Toppa Top 10: Sly + Robbie’s Most Deadly Riddims

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October 27, 2015

5. Baltimore (The Tamlins, 1978)

Sly & Robbie’s take on this Randy Newman tune (by way of Nina Simone) was more danceable than disco and as funky as anything around in 1978 when The Tamlins rode it to the top of the Jamaican charts. Its hard-stepping riddim (later touched by Dennis Brown and Welton Irie, taking one of Jamaica’s earliest stabs at a hip-hop flow on “Hotter Reggae Music”) was a powder keg of militancy and resolve.