Us3 feat. Tukka Yoot – Tukka Yoot’s Riddim

Release Date: July 93

Chart Position: 34

After a fairly extensive google search earlier in the week this little gem didn’t produce many results apart from some organic yucca plant recipes. I must admit that I don’t remember this one but was pleasantly surprised.
This song has a lot of the essentials that I need to start a good head bobbing sesh. Good solid rapping with island tones albeit London island tones. Isle of Dogs perhaps. There is consistent and smooth delivery from young Tukka. The jazzy background actually works for me, nice use of the sax and I think I can detect some jazz flute in there which compliments the mature, sophisticated nature of the song. Not awful but certainly not Jimmy Cliff.
Score: Put me down for 6.5/10 because I listened to this 10 times tonight, didn’t get bored and quite liked singing RIDDIM! whatever that means….

No, it’s not a new Jerk variation of Levi Roots ground breaking Reggae Reggae sauce. It’s that wonderful place where Jazz meets Reggae, a place that I never really knew existed and I don’t recall the song first time around, I wish I had as I think my life would have been better. This is a cracking tune with sexy sax action throughout coupled with beautiful toasting and boasting. As for the video and the club it is all set in, it’s basically what we all thought, and told our mates, the Jazzmine/Boardwalk/Vamps was like. A tidy little hangout where cool people chilled out and talked about cool stuff until the early hours, pretty girls and boys getting fresh with each other as they listened to groundbreaking soulful music. In reality it was a skank-den with holes in the ceiling, an inch thick of nobody knows what on the floor that stuck to your nice new white trainers like Araldite and people occasionally going to the toilet stood at the bar (but it was our skankhole though and they can never take that from us).
Score: Yep a great little tune this week and a pleasant surprise 8.5/10 from me.

I’ve got to say from the off I’ve a bit of a problem with this one, the main one being they’d released this earlier in their career, it’s exactly the same song but with a rapper. Don’t get me wrong, I can picture the scene, sitting in the studio, the air thick with the aroma of jazz funk cigarette and the record label calls. ‘Guys, neggae is going defcon 1, we need to hit this bandwagon with a Lilt fuelled cruise missile of sunshine *snort*’. Naturally the US3 boys are a tad miffed, so come up with the genius idea of playing the instrumental of an old song and get Tukka Yoot to chat shit over the top. To be fair it worked to a degree with this song reaching the dizzy heights of 34. I’m not really sure what to say about this song, it’s production is in no way neggae as evidenced by this, Tukka Yoot isn’t offensive but he’s up against it as he’s literally the only original thing on the record. This is just a shameless attempt to cash in on the seminal cultural movement of the last 50 years. They went on to produce better releases, mainly the sperm that created JLS.
Score: Shameless dirty cash in – 1/10

Upon hearing Us3’s Tukka Yoot’s Riddim I immediately thought, hang on a minute… this sounds like the tune off of the old pizza hut advert? Upon looking it up I realised that this Cantaloupe, another effort from US3. Its not a bad little number, I do not however see it as a foray into Neggae, more a fusion if you will by a Reggae influenced artist a band used to churning out Acid jazzzz. Great!
I think Tukka Yoot was introduced to US3 give this a roots feel. Maybe to jump on a bandwagon, maybe to seek new direction, I don’t know. I do know that if that was the intention then they have certainly failed. Its not a great vocal performance. It almost seems like the musical arrangement was finalized long before the vocal. US3 churned out Cantaloupe #2, wanted a different angle and thought they’d ring up Tukka and get him to knock something up to go over the top. Its not so much a meeting of the minds, more an attempt to finish off a tune that needed a little something extra. So Tukka, Zammo and Roland put their heads together and came up with “Wa da da dem da da dey” Terrific. May as well have sung “Do Wah diddy diddy dum diddy do”, you’d get the same desired effect. Personally I think if take Tukka out of the equation its a better tune all round. It is what it is, a long droning repetitive David Holmes style jazz track. Some nice beats, good horns, nice sax and the odd jazz guitar lick. A nice change of break at the end but this is elevator music. Then again, take the Grange Hill contingent out of the equation  and we would have no need to be reviewing US3. There’s no island feel to this, no out and out sunshine trumpets and off beat piano. Take the video, leather jackets have no place in Neggae. Neither does the Cuban look sported by the white guys in US3. It feels like something your more likely to hear in a smokey parisian cafe. New wave beatniks sitting emotionless, occasionally sucking on a Gauloises Blondes in approval. Tapping just one , never both of their very long winkle pickers every 16th beat.
If I had to mark this as a piece of music I may go slightly higher. Being a Neggae chart however, I don’t feel this one deserves to rank itself amongst the greats.
Score: More Grange Hill than Blue Mountain. 5 out of 10.

First things first, I incorrectly labelled the toaster on this record as Yukka Toot on the Neggae Hot 90, which I think caused Chris ‘Norm’ Lamont some difficulty in research. So sorry about that. Interestingly though, searching on google for said text string and from results 110 onwards you’ll see people will try to snort any type of plant grindable. But I digress…
On to the tune, and it’s obviously REALLY an Acid Jazz/Jazz-Hip-hop affair which I absolutely love. This really was a time when pop and dance music were generally quite sophisticated areas. Sampling Blue Note records and playing on Top of the Pops went hand in hand. OK, so you can clearly see the staple lines where US3 have merged Neggae and their own Jazz-hop stylings. And you could argue that the inclusion of Tukka Yoot is a shameless attempt to pocket some shillings by jumping on the Neggae bandwagon. However, I think it’s done with enough elan that they get away with it. The horns in the original Sookie sample have a Jamaican simplicity to them; they’re hardly Glen Miller material. And although Tukka’s toasting is effectively a rehash of on a Ragga Tip. it’s still miles better than anything Shabba knocked out.
Finally, I don’t know what to make of this whole Us3-are-JLS’-Dads myth. The Youtube clip above is literally the only reference on the interweb linking the two. Need to get Jessica Fletcher on the case.
I’d happily play this record out next time I DJ. In fact, when we have the Neggae wrap party in 70 weeks time, I reckon this will blow up.
Score: 7/10



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s