Draped in the rich colors of African cloth, his trademark staff in hand, and his dreadlocks wrapped regally on his head, Anthony B embodies all that it is spiritual and proactive about Reggae music. This roots artist has been steadfast in his mission to represent the poor and oppressed, using sharp lyrics to confront political injustices and bring the issues of the people to the forefront.
After performing with church and school choirs in Clark’s Town, Trelawny throughout his youth, he made his debut as a DJ with the local sound system Shaggy Hi-Power. Relocating to Portmore in 1988, he befriended fellow aspiring DJs including Determine, Mega Banton, and Ricky General, issuing his debut record The Living Is Hard in 1993. Teaming with producer Richard “Bello” Bell, Anthony B notched a series of hits including “Repentance Time,” “Fire Pon Rome,” “Rumour,” and “Raid di Barn” before releasing his first full-length effort Real Revolutionary in 1996. Universal Struggle followed in 1997, with the single “Nah Vote Again” viewed as a key factor in preserving peace at the national elections later that year. In my opinion, Universal Struggle is a modern roots reggae masterpiece and was a defining moment in Anthony B’s career.
According to his website:
Anthony B’s rich vocals and audacious lyrics carry a depth and substance which is rare in the industry. Internationally, his fan-base has grown because he speaks about the universal concerns of suffering and salvation. “The greatest thing about reggae music is that it’s about concepts and ideas,” says the artist, “you are speaking to people on issues they live and can relate to.”
In January 2009, Anthony released yet another album with Greensleeves Records. The album, Rise produced by Frenchy Maximum Sound, continues Anthony’s legacy as he proves himself to be one of Reggae’s most prolific and engaging artistes, an electrifying performer whose music grips the public social conscience. 2011 saw the release of his latest album Rasta Love.
I share with you “Storm Winds” from Anthony B’s Live On The Battlefield album as an introduction to his sound (and because this tune performed live just blazes the place!).
Anthony B tours extensively in Europe and North America.
Talking of his faith and music, Anthony B commented, “When we say ‘burn fire’ we don’t mean take a match and light somebody, we are saying ‘get rid of these things that are no good for humanity.”
I have included audio and video files of Anthony B’s fiery performance at the 2009 Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. The audio files can be downloaded as lossless audio (FLAC).
Anthony B Live at SNWMF
Sierra Nevada World Music Festival
June 21, 2009
1. Equal Rights
4. One Thing I Can Do
7. World A Reggae Music
8. Gin and Juice
9. Water Pumpee
10. Good Life
11. God Above Everything
12. Don’t Worry
14. Smoke Weed Everyday
15. Raid Di Barn
17. This Train/Rivers of Babylon/Rasta Chant
19. Higher Meditation//
20. //Higher Meditation
22. Give Thanks