Anthony B. (born Keith Blair) is the living personification of Afrikan consciousness in Reggae. His single "Nah vote again" was a major factor in making the Jamaican elections of Thursday, 18 december 1997, the most peaceful one since the insidious cancer of gun violence was introduced in West and Central Kingston, prior to the elections of 1967. Like his hero, Peter Tosh, the most revolutionary of the Wailing Wailers, he is an uncompromising Pan Afrikanist, in the tradition of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jamaica's first national hero and the founder and leader of the largest Afrikan organisation ever, the Universal Negro Improvement Association and Afrikan Communities League, U.N.I.A. and A.C.L.
The traditional route of most Afrikan singers is via the church and Anthony B. is no exception. Growing up in Clarks Town in the parish of Trelawny (a parish noted for the heroic Afrikan freedom fighters, the Maroons, who defeated the English military), his Revivalist grandmother and Seventh Day Adventist mother, immersed him in the singing, call and response and clapping mechanics of rural Jamaica. In this rural environment that Afrikan culture is best found and preserved in Jamaica, not Kington nor urban St. Andrew. Like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, The Maytals, Justin Hinds & The Dominoes, Twinkle Brothers, the Clarendonians and countless other Jamaican Stars, Anthony B. honed his vocal skills in the church and school choirs and then entered the secular world. His deejaying debut was on the local sound system Shaggy Hi-Power. Moving to Portmore in the parish of St. Catharine in 1988, the musically keen teen hooked up with other aspiring teenage deejays, Determine, Mega Banton, Ricky General and Teror Fabulous on Lovers Choice Sound. Other Portmore acts that he knew or flexed with were Little Devon, Agony Polish, Cobra, Baby Wayne, Grindsman, Ronnie Thwaites, Professor Nuts and others. He steadfastly refused to deejay girl lyrics when they were ruling the roost in the early nineties.
Patience is a virtue and good things come to those who wait. In combination with Little Devon (the Half Pint sound-a-like singer) he made his debut single "The living is hard" on the Wizard label in 1993. Anthony B. tried King Jammys, Black Scorpio and other studio producers after but none saw fit to help plant musical corn of the budding genius. Undeterred he was looking for a break at Black Scorpio studio one day when Little Devon introduced him to Afrocentric producer of Garnett "Mama Africa" Silk fame, Richard "Bello" Bell of Star Trail Label fame. The rest is history or blackstory !

Recordings and releases followed quickly and his first hit was "Repentance time". The bigger hits "Fire pon Rome", "Rumour" and "Raid di barn" followed in quick pursuit and his landmark debut album "Real Revolutionary" was released to popular acclaim in 1996. Late 1997 his second worldwide album "Universal Struggle" was released and again excellence is consistent. The album is one of the best in Reggae for 1997 and 1998. Lyrically, thematically and rhythmically versatile, the album encapsulates Afrikan consciousness and the Peter Tosk-like deliveries and clarity of vocals are indelibly present throughout.

He was the most devastating deejay at Reggae Sumfest 1997, at Catherine Hall in Montego Bay, Jamaica - a consummate performer. Anthony B., indeed another Reggae king in full musical swing !! Y father use to make it up as a drink in Jamaica.

Source: "Jet Star Reggae News", Issue 4. (Jan. 1998) Writer: Mandigo



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