of you who like to listen to Dubroom Radio,
must be aware of my personal gladness when
it comes to Roots Reggae in DJ Style. Reggae
rhythms, mixed in Dub style, while DJ's are
rhythmically chanting on top of it. It's a
genre known as "toasting", which
has been the foundation for a popular style
such as Hip-Hop.
M.P.L.A. is an album which you can let
people listen to, when they want to know
some more about Toasting. Originally, the
music on M.P.L.A. was released in 1978.
VIRGIN RECORDS, the publisher of this great
material, has been releasing crucial Reggae
music since the 1970's, and many of their
releases are strong until this day. This
album is no exception. Unfortunately, the
album contains just ten tracks, but the fact
that the disc is in mid-price compensates
The record starts with PICK UP THE
ROCKERS. "Rockers today, you will love
it tomorrow", Tapper chants on top of a
tight One Drop riddim, with sparse guitars
and other instruments dropping in and out
while the drum and the bass play on.
The second one is one of Tapper's best
known tracks, the title track for this one.
A militant steppers rhythm, a great horn
section dubbed perfectly, and an incredibly
strong bassline form the main ingredients
for this killer track. M.P.L.A., one of
Tapper's best tracks indeed!
After a storm there must be a calm, they
say. On this album, the calm comes in the
form of DON'T GET CRAZY: a one drop with
some very prominent echo's. The recording is
very lo-fi on this one.
The fourth track, GO DEH NATTY is more up
tempo. Riding on a well known bassline which
keeps the track going on like a train!
After this one, Tappa rides over a dub
from Horace Andy's hit Skylarking. STOP THE
GUN SHOOTING contains a heartical call on
the people to stop fighting and shooting
each other. A theme which you can see many
times within Reggae. Where there is poverty
and social injustice, the poor people start
to fight each other too and many Reggae
Musical works to make the people unite and
fight against injustice instead of each
ITAL POT is the next one. A One Drop
rhythm with the famous Flying Cymbals style,
where the Hi Hat opens on the same time as
the skanks of the guitar and piano. It's a
dub from Johnny Clarke's rendering of
After this, track called MARCUS. Marcus
Garvey, the Jamaican black freedom fighter.
He is highly respected in Jamaica and many
Reggae Artists have made one or more
tributes to him. This track contains some
beautiful horn licks, fragments of Johnnie
Clarke's voice with echo added to it, while
Tappa Zukie chants on top with his very
Track number 8 is called Challis to
Challis. Again, the flying cymbals enter.
The rhythm is relaxed yet intense. Fragments
of guitar play enter the track like a
cutting razor, parts in which you only hear
the singer singing, and then echo's come in
while the drum and the bass start playing
again. Nice One!
DON'T DEAL WITH BABYLON is next. An
intense track, Tappa's messaging voice
crying heartically about the things Babylon
does to keep down the Natty Dreads. Even
when Dread don't deal with Babylon, them
still come to mash it down.
The last track of the album is called
FREEDOM. It contains all the necessary
ingredients for a good Roots DJ track:
consciousness, solid bass and drum, great
MPLA is a great album when you want to
hear some conscious toasting. Although Tappa
Zukie has released "slackness",
this album only contains "conscious
tracks". They all have a social or
spiritual subject and that is a good thing.