Here’s a rare live Black Uhuru performance. Not dated, but appears to be sometime in the early 80’s, probably near the release of Sinsemilla. That album is one of Black Uhuru’s finest and an absolute must-have for Reggae fans. Or, really, just an across-the-board classic beyond the confines of genre. Reggae often gets shafted as some kind of ‘special interest’ music, either targeted to stoners or lost under the broad ‘world music’ umbrella. I’ve always tried to promote Reggae for its political relevance, rather than its better known fun side, and Black Uhuru has always been my prime example. Their music is undeniably fun, but the social consciousness of their writing is their real strength. What do they want you to push til you push it over? The racist slave-economy capitalist system of oppression, of course, though they wouldn’t phrase it quite that dry.
Can anyone hazard a guess what this one is about? Black Uhuru have lot of songs of great political and social import, but this isn’t one of them. Sometimes you just have to celebrate the basic stuff, I guess, and if there’s one thing everybody likes about Rasta culture, well, you guessed it.
“Peace and love in the north, peace and love in the south, peace and love in the east, peace and love in the universe”
Please? Even if you’re suffering from idealism exhaustion, even if you’ve dismissed the concept of peace (world or local) as a childish pipe dream, you might still feel a little lifted up. Black Uhuru does that. It’s music for positive mobilization. Remember that peace is not an abstract concept; it’s built on simple things like freedom, justice and equality. So motivate yourself to fight for those things, piece by piece.
It sounds like a reggae party next door is pretty cool happenings even if you’re not invited to it. I mean, if I had Rasta neighbors who threw parties all night, I’d be pretty okay with it. And if you’re throwing your own reggae party, this is your jam, because Black Uhuru is the best party music. When it comes to classic reggae, they are among the very greatest, and about due for a revival, I think.
Here’s something we haven’t enjoyed in a while. Black Uhuru never gets old. Throughout the 80’s they really carried the torch for socially conscious reggae music, writing songs about everything from broad issues of social inequality to news items of the day, like the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela and the American crack epidemic. But they also knew the value of a simple mellow jam, and didn’t forget the love songs either. And getting high, of course. Hence the album Sinsemilla. Truly a classic if its time, for some reason not celebrated as it deserves to be.
Nothing better in the world than some good reggae. Of course, reggae is a great groove to relax and feel good; therein its worldwide popularity. But the best reggae is also thought provoking. Black Uhuru has always been one of the best reggae bands, both musically and lyrically. Their classic 1982 album Chill Out is a great place to start, for anyone whose reggae experience begins and ends with Legend. Seriously, though, if your working knowledge of reggae music begins and ends with Bob Marley’s Legend, I feel sorry for you and hope you can remedy yourself as soon as possible.
See, hating Mondays was a think long before Garfield hammered the joke into the ground. Why would Michael Rose, a reggae artist who presumably doesn’t have a day job, hate Mondays? Well, I guess he’s saying something about the neverending existential grind that’s far deeper than just clocking in on Monday morning. You don’t have to be an office drone to experience life as a cycle that resets itself every handful of days, and you learn to dread the day that you have to start it all over again.