Yellowman, Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt

Jess Harvell

By Jess Harvell

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Nobody Move Nobody Get Hurt


Nobody Move is the last classic Yellowman album before he relinquished his crown as king of the dancehall. Released in 1984 on the eve of the digital revolution, the rhythms are far closer to roots reggae's lope than modern ragga's bionic gyrations. The Roots Radics lay down floor-liquefying grooves like "Hill and Gully Rider" over which Yellow unrolls endless boasts of sexual prowess, authority flaunting bravado, and nonsense sounds. Like the oldest old school rap, pre-digital dancehall with its "biddly biddly-bong" flows can sound pretty dated to modern ears, a far cry from Elephant Man's high-voltage spitting or Vybz Kartel's sly conversational style. But Yellowman is often as droning and hypnotic as his rhythms, and when he locks with the groove (and he's on more often than not), you understand how he could hold a ganja-fied crowd in the palm of his hand. The title track quotes Toots and the Maytals 'immortal "54-46 Was My Number" before flashing the BMW that was a present from his producer Henry "Junjo" Lawes. And on "Body Move," he exhorts the crowd to "roll your belly like you roll dumpling," practically inventing the sexy/scary abdomen flex still seen on Jamaican dance floors.