When the streetwise, hip-hop beat of "Raw Riddim" opens Marley's third major-label album, the ears perk up, the head tilts slightly.
"Uh-oh," says the skeptic. "What's the Zigmeister up to? Is this some kind of New Jack Reggae?"
Actually, Marley's willingness to tinker with the at-times-wearying Rasta rhythm is one of this album's strengths. On 1989's One Bright Day, Ziggy smoothly blended the reggae grooves perfected by his late father, Bob, with a punchy rock edge. Here he sticks mainly to straight reggae. And while Ziggy sets things cooking on "Good Time," he relies on what are mostly routine songs, many of which he cowrote.
If workmanlike reggae is what you're looking for, Jahmekya will fill the bill. Just don't expect any surprises. (Virgin)