The Sweetest Taboo

Tuning Into The Sweetest Taboo by Sade Adu

Sade Adu continues to leave listeners in awe of her music. From the release of her debut single in 1985, a jazzy song about a player aptly titled, “Smooth Operator” to “The Moon and the Sky” 2011 remix featuring Jay-Z, who insinuates that he is the father, Sade’s interesting songs with poignant lyrics puts this artist at the top of many all-time favorite lists. In this article, we focus on fan favorite-“The Sweetest Taboo” and covers of this song in various genres.

More After The Jump

 ~ The Sweetest Taboo~

“The Sweetest Taboo” is from Sade’s second studio album, Promise, released on November 4, 1985. The song recorded in the UK, went global  and instantaneously became a certified classic. The bold, sexy and colorful lyrics of this song resonated with many fans, making it a chart -topping, success.


Two years after the release of the original song, Don Hickey released a reggae cover in 1987. He delivered sultry vocals and stuck to the original Sade lyrics. Hickey owned this cover over the classic “Love Is Not A Gamble” riddim.

Don HickeySweetest Taboo

In 1999, British artists Shola Ama and Glamma Kid collaborated on a ragga soul version of this song, simply entitled, “Taboo.” This party version takes the song straight to the dancehall, with a visual and choreography to match.

Shola Ama featuring Glamma KidTaboo


Nigerian artist, Lamili, speeds up the tempo with KillerTunes in  her sultry version of the “Sweetest Taboo” in November 2016.  The tantalizing afrobeat of this version will heat up any dance floor .

Lamili– Sweetest Taboo


In a quote from Not Just Ok, West Africa, Lamili expresses why she choose to cover this Sade song:

“Sade is someone I have always listened to since I was a kid and I feel there is no better way to pay homage to a legend than to make a cover, to my favorite single from her collection of hits.”-Lamili

Reva DeVito made a funky, EDM cover of the “Sweetest Taboo”  on her Melancholy album, released in 2013. The Portland native actually mimics  the laid back vocals of Sade quite well. She was able to capture the original mood of this song, while creating a futuristic sound.

Reva DeVitoSweetest Taboo

In May 2016, reggae artist Nerro, modernized the lyrics over a faster tempo, infused with an R&B sound. Nerro singjays over the Bed Bunkx riddim produced by DJ Lizzard.

NerroSweetest Taboo

In the original, the Afrobeat was created from live instrumentation. In conjunction with Sade’s Jazz vocals, the song creates is an eargasm for the listener. The visual for this sensual song, shows the songtress reminiscing on a heated love affair.

Sade – The Sweetest Taboo (Original)

Ultimately, Sade Adu’s music is admired not only for the intensity of poignant lyrics but also for the creativity and uniqueness of the production. It’s great to see the song, “Sweetest Taboo,” transcending across genres and timelines. Reggae first tapped into Sade’s mastery of music with Don Hickey and Shola Ama featuring Glamma Kid renditions of this timeless hit. Now, a new generation is embracing her lyrics, with Lamili, Reva DeVito and Nerro covers of this passionate song.

Written By: Angel Love @LoveDeepAngel

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