Macka B


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Discrimination is one of the best of nearly ten years of consistently strong releases by the conscious Anglo reggae DJ. Mad Professor provides a stimulating musical environment by using both his standard U.K. crew and some Jamaican heavyweights, but the source of Macka B's appeal remains his non-dogmatic, common-sense lyrics and matter-of-fact delivery. He sounds like the kind of guy you could easily strike up an interesting conversation with at the neighborhood bar -- if he happened to be a devout Rasta. "Kill You With Tax" is Macka B at his everyman lyrical best, while "Another Soldier" is an antiwar song criticizing old men sending young ones to die for greed. "We Love Reggae" is yet another tribute song -- just what the world needs, right? -- but it's pretty hard to resist the lovers rock riff with Kofi's sweet female vocals and doo wop backing vocals. The title track rails against discrimination by British immigration authorities against Jamaicans wanting in. Macka B recalls history -- how England begged an earlier generation of Jamaicans to come over and rebuild the nation after WWII -- and then inverts the situation (a favorite technique) by asking what would the reaction be if British citizens was expelled from Jamaica? "To Be Racist," apparently inspired by attacks on British school kids, has a somber chorus: "To be racist/Is an illness/It's like madness/We must cure this." But Macka B cannily lightens the tone with a catchy bridge and turns the idea of repatriating blacks to Africa around by imagining the same for all English expatriates: "With so many people back in England, stop and think/England would sink." The lighter, lovers rock selections are nice mood-breakers and two dubs flesh out a CD that is equally strong lyrically and musically.

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