that we’re on, um…where are we? What’s next?
Bad Cop [unwrapping a stick of Roll-O’s]: Um, that’s why I brought you along. For the heavy lifting.
Good Cop: If this is heavy lifting then you’re a lightweight.
Bad Cop: Who’s calling who a lightweight? You didn’t even smoke.
Good Cop: Enough already. Um, the next song is track eight, One Draw, by Rita Marley. Speaking of lightweight, I never understood why this song was so popular.
Bad Cop: This isn’t Rita Marley. It’s some dancehall guy.
Good Cop: Oh yeah, you’re right. This is Alborosie featuring Camilla. I actually think this is better than the original. Which doesn’t mean that I liked the original.
Bad Cop: Don’t be such a sourpuss. Here, have a Roll-O.
Good Cop: OK, thanks. Now we’re on, what, track nine? This is Collie Herb Man. Do these songs really need titles? Aren’t they all pretty much the same anyway?
Bad Cop: I hate it when people say all reggae sounds the same. On this album so far we’ve heard some classic roots, some dancehall and some of whatever you call what they’re doing these days in Jamaica, it’s kind of hip-hop. And you remember that Jamaicans invented hip-hop.
Good Cop: Yeah, back in the 1950s. Anyway, this is Katchafire doing Collie Herb Man. This is bizarre. Is that a vibraphone or just a synthesizer?
Bad Cop: Whoah! This is a Steel Pulse cover. This is a fair approximation, but the original was better.
Good Cop: I learn something new every day. OK, next track. How many damn songs are on this album, anyway?
Bad Cop [grinning] Lots! This is High Grade by Jamelody featuring Natural Black. You know, the crooner-plus-toaster routine. Chaka Demus and Pliers, that sort of thing.
Good Cop: Wow, that’s a name I never thought I’d ever hear again.
Bad Cop: Who?
Good Cop: Chaka Demus. What was his big hit?
Bad Cop: Murder She Wrote [sings] “Murder she wrote, murder she wrote…”
Good Cop: OK, that’s enough, you’re no Chaka Demus. Pliers, maybe.
Bad Cop: That song didn’t set me on fire. Track eleven is Puff It, by I-Octane.
Good Cop: This is awful. Autotune, yuck. How long is this album? I don’t have all day to sit around and listen to Jamaicans rap about how much they like to smoke weed.
Bad Cop: It’s a long one! The next song is Hi Grade, by Busy Signal.
Good Cop: We already heard this.
Bad Cop: No we didn’t. It’s spelled differently. Now this one I like. Oldschool 80s style dancehall except that it’s new.
Good Cop: This is a ripoff of Murder She Wrote!
Bad Cop: Wow. If you hadn’t mentioned it, I never would have noticed.
Good Cop: Let’s make this a wrap. The next song is Collie Weed, by Shinehead.
Bad Cop: I LOVE this song! This is right from around the time the original came out. They took one of the worst songs ever written, Summer Breeze, by Seals & Crofts, and turned it into a ganja-smoking anthem. You know, I saw Shinehead do this live on Rockers TV with Earl Chin.
Good Cop: You know what, this is better than the original. Which isn’t saying much. How many more songs do we have to hear?
Bad Cop: Not done yet. Next one is Sensi Addict by Horace Ferguson. Wait, this sounds like a girl singing. Who is this?
Good Cop: Your guess as good as mine.
Bad Cop: This sounds like it was made with a Casio and a cheap mic, in 1985.
Good Cop: Probably was. That happens a lot in the third world.
Bad Cop: True. OK, next song. Strong Sensi, by Little John. Another really good one I never heard of. Obviously about thirty years old, maybe older. Out-of-tune piano, string synth, a real band.
Good Cop: Actually it’s not anywhere near that old. But it’s a clever imitation. Are we done yet?
Bad Cop: Nope. Next song is Better Collie, by Horace Andy.
Good Cop: If you just tuned in, we’re listening to, what is the name of this album?
Bad Cop: The Hi Grade Ganja Anthems 4 compilation. In honor of 4/20.
Good Cop: Horace Andy, now this guy I know. From my brother during his ska phase in high school. This is more of a reggae song.
Bad Cop: Guy from the golden age of ska, skanking about di herb! I love it!
Good Cop: Moving right along, the next song is, oh god, Sensimania, what a title. By Welton Irie. Never heard of the guy.
Bad Cop: Guessing it’s from the 80s. The last gasp of roots before dancehall took over. You know, the “murderah” chorus. Come to think of it, I know this song. I think I actually have it on a mixtape somewhere.
Good Cop: Wouldn’t surprise me. Is that it?
Bad Cop: Nope. Last song is Bring the Kouchie Come, by Mystic Eyes. Wow, I’m really impressed by this one. The production is really good and oldschool. And there’s a dub at the end, very cool.
Good Cop: Whew, I never though we’d ever get through this thing. To me this is just a random playlist. Is there such a thing as a reggae song that doesn’t mention getting stoned, anyway?
Bad Cop: I love this album. I know there are a few weak tracks but the good stuff is priceless.
Good Cop: So where can we stream this tedious thing online?
Bad Cop: Um, I forgot to plug in my phone and it’s dead. Can you google it? The album, I mean.
Good Cop [after half an hour of nonstop googling]: Answer is that you can’t. But you can hear everything here except for the Welton Irie song on youtube – you can use the links above in each of the song titles. The Welton Irie tune seems to be very obscure. You’re gonna have to digitize that track you have on that mixtape and upload it somewhere.
Bad Cop: Ha, if I can find it. Sure is fun being a grouch and ragging on random bands, isn’t it? You’ve been breaking character all day and I haven’t busted you once.
Good Cop: You’re right, I’m sick of the goody two-shoes routine. We should switch roles more often. Especially if blog boss gives us another one of these. I thought we were on a roll with this blog for awhile, but after this, you gotta wonder…
Bad Cop: Blog boss would never sink to the level of seriously reviewing an album of weedhead reggae songs. Strictly for the B team. That’s us.
Good Cop: You know what, blog boss doesn’t like grunt work like researching individual songs. How much you wanna bet we end up with the next compilation album this blog does?
Bad Cop: Bring it on. Hey, do you have my Roll-O’s?
Good Cop: Oh yeah, here, I was sitting on them. Hey, wait a minute, these smell like weed!
Bad Cop: Heh heh heh…