Producer Henry ”Junjo” Lawes, singer Barrington Levy and deejay Yellowman together ushered a new era in reggae music – dancehall. Yellowman also helped to bring deejaying to a new level and established slack lyrics in the recording studio.
Yellowman has also won several tough battles in his life, including overcoming the social stigma of being an albino in Jamaica and recuperating from an invasive jaw surgery he had to go through because of cancer. He was actually given only six months to live, but he is still with us and tours regularly around the world, even though he doesn’t record much these days.
His influence on reggae and dancehall is massive and when spinning the new, powerful two disc set Young, Gifted & Yellow it’s possible to follow his musical journey.
He was at his peak in the early 80’s when he combined cheeky, witty and nonsense-like lyrics with an unbeatable flown and some of the toughest riddims around. He’s certainly versatile and often plays with both melodies and words.
At a time every producer in Jamaica wanted a taste of Yellowman and reputedly he recorded nine albums in one year, so some of his albums are not very consistent to say the least. But his work with Henry Lawes was usually above par and ten of his productions are collected the compilation, including show-stoppers such as Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt, Duppy Or A Gunman and Morning Ride.
Yellowman’s single best track – Operation Eradication – was however recorded for Lloyd Campbell and is happily also included. It features his sparring partner Fathead and they make a good team, even though Yellowman is a way better deejay.
Yellowman has broken barriers in his life and has given Jamaican outcasts a glimmer of hope. He helped to pave the way for deejays such as Peter Yellow and Mellow Yellow.
His prolific career is overwhelming and shows that anything is possible regardless of color or class. Good faith, self-confidence and humor are some of the main ingredients in Yellowman’s recipe for success.