Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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  • Looks Are Deceiving [Ariwa, 1990] A-
  • We've Had Enough [Ariwa, 1990] Choice Cuts
  • Buppie Culture [Ariwa, 1990] B+
  • Natural Suntan [Ariwa, 1990] A-
  • Peace Cup [Ariwa, 1991] Dud
  • Jamaica. No Problem? [Ariwa, 1992] Neither
  • Roots Ragga [Ariwa, 1993] Neither
  • Discrimination [Ariwa, 1995] Choice Cuts

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Looks Are Deceiving [Ariwa, 1990]
Seven songs instead of eight or nine, with room for dub codas that wore thinner for me than they will for the dancehall-friendly. But the songs themselves don't quit--the disses drop science, "Unemployment Blues" gets down to business, "Proud To Be Black" sticks to the proud facts of that overburdened theme. And "Drink Too Much" fulfills the wondrous promise of its brief, eloquent spoken intro: "Now you have some people feel dem idea of a good night out is to go to the pub, drink 15 pints of lager, and then vomit." A-

We've Had Enough [Ariwa, 1990]
"False Preacher" Choice Cuts

Buppie Culture [Ariwa, 1990]
Rapid rhymes, crisp enunciation, common-sense politics, and pop-weird dub give this English toaster the most auspicious U.S. debut of 1990--a best-of from all his just-U.S. released albums could be a meliorist Fear of a Black Planet or a socially responsible Mama Said Knock You Out. High points here include "Coconut"'s African Methodist accent and a climactic third-world threefer. But the title tune isn't what it could have been. And though I bet the man could write a passable lyric called "We Love the Children," he didn't. B+

Natural Suntan [Ariwa, 1990]
He's too big to talk revenge, not unlike his hero Nelson Mandela--even when he's boosting melanin, he thinks it's a shame his oppressors turn the color of watermelon out in the sun. There are a lot of rhymes here because he has a lot to say, and just in case you think the truth is always neat, a lot of the rhymes are charged with dissonant synth splats. The motormouth insults of "Get Rid of Maggie" are fit company for "Stand Down Margaret" or "Madame Medusa" or "Tramp the Dirt Down." When the nearest thing to a low point is a sweet Mandela tribute that steals a chorus from Curtis Mayfield, you're up there. A-

Peace Cup [Ariwa, 1991] Dud

Jamaica. No Problem? [Ariwa, 1992] Neither

Roots Ragga [Ariwa, 1993] Neither

Discrimination [Ariwa, 1995]
"To Be Racist" Choice Cuts