Crisus Time

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Crisus Time not only ranks among the classic DJ albums of its era, but is also notable for its appearance on Virgin, which assiduously promoted reggae to British audiences. That move paid off handsomely by allowing the label to expand beyond its original progressive rock constituency, and gave the artists a foothold outside of their Jamaican origins. Throughout the '70s, I-Roy flourished as one of reggae's top DJs beside equally jive-talkin' brethren like Big Youth, Dillinger, and U-Roy. This album is one of the definitive showcases for those abilities, in which his yowls, bays, and screams become as critical an element as the pulsing dub rhythms over which they bounce. Half the fun is hearing how I-Roy avoids painting himself into a verbal corner with his scattershot delivery; anything's grist for the verbal mill, such as using traditional nursery rhymes to underscore the title track's impatient urgency. Part toaster, part town crier, I-Roy moves from celebrating the joys of music ("Musical Injection") to simple sermons ("Love Your Neighbor") and pointed political comment ("Hypocrite Blackout"). "African Tak" and "African Herbsman" explicitly acknowledge the Rasta movement's pan-African nationalist roots, while "Don't Touch I Man Locks" warns outsiders not to disturb the dreadlocked hairstyles that remain its most visible manifestation. Although changing times and tastes would render his style obsolete, few stars burned as brightly as I-Roy at his peak, and here's the proof.

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