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Album Review

It was three years before Big Youth followed up his foray into the jazzy Afro-beat territory of A Luta Contuna with a new album, Manifestation. A much less adventurous set than its predecessor, the ragga-fired record is fueled by big, fat beats that give the entire album a deep rootsy atmosphere. The sole exception is "Turn Me On," a seven minute funky monster that could have done with some serious editing. That's the only slacker-themed track within, and sits uncomfortably next to the sublime "Mr Right." One of the best raps Big Youth has delivered in years, his toast takes on an almost hypnotic quality, steaming along to the beat, an outpouring of astute observations, echoed phrases, rhymes, and reason. "No Nukes" is almost as good and equally entrancing, while "The Conqueror" is the closest the DJ has come to the sing-song exuberance of yore in years. "No Way to Treat a Lady" is deliberately delivered in contemporary dancehall style, the perfect vehicle to remind ragamuffins on the proper way to treat one. Unfortunately, the track is let down by Youth's singing. If the DJ had stuck to toasting this could have been a great album, and half of it is. In the past, the artist has sung, and sung well, however that is not the case on "...Lady" and several other tracks. If only he had brought in a real vocalist to accompany him.


Born: 19 April 1949 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A man with a message, Big Youth arrived on the music scene in the wake of U-Roy, Dennis Alcapone, and I-Roy, but quickly established his own style, threatening to eclipse them all. The consummate cultural toaster, the DJ ruled the dancehalls across the '70s, and although his career flagged in the next decade, he returned with a vengeance in the '90s, and continues to have an impact on both his own nation and beyond. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, on April 19, 1949, Manley Augustus Buchanan had his moniker...
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Manifestation, Big Youth
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