C.J Lewis – Dollars


Release Date: Dec 94
Chart Position: 34

Norm
We’ve got CJ Lewis and Dollars to critique this week. It’s tough to follow in the footsteps of the sublime Ini Kamazoe. We were treated to an absolute belter that left Neggae towers a house divided. Personally, I thought it would have strolled to #1. But that’s the beauty of this blog, each to his own, we are individuals and our opinion counts, even if you’re wrong if you didn’t give that song a 10/10.
CJ is up against it if we’re being honest. It’s a little like David Moyes following Sir Alex. Decent but a wee bit of a of a let down. I think that we will all agree that CJ peaked with “Sweets for My Sweet” and “Everything is Alright – Uptight” Both of those are uplifting powerful neggae beauties. Dollars falls short, I’m trying to figure out what it’s missing. Oh, that’s it, I’m waiting for a CJ like “Ribbydibbydibbyboombahdeh” type intro or break, sadly I was left wanting for some CJ silliness and it didn’t materialize. That’s OK. I’m writing this review listening to “Everything is alright” so I’m good.
“Dollars” apparently very hard to find on the internet which amazes me, I’m sure it also amazed Neggae elder Vince as he had to buy this and upload it to YouTube for us to enjoy. Many thanks Elder Vince for providing us some head bobbing material. I’ll be honest, I had forgotten all about this one but after a few listens, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. It fits my simple criteria for decent neg, island sounding rap (not the Orkney Islands sound) fast enough to keep you involved, Malibu worthy, BQ party worthy. This ticks all the boxes and I wouldn’t hesitate to put this on the playlist at a summer soiree (for those that aren’t quite sure what a soiree is, it’s a party.)
Score: Put me down for 6.5/10 – a decent tune but no ribbydibbydibbydoombadeh.

c-j-lewis-dollars-vinyl-clock-sleeve-90s

Jonny
Right, so after a few great weeks back onboard the Neg train what have we here? Dollars by CJ Lewis this week, I love CJ! An artist who is true Neg through and through and has knocked out some of the best tracks we have reviewed date, Sweets for my Sweets is one of my all time favourites. I think I’m going to put my feet up, crack open a brewski and see what he has to offer. After the slight kerfuffle last week when we had to jump ahead to Hot Stepper and Vinnie had to go buy the CD just so we had a version to listen to, I’m quite looking forward to this….I love neg reviewing….here we go…
What the hell is this sh*t?!
The bottle of Becks I’ve just opened is a year out of date! Maybe the competition to win two tickets to Soccer City (a whole city based on Soccer!!) in Johannesburg to watch the World Cup final in 2010 on the side of the bottle could have given it away? I must talk to the wife about our ‘first in first out’ fridge management process, it has clearly failed! Back to grab another one.
Right second round, fresh, chilled, in date becks in hand, some peace and quiet and hit play…
What the hell is this sh*t?!
This time the Becks is fine, but CJ’s offering is well below my expectations.
CJ sounds great and it impossible to miss his instantly recognisable tones and delivery, but the song is awful. In fact if anyone else had delivered it I doubt it would have ever been released. It goes nowhere, is repetitive and after 1min 30secs I want to kill myself. Don’t recall this one in Dec 94; I may have been caught up in all the Stay Another Day by East 17 hype?
Vince paid 99p for this just so we could review it! Think someone has pulled one of Knivo’s tricks on you mate and got the exchange rate between Dollars and GBP wrong! This is a 10p job if ever I have heard it.
Score: 3/10 from me and more importantly a massive dent in my over inflated opinion on CJ, I feel as if a part of my soul has been torn away.

