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 By Howard Campbell—
 Junior Reid—

SINCE leaving Black Uhuru in 1985, Junior Reid had spent considerable time out of Jamaica and had not had a massive hit song in his homeland during that period. He broke that drought with One Blood.

The 1990 cry for unity among warring factions throughout the world has become his signature, winning him fans among a new generation of dancehall and hip hop diehards. One Blood has been sampled by hip hop acts like Wu Tang Clan and The Game, and is a rallying cry for ghetto youth in Jamaica.

“One Blood a reggae anthem, nuh matter wha’ nobody waan sey. Is like the song jus’ a release,” Reid, 52, said in a recent interview with the Sunday Observer.

He recalled being in England in late 1989 and observing the animosity between blacks and police in that country. Returning to Jamaica, he found hostility throughout innercity communities; Reid also read about bloody gang feuds in Los Angeles between the Bloods and the Crips.


At home, he said the situation was dire.

“There was a tension in Jamaica, the streets was like a ghost town,” Reid remembered.

The universal friction inspired him to write One Blood, which was recorded at his studio and producer Gussie Clarke’s Anchor complex. Backing him were keyboardist Tony ‘Asher’ Brissett, saxophonist Dean Fraser, bass player Chris Meredith, drummer Cleveland Browne and guitarist Dalton Browne.

Reid said he was pleased with the song but did not know how big a hit it would be.

“Nobody nuh know when a song a go hit. Some song wha’ man think a go hit flop…the music ting unpredictable.”

Reid credits the sound systems for breaking One Blood, which quickly became an anthem in the dancehall. In terms of popularity, it surpassed Original Foreign Mind and Fit Yuh Haffe Fit (which he did with Black Uhuru) as his biggest hit in Jamaica.

Junior Reid

Junior Reid

Its distinctive hook has been used by the Wu Tang Clan (One Blood Under W) and The Game for his smash 2006 hit It’s Okay.

The album of the same name, also released in 1990, is arguably Reid’s finest. It included the song Married Life, a cover of The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby, and Sound.

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