Michael Rose

Michael Rose

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In the United States, many fans assumed that Michael Rose had dropped out of the music scene entirely after leaving Black Uhuru. Although he continued recording, none of his music was released in the U.S., at least until 1995. At that point, the singer inked a deal with the Heartbeat label, and began work on his first solo American album. Rose's eponymous record reunited him with producer Niney Holness, who had overseen the some of the singer's earliest pre-Uhuru singles. Over 20 years had passed, and both men were looking determinedly forward, not backward. However, like the best of all of Holness' work, Michael Rose has a timeless quality, while still being thoroughly contemporary in sound. The producer coaxed stellar rhythms from Mafia & Fluxy, who desert their more typical dancehall beats for fatter rhythms with a rootsier flair, aided by veteran Sticky Thompson's percussion. In fact, the entire album is an extraordinary blend of dancehall stylings with roots sensibilities, a breathtaking achievement. This suits Rose's songs well, as he shifts from the cultural themes so beloved by his older roots fans to the tougher dancehall stances of the younger generation. Of the former, songs like "Warning" and the militant "So Much People Crying" are the equals of anything the singer had recorded with Black Uhuru. Intriguingly, the latter boasts an awesome dancehall arrangement, that would further enhance Holness' own weighty reputation. But for those who'd lost touch over time, it was numbers like the toughly toasted "How You Fi Do That" that would come as the greatest surprise. The excellent "Short Temper" and the boastful "Badder Than You" are both magnificent examples of dancehall at its sweetest, while the infectious "(Duck Duck) A Who You" would also stun. Michael Rose returns to the States with a vengeance.

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