Recorded during sessions with producer Clem Bushay in England, Zukie never expected these cuts to turn into an album, and was quite startled to discover this record in the London shops when he came to town in the spring of 1975. It's evident that the tracks were earmarked as potential singles, something the poor sequencing merely reinforces. As a debut album, it's pretty disastrous; approached as a compilation, however, which in a way it was, and it's an intriguing snapshot of the young up-and-coming DJ. So here's Zukie rousting the listeners at home on "I King Zukie," chanting with the best of them on "Simpleton Badness," and toasting up a storm on "A Message to Pork Eaters" and "Viego." "Zukie Fashionwear" gives one a taste of the dancehalls, all catchphrases and clever repetitive nonsense words, while "Archie, the Rednose Reindeer" has all the exuberant, savvy silliness of a Yellowman hit. But it wasn't so much these tracks that caught punk princess Patti Smith's ear, but the title track and "I Ra Lion." "Man Ah Warrior" is stripped down to a bare beat and riffing guitar, over which Zukie chants and toasts in almost poetic fashion, foreshadowing the rise of Linton Kwesi Johnson and Mutabaruka. The latter song is equally bare boned, but the DJ preaches with apocalyptic style, á la Prince Far-I. Zukie's MPLA will be a much more coherent effort, but, across extremely diverse rhythms and musical styles, the DJ holds his own on this intriguingly different album.
Man Ah Warrior Review
by Jo-Ann Greene