Having taken the fast track from hip-hop flavoring agent to full-fledged chart force, Jamaican dancehall is currently enjoying its greatest cultural currency in years. Artists like Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder, Beenie Man, and Bounty Killer hit big with herky-jerky rhythms and sly, smooth island moods, but dancehall's epochal sway owes just as much to its seepage into smaller-scale margins. The latest guise of Kevin Martin (Techno Animal, God, Ice), The Bug lurks purposefully around the edges of dancehall on Pressure, a well-timed amalgam album that fattens the genre's skeletal lurch with dance music's mechanized punch. The album's brash openers—signal titles: "Politicians & Paedophiles," "Beats, Bombs, Bass, Weapons"—rumble and snap, spinning out off-time beats like a steamroller breaking apart during a frantic inertia cruise. Heated vocals by MCs like Daddy Freddy, Toastie Taylor, and The Rootsman give the hard-churning tracks a uniform intensity, but Pressure spends just as much time in mellow mode: "Executor" and "Thief Of Dreams" spread into ambient poetry swaths, while "Night Steppa" takes their dubby cues to steady-stepping march speed. The Bug gives dancehall's crinkly blueprint a close reading, but fast or slow, his tracks dip into disassembled shards of gabba stomp, jungle breaks, and rippling basslines, slathering the style with an underground rub. No such gravity weighs on Ragga Ragga Ragga! 2003, a choice compilation of dancehall's real-time evolution that tugs thin and gaudy pieces into dizzyingly inventive wholes. Chaotic right out of the gate, Elephant Man's "Fuck U Sign" is a disorienting charger built around minimal clangs that twitch and hum around a spinning rhythmic center. Sean Paul's "Ever Blazing" follows an upright ballad through a thicket of harpsichord hiccups and the kind of slithering slurps that make Timbaland run for his production board. Following the album's progression means tracing dancehall's internal dialogue as it now stands, from the bizarre Missy Elliott homage "My Dickie" (over the riddim track from "Fuck U Sign") to Alozande, Hollow Point & Mr. Vegas' "Under Mi Sensi," an update of the "Sleng Teng" riddim that brought dancehall into the digital fold in the mid-'80s. As heard on Ragga Ragga Ragga! 2003, dancehall's dialogue sounds equally closed-off and wide open, which helps explain a staying power that shows no sign of dissipation.