Shabba Ranks

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Shabba Ranks
Birth name Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon
Born (1966-01-17) January 17, 1966 (age 48)
St. Ann, Jamaica
Origin Kingston, Jamaica
Genres Dancehall, reggae fusion, ragga
Occupations Singer
Years active 1985–present
Labels Epic (1991–96)

Shabba Ranks (born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon; January 17, 1966) is a Jamaican dancehall musician.

He was one of the most popular dancehall artists of his generation. He was also one of the first Jamaican deejays to gain worldwide acceptance, and recognition for his 'slack' lyrical expressions and content, when "ridin' di riddim". His gravel toned, rough-sounding voice made him instantly recognized worldwide.

Biography and music career[edit]

Ranks was born in Sturgetown, St. Ann, Jamaica. He gained his fame mainly by toasting (or rapping) rather than singing, like some of his dancehall contemporaries in Jamaica. A protégé of deejay Josey Wales, he arrived on the international stage in the late 1980s, along with a number of fellow Jamaicans including reggae singers Cocoa Tea and Crystal. Ranks also worked with Chuck Berry and American rappers KRS-One and Chubb Rock.

He secured a recording contract with Epic Records in 1991. Having released five albums for a major label, Ranks remains one of the most prolific dancehall artists to break into the mainstream.[1]

The stylistic origins of the genre reggaeton may partially be traced back to the 1991 song "Dem Bow", from Ranks' album Just Reality. Produced by Bobby "Digital" Dixon, the Dem Bow riddim became so popular in Puerto Rican freestyle sessions that early Puerto Rican reggaeton was simply known as "Dembow".[2] The Dem Bow riddim is an integral and inseparable part of reggaeton, so much so that it has become its defining characteristic.[3]

His biggest hit single outside of Jamaica was the reggae fusion smash "Mr. Loverman" (memorable for bringing the cry "Shabba!" to the music world). Other tracks include "Respect", "Pirates Anthem", "Trailer Load A Girls", "Wicked inna Bed", "Caan Dun", and "Ting A Ling".

In 1993, Ranks scored another hit in the Addams Family Values soundtrack to which he contributed a rap/reggae version of the Sly and the Family Stone hit "Family Affair". His third album for Epic, A Mi Shabba, was released in 1995, however it fared less well. He was eventually dropped by the label in 1996. However, he won two Grammy Awards for previous work, and Epic went on to release a 'Greatest Hits' album, entitled Shabba Ranks and Friends in 1999.

In 2002, Ranks fulfilled one of his lifetime ambitions by dueting with his boyhood hero Alan Price, the keyboardist from 1960s band The Animals. He sang "Simon Smith and His Amazing Dancing Bear" the Randy Newman song with Price at Reggae Sumfest, Montego Bay. Ranks is credited with bringing the popularity of Alan Price to Jamaica.

Today, Ranks lives in New York City. Ranks made a partial comeback in 2007 when he appeared on a song called "Clear The Air" by Busta Rhymes, which also featured Akon.

Shabba released a single on Big Ship's Pepper Riddim called "None A Dem", in April 2011. In 2012, Shabba was featured on Tech N9ne's EP E.B.A.H. on the track "Boy Toy".

In 2013, Shabba was also mentioned in A$AP Ferg's song "Shabba," and is portrayed in the music video by model and socialite Ian Connors.[4] He was featured in the remix alongside Migos and Busta Rhymes on November 23, 2013.[5]

In August 2013 he was reportedly working on a new album.[6]

Controversy[edit]

In 1992, during an appearance on Channel Four music show The Word, he quoted the verse from the Bible condemning homosexuals, and was subsequently condemned for his comments by presenter Mark Lamarr, who said "that's absolute crap and you know it".[7] Homophobic lyrics are present in a number of Shabba Ranks songs, including "No Mama Man" and "Wicked inna bed".

