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Album Review

Released on the Island Records subsidiary Mango in July 1980, Sinsemilla, named after a type of marijuana, was Black Uhuru's first album to be issued internationally, its third overall. Although the group was nominally a trio at this point — consisting of Derrick "Duckie" Simpson, Michael Rose, and Sandra "Puma" Jones — in effect, Sinsemilla was a solo album by Rose, who wrote all the songs and sang lead vocals. In David Katz's liner notes for this reissue, Rose is even quoted as saying that Jones doesn't sing on the disc. In addition to his writing and singing duties, Rose can be credited for bringing in the production team and rhythm section of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, whose Taxi Gang provides the distinctive musical tracks. Rose's lyrical vision is revolutionary and radical, extolling the primacy of Africa, opposing Apartheid, and praising the virtues of marijuana. But his sweet tenor and Simpson's harmonies soothe the message, and the music has a spare, rhythmic appeal that is distinctive and forward-looking, suggesting a hard, stripped-down direction for reggae. Sinsemilla is the sound of performers just finding their voices, and it excited hopes for the development of Jamaican music as Bob Marley's leadership was about to falter due to illness. The 2003 reissue contains both sides of Black Uhuru's August 1980 12" single, "Sinsemilla (Discomix)," which extends the title track to six and a half minutes, and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (Discomix)," an extended version of an earlier Jamaican hit.

Customer Reviews

Corrections to the album review

Sinsemilla was produced (funded) by Sly & Robbie themselves after producing the group's first two albums. They first released the album in Jamaica on their TAXI label, then licensed it to Island. Check the original cover: it says Executive producers = Sly & Robbie for Taxi records. Robbie arranged everything with Sly. The entirety of the publishing credits were wrongly attributed to Michael Rose, who came up with only the lyrics. The music should have been credited to Sly and Robbie, but as Robbie says: you pay to learn. These credit details aside, a great album indeed.

one of the best

one of reggae's best work ever

Sinsemilla 👍🏼👍🏼

One of the best reggae bands of all time.


Formed: 1974 in Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The most successful of the second-generation reggae bands, Black Uhuru maintained their high quality despite numerous personnel changes in their 40-plus-year history. The first reggae band to win a Grammy award, for their 1983 album Anthem, Black Uhuru was...
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Sinsemilla, Black Uhuru
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