Luv Dub Fever
Malachi Smith was one of the founders of Poets in Unity, a dub poetry group formed in 1979 at the Jamaica School of Drama. He was the group's most compelling presenter (and, as a policeman/peacemaker writing poems, the most newsworthy). Migrating to Miami in 1987, he has continued being both a policeman and a dub poet, earning the 2003 International Dub Poet of the Year Award in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and in 2007 a Master's degree in Criminology from Florida International University. "I can never be silent when I see injustice," he has said. "We are all part of the system." Social justice and black self-realization are predominant concerns on his earlier CDs, Throw Two Punch (1998) and Middle Passage (2003). Love Dub Fever has a different emphasis: it is focused mainly on love and sex, as projected by a confident man. "She walked into my dream / Stripping de clothes from my iyes..." Lyrics! Many of the pieces praise the beauty and sexual prowess of black women and proclaim a male persona ready to meet the challenge. "Five times for one night / And every drop of de hammer was right." The woman is a Nubian princess, or a Sheba, or Cleopatra. "She sugar up mi coffee / She sugar up mi tea / Har honey and spice / Ah trickle all over me." The man-"Mister lover man"-is usually a Casanova, a freelance expert willing to assist. "When de luv is not enuff / I have an extension / Jus reach out / An is instant gratification..." One piece, however, warns against the lying seducer, "Mout sweet like sugar full ah samfie", and another acknowledges that a woman also might deceive (pretending, for instance, that she has no husband). "Jezebel, Delilah, why did you / Why did you lie to me?" If a poem seems briefly to assert a man's commitment to family-"my queen and two prince"-it very soon notes "there are times when home life gets you down / Soh yuh tek to de street / And rock to de beat / Yuh tek chance / An thief likkle romance..." On the other hand "Driver" respectfully acknowledges a mother's burden, "dawters and sons / whole heap a dem / generations top of generations / dem heavy..." Malachi's performance is strong and subtle. His speaking voice-his chanting on most tracks-plays comfortably against the various music rhythms and the discreetly enhancing background singers. This is his best CD. - Mervyn Morris March 2008.