Of all the extraordinarily talented engineers turned producers that King Tubby mentored, Prince Jammy was the most successful, shaking up the sounds during the roots era, birthing ragga in the '80s, and continuing to fire up the dancehall even as his pace slowed later in the next decade.
The Crowning of Prince Jammy focuses on the producer's early years, from the late '70s through the early '80s. And although even this sumptuous collection can only scratch the surface of Jammy's work during this era, it provides an excellent overview of the producer's oeuvre. Jammy was the first to recognize Black Uhuru's potential, and it's fitting that they should open this set. Jammy would discover many more artists over the years, including Wayne Smith, who recorded his debut single for the producer. However, during this period his biggest find was Half Pint, with two of his hits featured here. Johnny Osbourne was his equal, another of Jammy's most consistent chart-busters, and although he began recordings back in the early '70s, his star reached its zenith under Jammy's aegis. Sugar Minott, Hugh Mundell, and Earl Zero were all up-and-comers with some studio experience under their belts when they linked with Jammy. Each of them cut excellent numbers for the producer, with some of their best found within this set. In contrast, Mighty Rudo and the vocal trio Black Crucial remained virtual unknowns, thankfully they've now been rescued from oblivion. Of course, Jammy's dubs and instrumental versions were just as integral to his success as his artists. This set includes five, in a number of cases twinning the versions with their vocal counterparts. All told, there isn't a less than crucial track on this compilation, even the rarities are essential listening. For dancehall fans, this is where it all began, for roots aficionados, this set is a reminder of the strength of Jammy's early catalog.