Black Uhuru


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1994's STRONGG finds Black Uhuru--nearly alone among the great reggae artists of the '70s and '80s--still making artistically and commercially viable music in the mid-'90s. In the mid-'80s revolution heralded by the inescapable electronic novelty "Under Mi Sleng Teng," reggae quickly transformed itself into a synth and drum machine-based music which some felt lacked the depth and heaviness of '70s-style roots reggae.

On albums like STRONGG, Black Uhuru are able to blend the two styles harmoniously, so that the synthesizers and sequencers meld with the horns--some of them electronically processed, giving the tracks a spacey, floaty feel--and booming bass under the vibrant harmonies of Don Carlos, Garth Dennis and band founder/mainstay Duckie Simpson. As always, Black Uhuru blend reggae, soul and pop into a combination that's accessible without sounding like a blatant attempt at crossover, and songs like the single "Brand New World" are as sweetly satisfying as anything they've done.

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