White Trash Heroes

Fancies himself a bit, our [B]Clifford Smith[/B]....

FANCIES HIMSELF A BIT, OUR Clifford Smith. Not only does he adopt that absurd pseudonym (something to do with pink shorts and go-go dancers), he also sees no problem in sticking his benign grin and silky, plucked chest on the sleeve. Which initially puts a bit of a dampener on things.

No matter, because ‘Heads High’ is a very fine, commercially enhanced appropriation of nu-skool reggae. Proffering a totally punk rock 20 tracks of spacious, digitalised nursery-rhyme ragga lilts, the Vegas vibe is one that spurns negativity and one that possibly betrays tensions in his hometown Kingston, Jamaica.

For a start, it’s not often that you hear a ragga star play a pro-feminist skit called ‘Hit Him Back’. But it’s Mr Veg‘s willowy rant that fills the air with such [I]goodness[/I]. And never more so than on the title track – a slice of dancehall elation that shot to Number One in the UK reggae charts.

Along with the likes of Beenie Man, Red Rat and Sizzla, it seems that renaissance ragga is here to stay. Ahem, viva Mr Vegas, indeed.