MIDNIGHT RAVER’S Album Pick of the Week!

YELLOWMAN: YOUNG, GIFTED, AND YELLOW (17 NORTH PARADE)

First off, maximum respect to 17 North Parade and VP Records for placing a priority on releasing anthologies from those roots artists we love.  Their recent compilations, including Gregory Isaacs, and Dennis Brown, and Barrington Levy anthologies, include 2 or more CDs and some contain even a DVD of notable performances/interviews.  Thanks especially to Zack Reed in Promotions for making sure that we here at MIDNIGHT RAVER have a chance to listen to these new releases and let our readers know what we think of them.  They have each been stellar in my opinion and I would recommend to any reggae fan reading this blog to go online and grab them.  The song selection, sound quality, and sleek, lightweight packaging is the best on the market right now.

There is a duality to Yellowman which makes this latest compilation an important one in the excellent series of reggae anthology compilations they have been releasing of late. The deejay, singer, and performer is a very important figure in the evolution of reggae in that he brought excitement back to the music with a focus on the live performance.  He comes to prominence in the early 80s, and reaches superstardom in 1983 with the album Zungguzungguguzungguzeng and an unforgettable appearance in Jamaican Dancehall Volcano Hi-power 1983In his prime, there was no man (or woman) who could outperform “King Yelowman” onstage.  He would simply light the club on fire and whip the audience into a frenzy.  High, high energy shows, intelligent and well-crafted lyrics, and an endless appetite for the ladies.  That is Yellowman.

On the other hand, while he brought back an energy and excitement to the sound that had been missing since Bob Marley, probably the greatest stage performer Jamaica has ever known, passed from this plane of existence, he was also part of the movement that introduced “slackness” to the music.  Slackness would kill the whole sound and vibe, and fans (especially outside of Jamaica) began to look away.  Although it appeared that slackness was killing the music, it was the financing of the music that was at the root of the problem.  Drugs, especially crack cocaine hit the island hard like a hurricane and drug money was rife in the music business, financing many of the infamous dancehall tunes we all remember and love.  Money determines which songs are made, which riddims are used, and which singers will bless the mic and dirty money is the toughest negotiator.  Until the streets were cleaned up, and the drug pushers in jail or dead, the music would suffer.

Hip hop fans will be most interested with this set as no other Jamaican artist had as much influence on the genre as did King Yellow.  The “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” riddim, first cut by Alton Ellis in 1967 at Studio One as “Mad Mad Mad” was the foundation riddim for many hit rap songs by artists such as KRS-One, Sublime, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, and Blackstar, formed by Mos Def and Talib Kweli.  While Yellowman generally gets the credit for influencing hip-hop, it is no doubt Errol “Flabba” Holt and the Roots Radics band who are responsible for either writing or perfecting the riddims that were eventually lifted by hip hop artists and used as the jump-off for a career in hip hop.

King Yellowman downplays his role in the creation and forwarding of slackness in the dancehall.  “What dem call slackness, me call reality” is what he told the press.  To this day, King Yellowman is a giant in the history of Jamaican music – a man whose name and face are recognized the world over.  This compilation finds its place at both the center of any respectable reggae collection, and in the car stereo of any music fan looking to bob their head and have some fun. The duality of Yellowman.

I have selected a mix of several of my favorite tunes from this compilation.  The strongest tune is “Lost Mi Love,” where Yellowman takes an uncharacteristically somber tone over a hard driving Radics riddim.

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Yellowman    — Young, Gifted & Yellow (2CD/DVD)
Release date : Apr. 23, 2013
Label : 17 North Parade

Tracklist:

 1 Mad Over Me
 2 Shorties
 3 Soldier Take Over ft. Fathead
 4 Lost Mi Love
 5 Mister Chin
 6 Mr. Wrong ft. Fathead
 7 Herbman Smuggling ft. Fathead
 8 Eventide Fire
 9 Operation Eradication ft. Fathead
10 Out Of Hand
11 Them A Fight I
12 Death Of Barnabas
13 King and Queen ft. Sister Nancy
14 Yellowman Getting Married
15 I’m Getting Divorced ft. Fathead
16 Morning Ride
17 Night Flight
18 Top Form
19 Water Rock ft. Fathead
20 Duppy Or A Gunman
21 Zungguzungguguzungguzeng
22 Who Can Make The Dance Ram
23 Quiet
24 Bunn The Kutchie
25 The Girl Is Mine ft. Peter Metro
26 Ram Jam Master (a.k.a. Wreck A Pum-Pum)
27 Body Move
28 Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt
29 Galong Galong Galong
30 Walking Jewelry Store
31 Gregory Free
32 Jah Mek Us Fi A Purpose ft. Sister Nancy
33 Love Struck
34 Rub A Dub A Play ft. Fathead
35 Rub And Go Down
36 Bam Bam ft. Fathead
37 One Yellowman Ina The Yard ft. Fathead
38 Strong Mi Strong
39 Blueberry Hill
40 Where Is Santa Claus? ft. Mrs. Yellowman

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