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Natural Suntan

Macka B

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Album Review

This 1990 CD, one of four issued that year on Ariwa and imported by Ras, contains frank, uninhibited cultural and social commentary seldom heard in American pop. Macka-B stays on the attack through these eight tunes. The best tracks include "Proud Of Mandela," awhich uses Curtis Mayfield's "I'm So Proud" as the framework to celebrate the newly elected South African president, and "Don't Judge Me," a fiery anti-racist tract. The most dubious entry is the title track, which launches into melanin-theory rhetoric. But it's heartening to hear 1990s reggae squarely concerned with addressing issues; even when his focus is blurry or his viewpoint debatable, Macka-B makes you think.

Biography

Born: Wolverhampton, West Midlands, Eng

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '90s

Macka B was one of Britain's most influential dancehall toasters, pushing the music back toward a Rastafarian political consciousness. His rough, gravelly vocals gave him an instantly identifiable sound, and his production — chiefly handled by Mad Professor — updated dub reggae techniques for the dancehall age, proving that the two sounds weren't mutually exclusive. Although the vast majority of Macka B's material was devoted to spiritual and social messages, he did lighten the mood with...
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Natural Suntan, Macka B
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