Crucial? Not all of it, but the Ras label doesn't own Yellowman's biggest hits, so the title's non-delivery on its promise is no big surprise. The reason why the collection is very desirable is that This Is Crucial Reggae rounds up the best of Yellowman's days on Ras and saves potential customers from having to buy the B- and C+ albums some of these great cuts originally appeared on. The sensual "Yellow Like Cheese" and the frantic "No Touch Ya So" both fall into the "crucial" category while the innocent "Party" and spiritually uplifting "God Alone" represent how the man's catalog defies the sleazy pigeonholing reggae academics lay on King Yellow. The liner notes are brief but meaty, and the way the compilers have ordered the tracks makes perfect sense. Yellow Like Cheese and Prayer are the Ras releases still worth checking for serious fans, but everyone else can pick up this tight package and move on to his superior Shanachie/Greensleeves albums.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
feat: Beenie Man