DUBROOM ALBUM REVIEW
Those 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.
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 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 special voice.
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 Dub mixing.
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.