Michael Prophet has got one
of the most distinctive and beautiful voices known in the whole
reggae world. He was born in 1957 and grew up in the western
Kingston ghetto of Greenwich Farm. He began his recording career
in 1977 when he was discovered by the legendary producer Vivian
Jackson, better known as Yabby You. Yabby You took Michael to
Channel One where he voiced his debut song "Praise You Jah Jah".
Michael recorded many tunes for Yabby You and scored his first
hit with a cover version of the Heptones' "Fight It To The Top".
However, it was the deeper, more rootsy material that began to
hit with an international reggae audience. Cuts like "Gates Of
Zion", "Mash Down Rome", "Turn Me Loose", "Warn Them Jah" and
"Creation Rock" were massive sound system tunes in the UK and
staple food for the likes of Jah Shaka, Quaker City, Sir Coxsone,
Fatman and Moa Ambessa - the ruling UK sounds of the era. "Turn
Me Loose" was even featured in the classic movie "Babylon".
Island Records released Michael's debut album "Serious
Reasoning" in 1980 and this set remains a reggae classic, with
its heavyweight backing was provided by The Gladiators band and
his unique wailing vocals singing songs with mystical vibes.
Yabby You was to release a second album called "Know The Right",
a good set but less striking than its predecessor. However, it
was still a big seller in the reggae marketplace. Freedom Sounds
released a mighty 45, "Poverty", that saw Michael ride Rod
Taylor's "Ethiopian Kings" rhythm and this was another hit.
Michael then left Yabby You to strike up a successful musical
partnership with new don of reggae, the dancehall producer Henry
"Junjo" Lawes, and this was to prove a momentous move. Lawes had
just signed a big deal with Greensleeves Records and his new
reggae sound of matching the heavy rhythms of the Roots Radics
band with a new generation of reggae vocalists, plus the
incredible mixing talents of Scientist, was taking the world by
storm. Prophet started moving with the Volcano sound system and
recording heavily for Junjo. The first collaboration album
"Righteous Are The Conqueror" was a big success, and this was
swiftly followed by the even more successful "Michael Prophet"
album. This set contained Michael's biggest smash to date, the
tune "Gunman", written in response to the violent Jamaican
elections of 1980. Sound systems to this day use this tune as
one of their most potent weapons in a sound clash. A dub album
of most of the "Michael Prophet" set also appeared called
"Scientist Rids The World Of The Evil Curse Of The Vampires", an
album rated as one of the most electrifying dub collections
After recording these two albums with Lawes, Michael began to
freelance and record tunes for many different producers. He
recorded the "Blood Stain" album for Satta Blue (Ashanties), a
self-production "Love Is An Earthy Thing" (CSA), and the "Jah
Love", "Cease Fire" and the "Settle You Fi Settle" albums for
Delroy Wright's Live And Learn imprint. A large number of 45s
were recorded for producers like Prince Jammy, Winston Riley,
Niney, Skengdon and Tuff Gong and these all helped to maintain
Michael's presence in the very forefront of reggae throughout
Michael moved to London in 1988 and the hits just kept coming.
He began working for the Brixton based Passion label and the
tune "Your Love" (with Sir Coxsone DJ Ricky Tuffy) was an
enormous number 1 hit. Other cuts like "Body Fusion" and "Cry Me
A River" all hit the UK reggae top ten. The follow-up album "Get
Ready", in collaboration with Ricky Tuffy ruled the charts
throughout 1991. Michael then went back to producing himself and
had success with two 90s albums, "Bull Talk" (Greensleeves) and
"Magnet To Steel" (Jet Star).
Throughout the 1990s, Michael recorded for a number of different
UK producers like Gussie P, One Love and Lloydie Crucial, and
the album "Rootsman" was recorded with the Mad Professor in
1999. He continues to tour the world frequently and he commands
massive respect from both the roots and dancehall crowds within
Rootsman first met Michael Prophet in 1992 and they hooked up to
record a number of dubplates in 2001. These tunes have rocked
every single Rootsman dance since then. Finally, in January 2003
Rootsman got the opportunity to produce Michael in his Third Eye
Studio. Two deep songs "Praises" and "Cry Of A Family" were
voiced and will see release on Third Eye Music in the future.
The tracks were deeply emotional performances as Michael
travelled 200 miles from London for the session after being
badly beaten by the police just 3 days earlier. Despite being
cut, bruised and in considerable pain, Michael's voice and vibes
were intact as he delivered two more tracks that will be added
to his other numerous classics in his repertoire.
The Music Of Michael Prophet -