18

S A T U R D A Y

The proliferation in the ’90s of stultifying dancehall rap and roots reggae records can lead even genre supporters to echo the common plaint that “it all sounds the same.” But just when one is ready to give up hope, a few artists surprise. Buju Banton was once notorious for “Boom, Boom, Bye,” which advocated the killing of homosexuals, but on ’Til Shiloh, he seems a slightly changed man. While this rude boy still uses his gruff growl to urge women into “the promised land in my 20-foot bed,” he also tunefully decries murder and exalts Jah (and the poor) over a variety of clever riddims. Luciano may not be the finest singer in Jamaica, but his amiable midtempo island-pop on Where There Is Life serves his message (“Lord Give Me Strength”) well. With Mikey General, Sizzla, & Dean Fraser all backed by the Firehouse Crew, plus the Wirm Crew and G-Nice at 10 p.m. at the University of the District of Columbia Gymnasium, 4200 Connecticut Ave. NW. $30. (301) 422-1728. (Steve Kiviat)