Review: Down In Jamaica – 40 Years of VP Records

Rooted in Kingston, Jamaica, VP Records opened shop in Brooklyn, New York in 1975. Four years later, VP Records would begin a label that would transcend generational sounds, harness the power and influence of cultural revolutions, and work with well over 120 genre-spanning influential artists.

Collecting and reflecting on an illustrious existence that has been around since its Jamaican inception, through the hits, VP Records has collected over six hours in the form of 94 tracks to release Down in Jamaica – 40 Years of VP Records.

Down in Jamaica – 40 Years of VP Records is equally for the newcomer as it is for the diehard. Titled after the Red Fox and Naturalee 1989 single (of course included), the box set encompasses a mix of hits and rare tracks, establishing a journey through vibrant Jamaica-rooted reggae and dancehall sounds and history. From Heptones’ 1977 “Party Time” to Yellowman’s decade-spanning “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” up to Beenie Man’s 1997 “Who Am I”, Wayne Wonder’s 2003 “No Letting Go”, Sean Paul’s 2004 “I’m Still In Love with You”, Shaggy’s 2007 “Church Heathen” and much, much more, the introspective collection is as comprehensive as it is enjoyable.

Whether you remember reggae and dancehall from your high school/college days, you’re still adamantly claiming Hot Shot makes you culturally diverse, or you’re a connoisseur, Down in Jamaica – 40 Years of VP Records has something for you. The historical context and significance of Jamaican-rooted reggae and dancehall music is incredibly difficult to wrap all into one. VP Records achieved about as close as one can get.  If you’re a fan, or if you know someone who is, you won’t want to pass on Down in Jamaica – 40 Years of VP Records.