Tapper Zukie


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To the punk community, Tapper Zukie was a cultural toaster hero, and with song titles like "MPLA" and "Peace and Love," it's easy to understand their mistake. A closer listen, however, negates this notion. "MPLA," for example, has nothing to do with the Angolan liberation movement at all. Regardless, this misconception of his political motives takes away none of Zukie's actual achievements. While barely out of his teens, the DJ recorded and produced MPLA himself. This was only possible because producers Bunny Lee, JoJo Hookim, renown for his dub discs, and Ossie Hibbert, also a noted keyboardist and musical arranger, presented the youngster with backing tapes to work from. The three had great faith in Zukie's talent, and the young man repaid them with a debut album of astonishing proportions. Shifting from rocksteady classics to deep dub, Zukie made excellent use of these tapes, and his toasts ride the rhythms like a world-class jockey. However, on the occasions he does venture into cultural themes, the DJ seemed at a bit of a loss. "Peace and Love," for example, is as lyrically inane as Culture Club's "War Is Stupid." But give him a pretty girl or a memorable lyric to bounce off of and Zukie truly comes into his own, and chanting along with the beat, his playful patter is a wonder to behold. His deft wordplay, unerring ear for rhythm, and silky adaptability to diverse genres announced the DJ as an unprecedented talent.

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