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 it.
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.
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 other.
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 "Creation Rebel".
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!
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
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.