Tapper Zukie

Musical Intimidator

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Musical Intimidatior captures toaster Tapper Zukie at the height of his popularity in the latter half of the 1970s and early '80s. It's a thorough overview spread over two discs that takes in selections from all of Tapper's albums as well as singles the DJ produced and released on his own Tappa and Stars labels. While there are a few notable cuts missing, especially the infectiously catchy "MPLA," it more than makes up for it with the inclusion of several highly desirable "disco mixes" reissued here for the first time on CD. Where dubs were the spaced-out instrumental B-sides for vocal tracks, disco mixes were the late-'70s and early-'80s equivalent and ran directly after a vocal version, stretching the track out to fill one whole side of a 10" or 12" single. There are six such mixes here, including an incredible extended version of "Ragga Muffet" with Horace Andy and two cuts with Zukie protégés Knowledge. Beyond those mixes, the collection is solid if somewhat unremarkable. That might be a disappointing assessment, but Tapper wasn't as consistently brash as DJ contemporaries like Big Youth or U-Roy and really didn't have to be. Other toasters competed in the record shops and sound systems of Jamaica -- and Tapper would too eventually -- but the mellow DJ's initial popularity was centered in the U.K. and the sympathies of British punks and Jamaican immigrants. His laid-back approach has its own charm that is far more approachable than that of other mic handlers, and that is what makes Musical Intimidator so enjoyable. Zukie could truly be the bullying intimidator the title implies, but instead he coaxes and beguiles listeners -- qualities that his detractors have missed out on and that Musical Intimidator offers in spades.

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