King Yellowman gained wide popularity in the dancehall reggae scene of the 1980s. A series of successful singles, including "I'm Getting Married in the Morning," "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt" and "Zungu Zungu Zeng" brought him worldwide acclaim. Although he used strong political language in his early songs, Yellowman often brought a salacious, controversial element to his lyrics. This overtly sexual type of wordplay became known in the reggae music world as "slackness."
Born Winston Foster in Kingston, Jamaica on January 15, 1956, King Yellowman was abandoned by his parents. He grew up at the Maxfield Park Children's Home and the Alpha Boy's Home, both in Kingston, and then lived at a home at St. Mary, a parish in the northeast section of Jamaica. Others ridiculed him because of his albinism, a genetic defect that causes an absence of the pigment melanin in the eyes, skin and hair. The condition carries a strong social stigma in Jamaica and Yellowman's distinctive white skin made him stand out and become an object of scorn.
In his early 20s, Yellowman won Jamaica's well-known Tastee Talent Contest, gaining national recognition. In the early 1980s, a string of hit singles, including "Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt," "Operation Eradication" and "Mad Over Me," bolstered his profile further.
As Yellowman gained more notoriety, he was able to capitalize on a shift happening in Jamaican music. His success fueled a transition from mainstream reggae to the dancehall music that was increasingly played in Jamaican nightclubs. In addition to the political references in his music, he became known for his overtly sexual lyrics, which became known in the reggae music world as "slackness." Such graphic sexuality, together with references to casual violence and homophobia, brought him early popularity but also a growing number of detractors.