b. Nereus Mwalimu, St. Lucia, West Indies. Mwalimu began his career with UK-based Fashion Records, who suggested a name change on the basis that ‘Nerious’ rhymed with ‘serious’, and would therefore be easier to pronounce. In 1985, his debut ‘Sensi Crisis’ was an instant hit, and led to the equally popular ‘Let’s Play’ and the 1990 classic, ‘Guidance’. His run of hits resulted in a long association with the A Class Crew. The UK-based DJ Top Cat enrolled Joseph to provide the vocals on his combination hit with Tenor Fly, ‘Hurry Up’, while Gussie P and Chris Lane produced the duo for ‘My Girl’. In spite of Joseph’s ardent following, his adaptability, whether as a lovers rock, dancehall or roots singer, was not fully recognized, although the critics often suggested that he would be the ‘next big thing’. Frustrated by this apparent indifference, Joseph decided to pursue his career with other producers, which led to an amicable break with Fashion and a long sabbatical through to the mid-90s. The critics’ predictions came to fruition when in 1996 his return was heralded by the results of sessions with Saxon’s Musclehead, who produced ‘Giving All My Time’, ‘Wonderful Feeling’, and the sublime ‘Shouldn’t Touch It’. He became part of reggae’s first supergroup, Passion, recording in combination with Peter Hunningale, Mafia And Fluxy and Glamma Kid, and the group enjoyed the smash hit ‘Share Your Love’. The single was a dextrous modification of BLACKstreet’s ‘No Diggity’, which crossed over into the UK pop chart and occupied the number 1 position in the reggae charts for two months. Following on from his success with Passion, Joseph released a double a-side, ‘Rejoice’ and ‘I’ll Keep Loving You’, produced by Gussie P. who had previously engineered most of his Fashion output. The success of the single led to the release of Rejoice, featuring contributions from Frankie Paul, Tad Hunter, Claudia Fontaine and Ruff Cut Band, celebrating his long-overdue recognition.
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