When you listen to typical hardcore Rastafarian reggae music, the point is made clear—over and over again—that Haile Selassie I is king. In fact, true Rastas believe this former Emperor of Ethiopia is God incarnate. But this 18-song collection of Studio One recordings praises another king—the sound of drum and bass. Although Ernest Wilson’s “Why Oh Why” mourns senseless killings along Jamaica’s mean streets, the majority of these tracks focus on love and romance. There’s even a nod to Bruce Lee’s influence on the ‘70s scene with Dillinger’s “Natty Kung Fu”. Many of these artist’s names will be new to casual reggae fans, although The Heptones, The Wailing Souls, and Sugar Minott all make appearances. Nevertheless, there’s a lot of fine playing and singing throughout this collection that will have you skanking around the living room for hours. And the singing on tracks like Basil Daley’s “Hold on Baby” is also superb. Long live the rhythm king!
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. We need your help to keep PopMatters strong and growing. Thank you.
// Notes from the Road
"Saul Williams played a free, powerful Summerstage show ahead of his appearance at Afropunk this weekend.READ the article