Lex Machine

Take a generous dose of Beenie Man, several dashes of Bounty Killer, a pinch of Buccaneer and a liberal infusion of General Degree, serve with a sprinkling of hip hop and — voilà!

Many rapping DJs have tried to tickle the palates of reggae's fastidious dancehall crowd with that blue-ribbon recipe. And Lexxus, a veteran Jamaican actor/dancer turned deejay sensation and winner of various Best New Artist awards is, like many of his peers, a mic cannibal who grazes on those who've heated up reggae charts before him.

However, what takes Lexxus' debut set beyond mere style biting is a distinctively witty and wide-ranging lyrical imagination coupled with a sturdy yet finely tuned baritone flow.

Tracks like the current #1 back-to-the-kitchen boomshot, "Cook" (RealAudio excerpt), stand tall beside left-field revelations like "Thug Love" (RealAudio excerpt) (featuring the sublime dancehall singer Wayne Wonder) and the wonderfully eccentric "Let Those Monkeys Out" (RealAudio excerpt).

No filler (only some sadly rote homophobia) dampens the fire kindled over the course of this album's 20 tracks. Producers like Q-45, King Jammys and Steely & Clevie — and a roster of guest artists that includes Lady Saw, Nadine Sutherland and top sax man, Dean Frazier — were clearly ignited by Lexxus' new musical intelligence.