Although little known outside reggae circles, Luciano has become a major reggae star; by the time this, his first U.S. compilation, was released, he had placed six albums in the Billboard reggae chart in seven years, and that represented only a part of his prolific output. He has recorded for many local Jamaican labels as well as for Island Records, which, like reissue label Hip-O, is a part of the major label Universal. But, typical of Hip-O's other Ultimate Collection albums, this one is not limited to Universal holdings by any means. Co-produced by Luciano and his partners Michael Taylor and Clayton Trench with Hip-O's Dana Smart, it is a thorough collection that gathers together tracks from such labels as Xterminator, Qabalah, J&D, Stingray, Mixing Lab, Kickin', Young Blood, and Katalys. Eight of the tracks -- "Cool and Settle," "Which Man," "Good Over Evil," "Let the Reason Be Love," "Mr. Minister," "God You See and Know," and Baaba Maal's "Africans Unite (Yolela)" -- are making their first appearance on CD, while "Babylon a Try" and "Red Inna Rome" (featuring Taylor in his Mikey General persona) are previously unreleased and "Good World" appears in a previously unreleased remix. Thus, even those who have been buying Luciano's albums regularly will have reason to pick up this anthology. If they do, they will hear a set from the religiously inclined reggae singer that includes early tracks like 1993's "Poor and Simple" and definitive later ones such as "The Messenger" and "Sweep Over My Soul" in addition to the rarities. This album also will make an excellent primer on Luciano for anyone who has not encountered him before and who would like to get a sense of the current state of reggae music.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
feat: Mikey General
feat: Baaba Maal