In the early 1980s, Yellowman pretty much ruled the dancehalls, only Josey Wales and Charlie Chaplin were a threat, at least until a small, furry rodent -- Eek A Mouse -- scurried onto the scene. And as different as these four DJs were, they did share one thing in common, studio time with producer Henry "Junjo" Lawes, the man behind some of their greatest recordings. Mister Yellowman was the DJ's first album with Lawes, and remains one of his best. Backed by the seminal Roots Radics and Earl "Chinna" Smith's Hi Times band, the deep roots that both created were further finessed by Lawes into a simmering stew of dancehall-inflected rhythms shot through with dub. Thematically, Yellowman drifted between boasts about his appeal to the opposite sex and vignettes on everyday life, many delivered with a sly humor that was the secret to his success. The Jamaican hit "Mr. Chin" would bring the PC police to his door today, but the DJ's complaints about the neighborhood Asian grocer (while simultaneously seducing his daughter) tickled Jamaicans. His pathos on "Lost Mi Love" is tempered by the fact that his love ran off for the night with "a boss DJ," which is precisely the fate Yellowman himself planned for every one of his female fans. Most entertaining of all is "Yellowman Getting Married," a wild medley that promotes the DJ as the perfect husband, one who'll even mind the baby. Even an everyday event, like riding to work, was grist for his lyrical mill, and be it instructing listeners on how to run a dance or taking on violence, Yellowman spoke directly to the lives of regular Jamaicans while effortlessly riding the rootsy rhythms. Today overshadowed by many of his contemporaries, Mister sets the record straight; a masterly DJ set that just can't be beat.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene