Don't Check Me With No Lightweight Stuff (1972–75)

  • Blood and Fire

Fast-talking Jamaican DJs are often cited as the ancestors of rap, and these long-unavailable sides deliver the proof better than any others. Unlike his more spaced-out peers who patter over instrumentals, I-Roy's tone is piercing, his rhythms alert and his comments and boasts both caustic and humane. Even seasoned reggae fans should delight in the sensually aggressive rhythms I-Roy selects as backdrops, which are suitable for both dancing and meditation. Whether he's commanding “Don't Get Weary Joe Frazier” or sending a warning “Straight to the Heathen Head,” this collection presents the most modern proto-rapper at his early peak.

— Milo Miles