Major Lazer & Grandtheft ‘Number One’ Reviewed

Reggae: the ultimate leveller. Every dance music generation eventually embraces it as a long-standing brother-in-drugs, and Major Lazer’s new collaboration with Toronto trap producer Grandtheft – one half of Team Canada DJs and a long-term Major Lazer cohort – is a fine addition to this noble good-idea-at-the-9am-Ibiza-afterparty tradition.

Hence, ‘Number One’ takes Johnny Osbourne’s dub-heavy classic ‘Put It By’, speeds it up, chops it into screwy, amorphous chunks and throws it as hard as possible at a dancefloor full of hand grenades. Osbourne, reviving his song’s bygone quest to be a chart-topping record, is cast as one of Major Lazer’s neon leotard dancers, back-flipping, head-spinning and transforming into a tiny Smurf for their evil, manipulative pleasure. While it doesn’t quite stand shoulder to shoulder with The Prodigy’s magnificent maltreatment of Max Romeo’s ‘Chase The Devil’ on ‘Out Of Space’, it certainly stakes a claim as the great rave-reggae mash-up of the age. If you thought dancehall had become the sole property of those narcotic dub chill-out DJs that live exclusively in tents around the back of blanket stalls at Glastonbury, this will syringe your third ear, and if you ever wanted to know what reggae might have sounded like if ketamine had originated in Jamaica, this is it.