Yellowman

Prayer

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

One of the most well-rounded sets that Yellowman has released over the last few years, Prayer should satisfy every element of his audience with this sparkling album. The set boasts a clutch of instantly recognizable rhythms/covers, kicking off with the title track, an inspired version of the Mighty Diamonds' roots classic "Have Mercy," where the DJ offers up his own thanks and praise to Jah. "Africa" continues in a cultural mode, with its sweet sung chorus juxtaposed with Yellow's tough toast. "Politician" pairs the DJ with Daddy Snake to harpoon Jamaica's political scene, where promises are broken as a matter of course and the poor are treated like dirt. Ripping a page from the Shaggy songbook, "Carolina" updates the Folkes Brothers' early ska masterpiece "Oh Carolina," the perfect platform for Yellow to pledge his love to the pretty girl of the title. But regardless of his devotion, the DJ is soon off on a road trip, where he proves himself the ranking loverman by counting up more than one "Girlfriend" around the world, then declares his love for them all on a sizzling version of the Sandpipers' 1966 hit, "Guantanamera." And King Yellow's popularity is understandable, considering how important bananas are to their diets, but if it's "Romance" they want, they'll find little of that on this surprisingly slack track. Perhaps they'd prefer a date down at the "Dancehall"; certainly the DJ makes that scene sound irresistible, and there the party reaches feverish proportions on the slamming "Crowd," before Yellow cools down the crowds with a tribute to "Reggae Music," giving shout-outs to stars both old and new. Produced by Simeon Stewart, Prayer boasts popular rhythms expertly arranged, with a tough dancehall sound but with enough strong melodies blended through to please even the oldest fans.

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