Inner Circle's entry in the CRUCIAL REGGAE series features sides from their earliest years, when their singer Jacob Miller, tragically killed in a car accident in 1980, was being touted as a successor to reggae saint Bob Marley. Also featured are the group's better-known hits "Sweat (A La La La La Long)" and the ubiquitous theme to the successful reality police series COPS, "Bad Boys." The Miller years, which occupy the first half of this set, demonstrate the band's rootsier side, with "Tenement Yard" best displaying Miller's distinctive voice and exaggerated vibrato, while "Healing of the Nation," with its conscious lyric, carries echoes of the Wailers.
Miller's successor, Carlton Coffie, is the assured vocalist on the second half of this compilation, which finds the band exploring its poppier side, arriving at a successful combination of Jamaican dancehall and timely social comment in the aforementioned worldwide hit "Bad Boys." More pop-oriented than many of their contemporaries, Inner Circle were one of the first internationally successful Jamaican bands of the '80s, and this volume of CRUCIAL REGGAE offers valuable snapshots of their development over the years.