Massive Attack : Out Of The Comfort Zone

Melissa Chemam

Melissa Chemam

“Suddenly, Massive Attack are happening”, writes Miranda Sawyer in Q Magazine in March 1991. “A silver album! That ‘all-important’ critical acclaim! Even seminal world rockers U2 want to meet them!”… From the caves of Bristol’s underground and forbidden parties, the non-musicians will emerge worldwide in only a few months…

From 1989, the work that Massive Attack’s three core members have started take a more definite shape, and it becomes clear for Cameron McVey and Jonny Dollar that an album is on its way, and not an ordinary album. Produced without a definite plan in mind, their art, which creates after “cutting and pasting” from an extraordinary playlist of references, seems to work magically, just like 3D’s art of collage at the time…

Tricky and 3D write the raps featured in ‘Daydreaming’, where we see Tricky’s talent for “storytelling” rap: “Attitude is cool degrees below zero / Up against the wall behaving like De Niro / Tricky’s performing taking his phono”. He also mentions the social context a while later: “Yes Tricky kid I check my situation / Maggie this Maggie that Maggie means inflation”. And adds details on daily violence: “Wise guys get protection when they carry a knife / They shouldn’t have been born they’re making me yawn”, while 3D brings a more hopeful note: “We’re natives of the massive territory and we’re proud / Get peaceful in the dance, adapt the glory and the crowd / The problem ain’t a different kind of skin, Tricks / I love my neighbour I don’t wait for the Olympics”.

Tricky and 3D also work on lyrics for the songs ‘Blue Lines’ and ‘Five Man Army’, on which they’re joined by Daddy G, Willy Wee and Horace Andy. The reggae singer, born Horace Hinds, in Kingston, Jamaica, on the 19th of February 1951, is the third main guest vocalist on the album. Grant considers Horace as a legend and knows by heart his first album, Skylarking, released in 1972, after a first single in 1967, ‘This is a Black Man’s Country’, recorded at the young age of 16.

Type: Book

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