Blakk Wi Blak…K…K…


  1. You and Yourself
  2. Great Queens of Africa
  3. Dispel the Lie
  4. I Am de Man
  5. The People’s Court
  6. Mad Reality
  7. Letter to Congress (Is It Because Wi Blakk)
  8. Wind of Time
  9. Blakk Wi Blakk
  10. Ecology Poem
  11. Junk Food
  12. I Doh Ave a Color Problem

I have this only because of “Great Queens of Africa,” which I heard on a cool Saturday reggae program on the University of Washington’s KUOW radio station in the early 1990s. I liked the tone and the groove, although it was oddly antiseptically electronic given its subject matter and genesis, so I hunted down a copy of the CD years later when I could afford to build a musical library.

While I still do like that track, the rest of the album is to me the musical/sociological equivalent of an eyesore or one’s mad Uncle Max whom everyone tries to ignore just to be polite. “Great Queens of Africa” works because it’s musical, it has singing and a song structure, whereas the bulk of this album is Mutabaruka’s pontificating pronouncements of what are presumed to be undeniable facts. Preaching is heavy even when you’re on the same page as a preachy person, and as I’m not in his camp I leave the rest of the album alone—I’ve played it, many times, but my reaction is always the same: alienated by the Jamaican insularity, bored by the one-note tedium of the declamatory style, unmoved by the machine-generated instrumental basis, and quite uncomfortable with what seems to be a racist undertone at times.