Macka B is a British-born reggae artist, performer and activist with a career spanning thirty years in the United Kingdom and Jamaica. According to AllMusic.com “Macka B was one of Britain’s most influential dancehall toasters. As a practising Rastafarian, Macka B’s music is based around the political and spiritual message of the religion, with an often light and humorous touch. Working with the Mad Professor, he combined dancehall and dub styles of reggae, although has avoided a more commercial crossover approach. He takes his name from the Judean rebels against the Romans, the Maccabees. He was born Christopher MacFarlane, in Wolverhampton.
As a child Macka B was first impressed by the reggae of the Lord Barley sound-system playing at a blues party next to his parents’ house, but also played violin and sang in the choir at school. He went on to take a technical apprenticeship at the Ever Ready factory. When the factory closed and he was laid off, he began to devote more time to practising his toasting skills, influenced by earlier Jamaican toasters U-Roy, I-Roy, Big Youth, and especially Prince Far I.
Soon Macka B formed the Exodus sound system with friends and became a Rastafarian. His 1982 trip to Jamaica galvanised his commitment to toasting and the following year he won a DJ-ing competition. After this Macka B began to feature on the radio as well as perform with local band Pre-Wax, who had a hit with “Maggie’s Letter”. But it was while performing for the Wassifa sound-system that a tape of a sound-system battle between Wassifa and Saxon Studio International which ended up with Fashion Records in London. The record label gave Macka B the opportunity to record his first solo single, “Bible Reader”, which was released in 1985.
Macka B’s first album, Sign of the Times, was released in 1986 on the Mad Professor’s Ariwa label. The album was well received and reached the top of the UK reggae album charts. His next few albums were similarly acclaimed: We’ve Had Enough (1987), Looks Are Deceiving (1988). In 1988 Macka B visited Jamaica, where he worked with producer Black Scorpio on the tracks “Love It in Jamaica” and “Slow Down Driver”.
Buppie Culture in 1989 produced the hit “Dread a Who She Love”, a duet with female singer Kofi. Likewise, “Proud of Mandela” from Natural Suntan (1990) produced another reggae singles chart topper.
Macka B won British Best Male DJ awards in 1991 and 1992. His 1993 record, Roots Ragga was a live album. Here Comes Trouble (1994) produced the international hit “Squeeze Me”. “Road Rage” from the Suspicious album was popular on Australian youth radio station Triple J in 1998/9. Roots & Culture (1999) mixed Macka B’s hits with previously unreleased material. In 2004 he signed to the Jet Star label (Charm) label.
He also become the first Reggae artist to tour the former Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia).
He has toured and performed around the world since the 1980s alone and with other reggae stars such as Burning Spear, U-Roy, The Wailers, Lee Perry and many others.
Macka B follows the Rastafarian Ital diet, and is also a vegan.