IN the early 1990s Yasus Afari was part of a Rastafarian movement that helped transform the bawdy themes of dancehall music to consciousness. With that dancehall genre once again being scrutinised for questionable content the veteran poet says his latest album is the perfect purge.
Golden Spoon Maroon was released in November through VPAL Music. The 10-song set hears Yasus collaborating with fellow 'elders' like Beres Hammond and Ini Kamoze.
"Recently I had an encounter with [deejay] Lisa Hyper where she asked for guidance and teachings, which indicates that we are at a historic parallel with the early 1990s when we led the Christian Souljahs in a cultural transformation. This album positions us to reset, renew and recalibrate the music, cultural posture and psychological mindset of Jamaica and reggae music," he told the Jamaica Observer.
What A Sinting is the name of his song with Ini Kamoze while Mama Africa we Love You was done with Hammond. Yasus said both artistes are long-time friends, which made it easy approaching them to contribute to Golden Spoon Maroon.
His daughter and fellow poet Mik is featured on the songs Plain and Simple and No Violation Dub.
In the 1990s cutting edge dub poet Mutabrauka worked with stars such as Kamoze, Dennis Brown and Freddie McGregor. This move helped make his songs like Great Kings of Africa radio favourites.
Yasus described working with Ini Kamoze and Hammond as "natural and organic".
He added that it was, "more like divine ordinance. You see, there's mutual respect and honour. Plus, Beres is a lover of poetry, and since it was the legendary producer Black Beard's idea, it happened naturally. Ini Kamoze is a great admirer of my works and he is a poet himself. He produced the track and added his verses, then bingo!" exclaimed Yasus.
Golden Spoon Maroon is Yasus Afari's seventh album. His previous collection, Public Secret, was released nine years ago.
The St Elizabeth-born artiste was part of the Christian Souljahs movement which emerged from that parish, Manchester and Clarendon in the late 1980s. Along with Tony Rebel, Garnet Silk and Kulcha Knox, his thoughtful writing helped change the tone of dancehall music from so-called slackness to a cultural awareness reminiscent of the 1970s.