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Macka B

Macka B was one of Britain's most influential dancehall toasters, pushing the music back toward a Rastafarian political consciousness. His rough, gravelly vocals gave him an instantly identifiable sound, and his production -- chiefly handled by Mad Professor -- updated dub reggae techniques for the dancehall age, proving that the two sounds weren't mutually exclusive. Although the vast majority of Macka B's material was devoted to spiritual and social messages, he did lighten the mood with occasional humorous novelty material. He shunned any aspirations for a commercial crossover, however, staying true to the sound and spirit of reggae's roots. His 1986 album Sign of the Times still remains a milestone of British reggae, and he continued to record for Mad Professor's Ariwa label into the new millennium.

Macka B was born Christopher MacFarlane in the West Midlands town of Wolverhampton, England, near Birmingham. As a youth, he played violin and sang in the school choir, but reggae remained his first musical love. He studied engineering and served an apprenticeship, but company factory closures resulted in his being laid off. Instead, he worked on honing his toasting skills, influenced by early reggae DJs like U-Roy, I-Roy, Big Youth, and especially Prince Far I. He started a sound system called Exodus with several friends, and also converted to Rastafarianism. In 1982, he made a trip to Jamaica to take in the exploding dancehall scene, and returned to England with a new commitment to his craft. The next year, he won a competition for aspiring DJs, which led to several radio appearances and a gig with a band called Pre-Wax; their single "Maggie's Letter" was a local hit.

Macka B also performed regularly for local sound systems, particularly Wassifa; a tape of one Wassifa sound-system battle found its way to the London-based Fashion Records, who gave him the chance to make his first solo record. "Bible Reader" was released in 1985, and did respectably well on the national reggae singles chart. Macka B subsequently signed with Mad Professor's Ariwa label, and issued his debut album, Sign of the Times, in 1986. An immediate hit among British reggae fans, it went on to top the reggae album charts; it was even hailed as a masterpiece in some quarters, both for its imaginative production and for the vocalist's nimble rhymes and hard-hitting social commentary. A series of similar and generally consistent albums followed, starting with 1987's We've Had Enough.

1988's Looks Are Deceiving spawned the single "Unemployment Blues"; also that year, Macka B traveled to Jamaica for his first recording session there, which resulted in the tracks "Love It in Jamaica" and "Slow Down Driver" under producer Black Scorpio. Returning to England for 1989's Buppie Culture, he scored a huge hit with "Dread a Who She Love," a duet with female singer Kofi that topped the British reggae singles chart. He duplicated the feat with "Proud of Mandela," a post-apartheid celebration that appeared on 1990's Natural Suntan. His prolific output continued apace with 1991's Peace Cup and 1992's Jamaica, No Problem?, which earned him Best Male DJ awards in Britain both years, and 1993's live set Roots Ragga, an accurate description of his sound by that point.

1994's Here Comes Trouble gave Macka B one of his biggest hits with the internationally popular "Squeeze Me," which was hugely successful in Hawaii of all places. The 1995 follow-up, Discrimination, was a strong set, and it was succeeded by Hold On to Your Culture and Suspicious. 1999's semicompilation Roots & Culture mixed some of Macka B's greatest hits with previously unreleased material. It was followed by a new studio set, Global Messenger, in 2000. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Beautiful African Lady (Single)

1. Beautiful African Lady (Feat. Herbert Skillz)

x

Track List: Get Out Of The Way (Single)

1. Get Out Of The Way

x

Track List: Never Played A 45

1. Hail H.I.M

2. Big Thief

3. Soundman

4. Never Played A 45

5. Too Much Chicken

6. Medical Marijuana Card

7. Rasta Tell Dem

8. Fire

9. African

10. Complaining

11. Beautiful Naturally

12. One Life (Feat. Phyllis Dillon)

13. Iternal Love

14. Another One Gone

15. Their God

x

Track List: I Don't Like Reggae: The Best Of Macka B

1. I Don't Like Reggae

2. Legalize The Herb

3. Bob

4. Squeeze Me

5. So Many Things

6. Allez The Reggae Boys

7. One For Jah

8. Invasion

9. Baked Beans & Egg

10. We Love The Children

11. Malcom X

12. Wet Look Crazy

13. Drink Too Much

14. Dreadlocks

15. Dread Ah Who She Love

16. Beautiful Eyes

17. Looks Are Deceiving

18. Serve You Right

19. Plastic Bullets

20. Roots Ragga

21. J'adore Le Reggae

x

Track List: Rasta Soldier

1. Rasta Soldier

2. Innocent Life

3. Old Fashioned

4. Never Leave My Culture

5. Outta Order

6. Our Music

x

Track List: Outta Order (Single)

