UNSUNG: Tappa Zukie
In commemoration of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence from Britain, the Jamaica Observer’s Entertainment section recognises 50 persons who made significant, yet unheralded, contributions to the country’s culture. This week we feature deejay/ producer Tappa Zukie.
IN the summer of 1976, deejay Tappa Zukie was introduced to the Jamaican mainstream by Oh Lord, a monster song that became his first number one in Jamaica.
Though he was only 21 years old, Zukie (or David Sinclair) had been around the music scene for some time.
A protégé of producer Bunny Lee, he had lived in England as a teenager, where he recorded for several underground producers.
Working with Lee and using his British connections, Tappa Zukie returned to Jamaica and recorded the MPLA album at the Channel One studio in the mid-1970s.
That militant album gave him a following in England and was eventually distributed by Virgin Records. Among his new admirers was the American punk singer Patti Smith, who used him as opening act for her 1977 British tour.
Over the years, Tappa Zukie also established himself as a producer, compiling an impressive roots catalogue that includes albums and songs by Sugar Minott, Prince Alla and Max Romeo.
Some of his best known hits as a producer include Natty Dread a Wey She Want (Horace Andy), One Man Against the World (Gregory Isaacs), Putting up Resistance (Beres Hammond) and Dennis Brown's Death Before Dishonour.