Last week when I turned on Sheffield, United Kingdom native’s Toddla T’s album “Skanky Skanky,” I was not expecting to have my definition of “party music” be changed. Mashing styles of all types from dance hall, reggae, drum and bass, pop, grime and techno, Toddla T’s 2009 release “Skanky Skanky” is one of the most infectious dance records I have ever heard.
If you are familiar with the dance hall/techno juggernaut Major Lazer, comprised of Diplo, Switch and hypeman Skerrit Boy, then the similarities are immediately noticeable.
The heavy influence of reggae and dance hall provides the base of the album, giving the entire CD the vibes of an island party. Toddla builds upon this, fusing catchy hooks as well as grimey rhythm lines and no shortage of bass.
Arguably the most addicting and absurd song on the album is “Rice & Peas (Full Up Mi Portion)” featuring the loud and energetic Mr. Versatile.
Loaded with air horns and heavy bass, have fun trying to get the hook “Rice and peas and chicken is nice / Tastes so good mi have to have it twice” out of your head
The party is only just beginning, however, as the pulse shifts from mid-tempo reggae-ton to a more dynamic variation of dance hall.
Songs like “Road Trip,” “Shake It” and “Sunny Money” are enigmatic of this dynamic. The intensity is turned up as Toddla’s techno influences become more noticeable. Toddla does not stray from his formula, keeping the dance hall drum patterns ever present.
Toddla rounds out “Skanky Skanky” with the dubstep and grime influenced “Where Mi Key Deh?” I’d tell you what the song is about but in all honesty, it can be very hard to understand what Mr. Versatile is
All of these crazy and ridiculous elements come together in one excellently produced album.
Despite the lack of daggering and a cartoon soldier with a laser for a right arm, Toddla T’s “Skanky Skanky” doubles the level of energy that Major Lazer brings. Full of dance hall riddims that your feet can’t say no to, catchy hooks, air horns and a plethora of hyped up Jamaicans, “Skanky Skanky” is a must-have for any partier. Despite it being released in 2009, the music is still some of the freshest out there.
“Skanky Skanky” is an encyclopedia of party music and without a doubt has endless amounts of fun vibes for even the most dreary of souls.
Reach reviewer Bobby Horton at Robert.Horton@usd.edu