b. Phillip Williams, London, England. Papa Levi originally rose to fame on south London’s Saxon sound system in the early 80s. His committed and uncompromising stance has, perhaps, denied him the kind of mainstream success that his talent deserves. As the premier UK MCs of the period he was notable for a number of firsts: he was the first from the Saxon posse to make a record - ‘Mi God Mi King’ (for Barry Boom), the first UK MC to have a number 1 record in Jamaica when the same record was released by Taxi Records - and the first to sign a major recording contract - with Island Records. However, while others reaped the subsidiary benefits of these achievements, Papa Levi never moved from the Saxon sound system. In his live performances, he dominated the proceedings and little was lost in the transfer to vinyl, as demonstrated on ‘Mi God Mi King’, when he dropped into the ‘fast style’ at the end of the record, to shattering effect. The rest of the decade saw him notching up some notable performances in both Kingston and New York with Saxon on tour. The 90s have neither seen nor heard much from Papa Levi, but judging by his past performances the fireworks will start again when he returns to the studio.
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