1. Outta Order

x

Track List: Macka B

1. Greetings

2. Murderer

3. Empress Divine

4. Wha Me Eat

5. Rasta

6. Homeland Africa

7. Walk Tall

8. Original

9. Black Christ

10. War Pon Drugs

11. More Knowledge

12. Save The Children

13. Would You Like It

14. Satan Leave (Feat. Luciano)

15. Oh Jamaica (Feat. Justin Hinds)

x

Track List: Global Messenger

1. Power Of The Mind

2. Conscious Woman

3. So Many Things

4. Effects Of Slavery

5. Mother Of Civilisation

6. Rasta Postman

7. Do You Feel Irie?

8. J'Adore Le Reggae

9. Dem Kinda Blackman

10. Christmas Cancelled

11. The Human Touch

12. 4 Minute Vacation

13. Beaucoup D'Amour

14. Welcome The Grey

x

Track List: Roots & Culture

1. Allez The Reggae Boys

2. Roots And Culture

3. Serve You Right

4. Badder Than Jah

5. I Don't Like Reggae

6. One For Jah

7. You're The Ladies

8. Run Rushdie Run

9. Dread Ah Who She Love

10. Get Conscious

11. Sex Machine

12. Malcom X

13. Jesus Christ Is Black

14. Iron Mike

15. Don't Judge Me

16. Another Soldier

17. Pam Pam Cameroun

18. Squeeze Me

x

Track List: Suspicious

1. Suspicious

2. Same Old Story

3. Garvey Story

4. Rasta Rise Again

5. Hi Li Hi Li Hi

6. African And Proud

7. Roots In Town

8. Guardian Angel

9. Wake Up Call

10. Family Man

11. Mad Cow

12. Road Rage

13. Same Old Story (Dougie Digital Remix)

14. Suspicious (Dougie Digital Remix)

x

Track List: Discrimination

1. Kiss Out Me Black

2. Kill You With Tax

3. Another Soldier

4. We Love Reggae

5. Discrimination

6. Support Them

7. To Be Racist

8. Give Me A Call

9. Hands Off

10. Give Birth Again

11. Taxing Dub

12. Racist Dub

13. Calling Dub

x

Track List: Hold On To Your Culture

1. Bob

2. Legalize The Herb

3. Beautiful Eyes

4. Greetings

5. Hold On To Your Culture

6. Give The Workers

7. Woman

8. Put Down The Gun

9. Tribute To Garnett Silk

10. Wailers Dub

11. Smoking Dub

12. Cultural Dub

x

Track List: Roots Ragga (Live)

1. Roots Ragga (Live)

2. Sex Machine (Live)

3. Don't Drink Too Much (Live)

4. Revelation Time (Live)

5. Big Mack (Live)

6. Devil Dance (Live)

7. Rodney King Medley (Live)

8. One Man One Vote (Live)

9. Unemployment Blues (Live)

10. Proud To Be Black (Live)

11. (Racists) Back Off (Live)

12. Buppie (Live)

13. Respect To Our Mothers (Live)

14. Apartheid (Live)

x

Track List: Peace Cup

1. Revelation Time

2. Peace Cup

3. Run Gone Man

4. Pinocchio

5. Roots Ragga

6. Pam Pam Cameron

7. D.J. Unity

8. Gone Home

9. Freeze

10. Slow Down Driver

x

Track List: Looks Are Deceiving

1. Looks Are Deceiving

2. Badder Than Jah

3. Proud To Be Black

4. Unemployment Blues

5. What's He Done?

6. Joker

7. Drink Too Much

x

Track List: Natural Suntan

1. Get Rid Of Maggie

2. Proud Of Mandela

3. Don't Beat Her

4. Don't Judge Me

5. Natural Suntan

6. Get Conscious

7. Blackman

8. Flush It

x

Track List: Sign Of The Times

1. Wet Look Crazy

2. Baked Beans & Egg

3. Invasion

4. Serve You Right

5. Dreadlocks

6. Baby I Love You

7. Plastic Bullets

x

Track List: Buppie Culture

1. Buppie Culture

2. Dread Ah Who She Love

3. Food Scandal

4. Respect Our Mothers

5. Coconut

6. We Love The Children

7. Hole In The Atmosphers

8. Human Rights

9. Who Are The Terrorists?

Comments

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