Massive Dread – This Is Massive

Massive Dread - This Is Massive
This is as bad as it gets. Even if you are struggling to establish your identity in the music business, surely a blank album cover is preferable to this?

Massive Dread also looks like he’s possibly asleep and someone has put some sunglasses on his head and taken a picture.

“This Is Massive” was a compilation album of Massive Dread’s past hits and favourites and was released on Nyam Up Records. Despite the horrific album cover its got some classic tunes on it that are rarely heard outside of core reggae circles.

Massive Dread was sadly shot dead in 1994, just one year after he helped establish the Trenchtown Reading Centre – a community project designed to improve literacy and learning for the children of Trenchtown.

Track Listings
1. This Is Massive
2. Strictly Bubbling
3. Chicken Chest
4. Vamps on the Corner
5. Justice Love Harmony
6. Pussy on the Window
7. Bubble Her, Inna Ja
8. Monkey Do
9. Wa Do Dem
10. Nice Dem Up
11. Shake-Bubble Senora
12. No Sell Yuh Body
13. Nimble

Listen To It
 
 

Listen to Massive Dread – “This Is Massive”

Buy It
 
 

Sadly there isn’t much Massive Dread readily available for download, you can still pick up a few of his standout tracks online though (but it would be nice to see his albums re-issued as downloads):

Big Youth – Rock Holy [1980]

Big Youth Rock Holy
I’m a massive Big Youth fan, but it has to be said that the cover of this album is better than than the actual tracks within. This was released in 1980 on Big Youth’s own Negusa Nagast record label and despite having a couple of standout tracks (such as ‘Rock Holy’) Big Youth’s powers were beginning to wane somewhat.

But still, what a cover – this album artwork sums up for me exactly what Big Youth represented when he was at the height of his popularity and really conveys the excitement of his music (sadly not on this album though).

Track Listing:

  1. Living
  2. Rock Holy
  3. Love Jah Jah With All My Heart
  4. Many Moods Of Big Youth
  5. Get On Up
  6. We Can Work It Out
  7. Time Alone Will Tell
  8. Dancing Mood
  9. Bang Dibo

Listen To It
 
 

Buy It
 
 

Dirtsman – Acid [1996]

Dirtsman - Acid
This record was one of the the first dancehall albums that I had and it was responsible for making me fall in love with dancehall music. Dirtsman was the brother of Papa San and was on the verge of mainstream success (he had just signed to BMG Records) when he was shot dead on his veranda by four gunmen.

Dancehall artists can often rush albums out in order to capitalise on their initial success and the end result can sometimes be a collection of recent radio hits and some filler material recorded on the latest rhythms, but Dirtsman’s Acid is a killer album that still sounds fresh and unique today.

The record cover looks a little dated these days (as do many early 1990s dancehall albums), but it’s simple and direct – just like Dirtsman’s style. The fact that Dirtsman’s massive hit “Hot This Year” can still get huge forwards in dances stands as a worthy testament.

It’s a shame that this album is so hard to find now as should be in any reggae fans collection.

Track Listing:
1. Nah Put It Down
2. Trailer Load Come
3. Roughest
4. Nah Sell It
5. Me A Nuh Bad Boy
6. Bubble And Wine
7. Sample
8. It A Worry Them
9. Check Seh Me Done
10. Acid
11. Rough This Year
12. Original DJ

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The whole ‘Acid’ album is not yet available as a download, but you can still get a few of the individual tracks, such as MP3s of ‘Hot This Year’. If you only own one Dirtsman track, then it probably should be this one anyway. See below for more detail:

Listen To It
 
 

Listen to Dirtsman – “Hot This Year”

Sizzla – Praise Ye Jah (Xterminator Presents)

Sizzla - Praise Ye Jah (Xterminator Presents)

Some truly awful photoshop work on this – this is what happens when you get your mate to do your album artwork as a favour.

Sizzla’s musical output is prolific even by Jamaican Dancehall standards, and many of his albums can be hit and miss, and the same can be said of his album artwork, with this being a shining example of how not to do it. Looks like it was created by some basic magnetic lasso work in photoshop and then a simple copy and paste job. Sizzla comes off looking like an extra from the old children’s TV show ‘Rentaghost’. That said, this a great album and definitely a case of not judging a book by its cover.

Track Listing:

 

  1. Praise Ye Jah
  2. Dem a Wonder
  3. Homeless
  4. Blackness
  5. Inna Dem Face
  6. Give Thanks
  7. Hail Selassie
  8. No Other Like Jah
  9. How Dem Flex
  10. Cowboy
  11. Greedy Joe
  12. Did You Ever
  13. Government

Listen To It
 
 

Listen to ‘Praise Ye Jah’ from Sizzla:

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Yellowman – Mister Yellowman

Yellowman - Mr Yellowman

In the early 1980s, Yellowman pretty much ruled the dancehall and the ‘Mister Yellowman’ album by Yellowman is one of my favourite covers ever – there is something simple and unpretentious about this album cover, and it looked great on a full size album sleeve. Dancehall would go on to have more crass and image conscious album covers as guns, girls and personal wealth would become dominant themes in the late 80’s and early 90’s (Yellowman himself was equally to blame in later years), so there is a nice simplicity and sense of reality about this Yellowman album cover – it’s like finding somone’s personal photo.

The sense that this album cover was not planned and staged also comes through by the fact that Yellowman doesn’t look like he’s enjoying being in the sun (as it probably evident, Yellowman was born with albinism), you can see him squinting behind the cover of his glasses and hat…….and what a hat! I’ve never seen anyone else pull off wearing a two piece matching tracksuit and what looks like a wool trilby….incredible.

The album itself is a classic – Mister Yellowman was Yellow’s first album with producer Junjo Lawes, and remains one of his best. Some of the dancehall albums of the early 1980’s still sound fresh today and ‘Mister Yelowman’ is one album that I can return to and still get huge amounts of enjoyment from. Natty Sat Up On A Rock is an all-time classic track.

Track Listing for Mister Yellowman:

  1. Natty Sat Upon The Rock
  2. Lost Mi Love
  3. Mr. Chin
  4. Two To Six Super Mix
  5. Morning Ride
  6. How You Keep A Dance
  7. Jamaica A Little Miami
  8. Yellowman Getting Married
  9. Duppy Or Gunman
  10. Cocky Did A Hurt Me

Buy It
 
 

Listen To It
 
 

Listen to “Natty Sat Up On The Rock”. Probably my favourite track on the album, and a flawless example of early 80s conscious reggae dancehall.

Listen to “Mr Chin”: