Joseph Hill, the charismatic lead singer of Culture, entered the music business in the mid-'70s as resident percussionist at Jamaica's renowned Studio One. There, he sang on a couple of tunes before forming Culture with his cousin, Albert Walker, and Ken Days. The trio's gutsy roots-reggae rhythms and dissonant country-styled harmonies set against Hill's raspy, chant-like vocals immediately caused some to dismiss the group as a Burning Spear imitator. But by decade's end, only the deaf could ignore the fact that Culture had recorded some of the island's most brilliant music.
Of its early hits, Culture is best remembered for the stunning "Two Sevens Clash." It was an apocalyptic admonishment, expressed with such conviction that on the seventh day of July (the seventh month) 1977, when the sevens fully clashed, Jamaican residents were engulfed in panic, and the streets of Kingston were shut down. Culture's self-titled debut, a classic of the genre, found its way onto every critic's must-hear list and brought the group international acclaim. Countless hits followed. Some 20 albums later, Culture's output remains among reggae's most consistent. Humble African, which contained the single "Revolution," was one of the best records of 2001 and proves that Hill has lost none of his youthful vigor.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.