Picks and Pans Review: Check It!
updated 04/18/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 04/18/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST
The reggae variation of "rap," called "dub," consists of revolutionary poetry chanted to stripped-down instrumental accompaniment. Mutabaruka, a Rastafarian dubber, resides in Jamaica, where he is one of several charismatic performers who have swept into the vacuum created by Bob Marley's death in 1981. While Mutabaruka's works are largely unknown in the States (he begins a U.S. tour in several weeks), he has long been a recognized literary and political figure in his homeland. Born Allan Hope, he grew up Catholic in Kingston and later came under the influence of the writings of black activists Eldridge Cleaver and Malcolm X. Eventually he retreated with his wife and family to the Jamaican countryside, where he became a practicing Rastafarian. This disc contains some of his more accessible work (Every Time A Ear de Soun' and Hard Time Loving), in terms of both themes and music. He is aided by the classy work of guitarist/producer Earl "Chinna" Smith. Even if the concentration on Third World sentiments dooms these works, delivered in thick patois, to an underground existence far off the charts, they're a fascinating combination of politics and music.