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Just Cool (feat. Fathead)

Yellowman feat. Fathead

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Album Review

What to make of this set? Just Cool certainly doesn't qualify as a best-of Yellowman collection, and its providence is rather dubious to say the least. Culture Press has released a number of the DJ's sets over the years, and this one apparently aimed at bundling up most of them into one two-CD package. The music within is all over the place. Some of the numbers, "Murder Style" is a good example, sound like they date back to the DJ's earliest days, when Yellowman was cutting songs for Henry "Junjo" Lawes with fellow DJ Fathead. Others are just as obviously of much later vintage. The bulk appears to have been recorded in the second-half of the '80s and even into the early '90s, by which point Yellowman was long out of fashion. Stars rose and fell swiftly in the dancehalls, and although King Yellow reigned longer than most, eventually he lost his crown. On occasion, his majesty exhibited a far from regal attempt to regain it by following the lead of the current crop of dancehall nobility, "Your Dick Is Dead" is a sad example of this propensity, which saw the DJ sliding from slacker styling into sheer crudity. But happily, that number's an exception to an otherwise fine collection of cuts. There are some great conscious numbers, upbeat party pieces, and enough Yellowman braggadocio to slap down every DJ in the land. Continuing to work with top producers, and with the riddims supplied by the best Jamaica had to offer, it's a grand sounding set. It may not be his greatest work, but it is proof positive that even after his forced abdication, King Yellow still knew how to rouse a crowd, wine a woman, and impart some wisdom.

Biography

Born: 1956 in Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Jamaica's first dancehall superstar, Yellowman ushered in a new era in reggae music following Bob Marley's death. His early-'80s success brought the popularity of toasting — the reggae equivalent of rapping — to a whole new level, and helped establish dancehall as the wave of the future. For better or for worse, he also epitomized dancehall's penchant for "slack" lyrics — that is, casual violence, sexism, homophobia, and general rudeness. Graphic sexuality was his particular forte,...
Full bio
Just Cool (feat. Fathead), Yellowman
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