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A Man You Want

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Album Review

"Lord have mercy, me wanna know why every DJ sound the same?" Yellowman scoffs on the scathing "Copy Cat." "They sound like the next man, all their voice a same." No fear of that with our yellow hero, who's determined to show these inferior models just what an original toaster sounds like over some of the hottest riddims of the day. A Man You Want is a dancehall delight, overseen by Maurice "Black Scorpio" Johnson, and boasting a bashment worth of top-notch riddims from Sly & Robbie, Maxie, Fluxie, and the always welcome Dean Fraser. And proof positive is found in the exuberant version of Yellow's old smash "Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt," now retooled for the modern age as "Nobody Move '93." The album itself moves among highly computerized riddims, à la the title track, yet another go-round for the rabidly popular "Bogle" riddim, or the equally militant "Greatest Gift," a radical rewrite of the Heptones' "Everybody Bawling." "Condom," in contrast, is a bit more lavish, and as its title suggests, it's one of a slew of songs on the set that tackles important issues. Much of the set is culturally themed, encompassing AIDs, teenaged temptresses, and religious-themed numbers like "One God," "Help," and the heartfelt plea to "Deliver Us." There's a couple of weak links amid these strong cultural chains. Neither the DJ nor guesting Norma Rowe bloom on "Flowers," and while "A Letter to Mummy & Daddy" was charming when delivered by a young Errol Dunkley, it's just creepy in the older Yellow's hands. But those aside, the rest of this set is impressive. The riddims sizzle while the DJ puts the young guns to shame with his witty, intelligent, and insightful toasts. A masterful album that rivals the best of Yellow's earlier sets.


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,...
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A Man You Want, Yellow Man
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