Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Dancehall Emperor’s New Groove

Shabba Ranks

The original “Mr Loverman” is back on the big stage and will be bringing his signature raw and ready style to the Tobago Jazz Experience on Friday 28th April, 2017 at the scenic Pigeon Point Heritage Park. Alongside an eclectic mix of global and local performers on World Music Night, Shabba will prove to the eager audience that he is indeed deserving of the title of “Dancehall Emperor”.

In his heyday, Shabba Ranks was arguably the most popular dancehall MC in the world. With his distinct baritone and triumphant record-breaking dancehall style, the artiste, born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon, led the craze of dancehall- and reggae-styled rap in the 1980s and 1990s throughout Jamaica, the United States, and the rest of the world.

Shabba Ranks became a dominating force in reggae music when remixed versions of his hit singles Mr. Loverman, Housecall, a duet with Maxi Priest, and Slow and Sexy featuring Johnny Gill, became major crossover hits during the 90s.

He created a reggae-rap fusion that proved highly successful and in 1992 he won his first Grammy for Best Reggae Album with As Raw as Ever. The album featured hits such as Trailor Load a Girls, and showcased his budding relationship with influencers in the international dancehall and hip-hop community, through collaborative tracks with artistes such as Queen Latifah (Watcha Gonna Do) and KRS One (The Jam).
Shabba’s follow-up album, X-Tra Naked, which included hits such as TingA-Ling, sold another 500,000 copies worldwide and led him to become the first dancehall artiste to win two consecutive Grammy Awards, and the first reggae artiste to win back-to-back Grammy Awards.
The dancehall artiste went on to release the full-length A Mi Shabba in 1995, spawning the hits Ram Dancehall, Let’s Get It On, and Shinedown. In 2007, he appeared on the Busta Rhymes single Clear the Air featuring Akon, after which he released the single None A Dem in April 2011.

Shabba's transformative impact on Jamaican music culture is quite significant as he was the most prolific dancehall artiste of his generation and became a model for other artistes to follow. His introduction of Jamaican dancehall culture to the world helped to give the genre global credibility: he made the world pay attention to dancehall.
Many also credit him with being the creator of reggaeton as the stylistic origins of the genre could be traced back to his hit single Dem Bow. Released in 1990, it has been considered as one of the most influential albums in the development of the Spanish/reggae fusion genre.

In recent years, Shabba Ranks has enjoyed a revival in popular culture, with rapper A$AP Ferg namechecking Shabba in his song of the same name. The timing could not be better, as the Dancehall Emperor has found his new groove with a slew of concerts in 2017, including the Love & Harmony Caribbean Cruise earlier this year; upcoming performances in London for Shabba, Maxi and Friends; the St. Kitts Music Festival in June and of course, World Music Night at the Tobago Jazz Experience 2017.