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Mr. Brooks...A Better Tomorrow

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Album Review

Dancehall reggae is nothing if not trend-based, and in 2008 the trend was for potty-mouthed, gun-talking DJs to suddenly strike intense, prayerful poses on their album covers, arrange their playlists into pseudo-suites, and give their albums pretentious, apocalyptic titles, as if to say "See how my gangsterish persona actually hides a deep-thinking spirituality." On Mavado's latest, the album cover pose would be a little easier to take seriously if his praying hands weren't dripping with platinum bling. Luckily, the music mostly focuses on groove rather than on ersatz spirituality; his singing and chatting are a bit uneven but mostly impressive, and he's at his best when he's at his most declamatory. The singing on "Every Situation" does little except detract from the powerfully booming rhythm, but when he eases into singjay mode on "On the Rock" things slide into place much more nicely. He's even more assured on the militant steppers anthem "Gangster Don't Play," and his sharp, reggaeton-flavored delivery on "Real Killer (No Chorus)" sounds like a respectful nod to Damien Marley. "Jailhouse" is surprisingly plaintive and actually quite touching, while "Money Changer" is a stark and powerful performance built on an uncharacteristically stripped-down rhythm. It's not his masterpiece by any means, but Mr. Brooks...A Better Tomorrow does mark an interesting stage in Mavado's musical development.


Born: 30 November 1981 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A reggae singer influenced by the likes of Bounty Killer and Cutty Ranks, David Constantine Brooks, aka Mavado, was born and raised in one of Kingston, Jamaica's more dangerous ghettos, Cassava Piece. Church and a desire to deliver a socially conscious message to the people kept Mavado out of serious trouble. Encouraged by a friend, Mavado visited Junior Reid's recording studio in Kingston, where he met his hero, Bounty Killer. The reggae star recognized the young singer's talent and introduced him...
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Mr. Brooks...A Better Tomorrow, Mavado
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