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A Better Place

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Album Review

With his third album, Bushman continues in the modern roots reggae vein that he began exploring on 1997's Nyah Man Chant. He doesn't stay in a traditional reggae mode throughout; the powerful "Gangsta Life" is derived explicitly from hip-hop, and the much less successful "Love Will Turn You Around" draws on 1970s loverman soul. But most of the album's best tracks are the rootsiest ones. The horticultural "Weed fi Burn" combines a funky adapted one-drop beat and subtle Nyabinghi drums to very nice effect, while "Higher" is a psalm-like Jah anthem that benefits from a spare drum part, dramatic chorus, and tastefully dubwise production. The whole album would be excellent if it weren't for Bushman's consistent pitch problems, which distract from some of the program's other better moments. Recommended, but probably not essential.


Born: 1973 in Prospect Beach, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Bushman was a key part of the roots reggae resurgence in Jamaica in the late 1990s, and his rich, sincere baritone give his songs a strong, bedrock appeal. Born Dwight Marvin Duncan in Prospect Beach in St. Thomas on the east coast of Jamaica in 1973, Duncan was active in church choirs by the time he was nine, and as a teen he became a selector for the Black Star Line sound system under the name Junior Melody (Duncan also occasionally billed himself as Junior Buckley). Relocating to Kingston hoping...
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A Better Place, Bushman
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