Don Letts soundtrack to early-'80s NYC

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Overall rating:

Score 4

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Various Artists – Dread Meets B-Boys Downtown

When The Clash invited Letts over to the Big Apple in ’81 to film their US. endeavours, the dreadlocked selector found himself on hip hop’s frontline, where punk, disco, electro and reggae converged to create a mutant street music. There’s nothing you haven’t heard before-simmering standards by Fab 5 Freddy, Grandmaster Flash, Babe Ruth et al conjure a block party vibe. But, as with his account of late-’70s London on 2001’s Dread Meets Punk Rockers Uptown, Letts’ sleevenotes make this a superior summary of one of pop’s livelier episodes.