Mykal Rose still gives Glory to Jah

by Feb 20, 2022News

It’s been over 50 years since Mykal Rose discovered Rastafari in Waterhouse, a tough community in Kingston, Jamaica that rivals Trench Town as reggae’s greatest hit factory.

Rose, the voice that made Black Uhuru a Grammy-winning force, is still giving Glory to Jah. That’s the name of his song that topped the Foundation Radio Network Top 30 Chart last week. That long-running chart covers the competitive New York reggae scene. According to Rose, Glory to Jah shows his determination to be current while staying true to his roots.

MYKAL ROSE STILL GIVES GLORY TO JAH

“What makes Mykal Rose fresh and relevant after all these years, yuh have to have that persistence… hard work. Listening to all types of music – reggae, hip hop, R&B, Afrobeats. Yuh have to watch di charts and see what’s happening,” he said.

Glory To Jah is produced by Big Feet Records, an independent company out of Northern California. In recent years, the 64-year-old Rose has recorded for a number of producers in the United States, Jamaica, and Europe, but insists jumping on every hot ‘riddim’ to get a hit song is not part of his policy.

Most fans identify him with the Black Uhuru songs, but he has had his share of solo success.
Shoot Out, a collaboration with Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, produced by Lloyd “John John” James (son of King Jammy) was a big hit in 2008. Last Chance was number one on London reggae charts in 2021.

Rose has also collaborated with Panamanian artiste Joey Montana and Blue Fire from Trinidad and Tobago. No matter the sound, the objective is always the same.

“Wi try to keep that cultural effort, look out for good reasoning and hope people relate to di music that wi have to show dem an’ what wi offer to dem,” Rose reasoned. “Wi careful with what wi present to the people.”

As Michael Rose, his career started in the mid-1970s doing songs for producers like Winston “Niney” Holness, but it was not until he became a member of Black Uhuru alongside founder and fellow Waterhouse resident Duckie Simpson and American Puma Jones, that his stocks soared.

Rose’s roots-soaked delivery on songs like the Sly and Robbie-produced Shine Eye Gal, Abortion, General Penitentiary, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner made the trio one of the biggest reggae acts of the 1980s.

Fitzroy Francis, another Waterhouse stalwart, toured with Black Uhuru as road manager during the 1990s. He is now a consultant with Big Feet Records.

Francis remembers the pride throughout his community in the ’80s when Black Uhuru and other Waterhouse acts like The Wailing Souls, Junior Reid, and Don Carlos put that neighbourhood on the map.

“For youth like me, seeing the International success of Black Uhuru and Mykal Rose was very impactful, especially experiencing the traumatic political division which led to mass destruction and migration in the community. Their success restored hope and solidarity among us and the surrounding areas,” he said.

Rose left Black Uhuru in 1985, shortly after their album Anthem won the first Grammy Award for what was then Best Reggae Recording. Although he has done shows with Simpson periodically, he performs solo mainly in Europe and the US.

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