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Singles[edit]

  • 1989 "Peanie Peanie" – Shabba Ranks – Jammys
  • 1990 "Roots & Culture" – Shabba Ranks – Digital B
  • 1991 "She's A Woman" – Scritti Politti Featuring Shabba Ranks – UK Number 20
  • 1991 "Trailer Load A Girls" – Shabba Ranks – UK Number 63
  • 1991 "Housecall" – Shabba Ranks Featuring Maxi Priest – UK Number 31 – US Number 37
  • 1991 "Just Reality" – Shabba Ranks – Digital B
  • 1992 "Love Punaany Bad" – Shabba Ranks – Jammys
  • 1992 "Mr. Loverman" – Shabba Ranks Featuring Deborahe Glasgow – UK Number 3 – US Number 40
  • 1992 "Slow And Sexy" – Shabba Ranks Featuring Johnny Gill – UK Number 17 – US 33
  • 1992 "Shine & Crisis" – Shabba Ranks – Shang
  • 1993 "I Was A King" – Eddie Murphy Featuring Shabba Ranks – UK Number 64
  • 1993 "Mr. Loverman" – re-issue – Shabba Ranks – UK Number 3
  • 1993 "Housecall" – remix – Shabba Ranks Featuring Maxi Priest – UK Number 8
  • 1993 "What'cha Gonna Do" – Shabba Ranks Featuring Queen Latifah – UK Number 21
  • 1993 "Family Affair" – Shabba Ranks Featuring Patra And Terri & Monica – UK Number 18 – US Number 84
  • 1995 "Let's Get It On" – Shabba Ranks – UK Number 22 – US Number 81
  • 1995 "Shine Eye Gal" – Shabba Ranks Featuring Mykal Rose – UK Number 46
  • 1996 "Heart of a Lion" – Shabba Ranks – Digital B
  • 1997 "So Jah Say" – Shabba Ranks – Brick Wall

Videos and DVDs[edit]

  • 2002 Shabba Ranks: Dancehall Ruff – Best of Shabba Ranks (DVD)
  • 2001 The Return of Shabba Ranks (DVD)
  • 1994 Darker Side of Black
  • 1992 Shabba Ranks: Naked and Ready
  • 1992 Shabba Ranks: Fresh & Wild
  • 1992 Shabba Ranks vs. Ninja Man: Super Clash Round
  • 1990 Reggae Showdown, Vol. 4: Shabba at Showdown (DVD)
  • 1987 Prince Jammy

References in other media[edit]

The "Mr. Loverman" video was parodied on the satirical ITV1 puppet show Spitting Image, and by Marlon Wayans of In Living Color (an American comedy television series) in a video called "Mr. Uglyman,"[8] which played upon the opinion that Shabba is somewhat unprepossessing. Tyler Perry frequently references Shabba Ranks in his hit plays, specifically I Can Do Bad All By Myself and Madea's Family Reunion. Additionally, Ray Von, a character from Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights, used the catchphrase "Shabba!". Will Smith also says "Shabba!" during two episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and also Shabba was referenced in a few episodes on Martin.

"Wicked Inna Bed" is featured on the reggae radio station K-Jah West, in the popular videogame Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. A$AP Ferg's song "Shabba" (feat. A$AP Rocky) pays tribute to the Jamaican artist.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Shabba Ranks". Reggae Reviews. Retrieved 2013-07-15. 
  2. ^ Marshall, Wayne (January 19, 2006). "The Rise of Reggaeton". The Phoenix. p. 4. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  3. ^ Carimanica, Jon (January 12, 2006). "Grow Dem Bow". The Village Voice. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  4. ^ "A$AP Ferg feat. A$AP Rocky - Shabba". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-07-15. 
  5. ^ "A$AP Ferg - Shabba (Remix) (feat. Shabba Ranks, Busta Rhymes & Migos) - Listen". AudioMack. Retrieved 2013-11-24. 
  6. ^ "Shabba plans new album - Entertainment". JamaicaObserver.com. 2013-08-16. Retrieved 2013-11-24. 
  7. ^ "The World". Channel 4. 1992. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]