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The 50 Best Albums of 2012

47. Mr. Vegas, Sweet Jamaica

Label: MV Music
Released: May 29

Mr. Vegas's self-produced double album looks back at reggae's glorious past and paves a way forward into its future—depending on which disc you start with.

Disc No. 2 gives us the Vegas we already know and love with dancehall blasters like "Certain Law" and "Bruk It Down," which Nicki Minaj rates as her favorite reggae jam of the moment. (And wouldn't we all love to see Nicki bruk it down?) But the first disc—a celebration Jamaica's 50th year of independence—features classics of Jamaica's musical heritage delivered with a contemporary twist: Desmond Dekker's "Israelites" becomes "Gimme A Light" and so on. (The tastefully chosen guest list includes Luciano, Nadine Sutherland, Shaggy, and Josey Wales.)

Vegas shows another side of his vocal talents as he reinterprets the work of Toots & The Maytals, Desmond Dekker, and Jimmy Cliff. These are not cover versions, more like heartfelt homages. -Rob Kenner

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