Keith de Vivre
Keith hasn’t been happy for the last week…
Since the news came through that this was going to be another CJ Lewis review there has been a cloud hanging over this hairy, perfectly coiffured, moustached head. I mean… does the neg 90 really warrant a third batch of Ceedge…?! As mentioned last week, it’s also a bit off that this reviewer has to sit through a second dose of the big man within 4 entries! This isn’t what Keith signed up for.
All that, coupled with the fact that since getting back from Turkey wednesday night I’ve been laid up, bedridden and tackling a crippling bout of “Ottoman’s Arsehole”, with a fever and sweats to rival that of any 70s entertainer on hearing the phrase Operation Yewtree.
andrex_toilet_rolls_whiteAnd so, through bleary eyes and hallucinations to rival that of one un-named Neg elders’ glastonbury friday night, I finally sat down – on the can – to get through the chore that was numerous viewings of Ceedge’s 4th album track.
But who knew!?
Dollars is an up-tempo beaut that was exactly what this sick cat needed. It’s no Sweets for my Sweet, granted, but it bubbles along nicely like a lovely little horse, on a jamaican beach, with a big grin on his face. If there’s a video for Dollars out there somewhere, i’m hoping it’s this:
b1fTo paraphrase Shawshank: “I have no idea to this day what CJ is singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think he’s singing about something so beautiful, it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it”.
shawshank_mozart-thumb-425x238-32080Or it’s about wanting dickloads of money. Either way is fine with me.
CJ, all is forgiven. Whilst I don’t see this one troubling the top spots come judgement day, i’m giving you a solid score for seeing me into the light after a torrid couple of days.
Score: 6/10

Gouldy
I’m coming round to the idea that the idea of CJ Lewis is a lot more palatable than the reality and the Dion Dublin lookalike quiz whizz has strengthened this aspersion with this offering. Starts off ok with a dubby bassline and a bit of cowbell but goes progressively goes downhill after that. As the song starts chugging along loads of zany sound effects start being introduced, this makes it sound like the Stoppit and Tidyup crew are all beatboxing behind it and frankly it’s not good. A banjo is then introduced into the mix, which is never a good thing, country and neg doesn’t work, as evidenced here, reggae covers of C&W yes, country and neg, no.
Lyrically it’s a hip hop influenced paen to the mighty dollar, not original and he’s saying nothing new. This is humdrum neggae, an album track at best and CJ’s long player could never be accused of being all killer and no filler.
Score: 3/10 – preferred him when he played up front for Coventry.

Vince
So big bro John and I are currently in La Furia Roja to visit our kid Jamie and the latest addition to the Neggae clan, Louis Synan. Aside from eating a lot of shellfish, burping and feeding the little fella, cheap Spanish plonk and family bonding, I’m committed to reviewing this little known top 40 hit from CJ Lewis. I couldnt find the song on youtube, lastfm, itunes, beatport or Amazon (shame on you all) so purchased the CD from discogs for 99p. Obvs this took delivery time, which meant we missed the cutoff point for last week and were forced to switch in Here Comes the Hotstepper. Exciting sh*t I know.
Yet again, we have another hit from the true home of Neggae, Birmingham. It’s quite apt that just as Brum has dominated this chart, it also dominated our evening last night. After a meal together we ventured our to Calahonda High Street to take in some local culture at Scruffy o’Hanranan’s Irish pub. While in there, seventeen eighteen year old lads entered on an Inbetweeners-like first holiday, shouting things like, “Bostin, y’am boi-in’!”. And while generally harmless fellows, a couple of episodes highlighted that they were worth keeping an eye on:
1. Jamie entered the gents, after the lock opened. The young BrumLad in there, assuming Jamie was one of his little mates, had his pants round his ankles, and had adopted the touch your toes position – therefore presenting an opportunity for the next entrant. Cue slightly embarrassed “Sorry mate! I thought yow were Bazza!” and rushed re-clothing.
2. After Jamie told the other 16 lads what had just happened, that guffawed unanimously. ToiletBoy, a little put out, then tried to get his own back on Jamie by asking “Want a chewy mate?” and proferring a small chewable sweet. Except it wasnt a sweet, it was a viagra capsule. Cheeky chappy.

On to the song though – and all in all its a decent effort. It’s the first time CJ Lewis has been brave enough to offer up an original melody rather than iterpolating another song, for which he should be commneded. And while the song doesn’t really go anywhere, its a pleasant enough skank around the perils and adentures of chasing lolly.
Score: 6 out of 10.

NEGGAE SCORE: 5.7

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