Zungguzungguguzungguzeng, King Yellow Man

Winston Foster born 1956 better known by the stage name YELLOW MAN, is a Jamaican reggae and dancehall deejay, also known as King Yellowman. He was popular in Jamaica in the 1980s, coming to prominence with a series of singles that established his reputation.

Winston Foster was abandoned by his parents and grew up in the Maxfield Children’s Home and the Catholic orphanage Alpha Boys School in Kingston, and was shunned due to having albinism, which was not typically socially accepted in Jamaica. Alpha Boys School was known for its musical alumni.

In the late 1970s Yellowman first gained wide attention when he finished second (to Nadine Sutherland) in the 1978 Tastee Talent Contest. Like many Jamaican deejays, he honed his talents by frequently performing at outdoor sound-system dances, prominently with Aces International.

He had success as a recording artist, working with producer Henry “Junjo” Lawes. In 1981, after becoming significantly popular throughout Jamaica, Yellowman became the first dancehall artist to be signed to a major American label (Columbia Records).

His first album release was in 1982 entitled Mister Yellowman followed by Zungguzungguguzungguzeng in 1983 earning instant success.

Yellowman’s sexually explicit lyrics in popular songs such as “Mad Over Me” boasted of his sexual prowess, like those of other reggae singers/deejays, earned Yellowman criticism in the mid-1980s.

Yellowman proclaimed, “I never know why they call it slackness. I talk about sex, but it’s just what happens behind closed doors. What I talk is reality.

Yellowman continues to perform internationally with his Sagittarius Band, and has toured through places such as Nigeria where he retains a following of fans, as well as Spain, Peru, Sweden, Italy, Germany, Britain, France, Kenya, the United States and Canada.

Foster’s daughter Kareema followed him into a career in music.

In 1982, Yellowman was diagnosed with skin cancer. After several surgeries, Yellowman was able to continue his career. The cancer went into apparent remission during this time. In 1986 it was diagnosed that the cancer had spread to his jaw; Yellowman underwent very invasive jaw surgery to remove a malignant tumor. This surgery permanently disfigured Yellowman’s face, as a large portion of the left side of his lower jaw had to be removed to successfully remove the tumor.

“Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” was remade by Beenie Man and released on July 3, 2020. Yellowman said of the release, “I wish somebody else did do Zungguzungguguzungguzeng, maybe Shaggy or Sean Paul….Me nuh even hear it.”

The vocal melody of “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” has also been sampled heavily in various reggae and hip hop songs.

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