|Birth name||Philip Thomas|
12 February 1965 |
Clarendon Parish, Jamaica
Thomas was born in Clarendon Parish, Jamaica in 1965. He began his career as a reggae artist at the age of eleven with local sound systems, going on to work with the Gemini sound system, before moving on to work with Tony Rebel's Rebel Tone and Papa Roots, and later working with Stereo Mars, Arrows and Metro Media. He joined Killamanjaro where he worked alongside Early B, Super Cat, Puddy Roots, and Little Twitch, and then Sturmars where he worked with Josey Wales, Nicodemus, Super Cat, U Brown and Yami Bolo. His first job on leaving school was as a butcher.
During the eighties, Ranks moved on to the Arrows sound system and his debut single "Gunman Lyrics" was recorded for Winston Riley's Techniques label. He also recorded such tracks as "Out Of Hand" and "Fishman Lyrics" with Riley and after spending some time in Miami working with Super Cat and Nicodemus, he worked with Patrick Roberts' Shocking Vibes label, releasing the single "The Bomber". In 1990 he joined Donovan Germain's Penthouse label, enjoying a hit with "Pon Mi Nozzle".
Ranks came to the attention of London-based Fashion Records, and in 1991 he released "The Stopper" and a debut album of the same name for Fashion, following this up with the album Lethal Weapon in the same year for Penthouse, featuring singers such as Marcia Griffiths, Dennis Brown, Wayne Wonder and Beres Hammond. His follow-up albums From Mi Heart and Six Million Ways to Die were released on Priority Records in 1996. Six Million Ways to Die included a hip hop remix of Ranks' song "A Who Seh Me Dun" which was voiced earlier over the Bam Bam riddim in 1992. In 2000, he released the album Back With A Vengeance produced by King Jammy. This album saw Ranks venture into other musical styles, including hip hop and dancehall. His song "Bomber" is considered a classic in Jamaica.
Cutty Ranks has been influential outside the world of dancehall, particularly in the field of drum and bass and jungle. His vocals have been frequently sampled and his songs remixed by artists such as Goldie. The DJ SS remix of "Limb By Limb" appeared on the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted in 1996, being blasted at volume by Father Fintan Stack, a belligerent and disagreeable priest that is drafted in to replace a then-retired Father Jack. A further notable jungle track using Rank's vocal is 'War in 94' produced by Badman (aka Marvellous Cain) on IQ records, released in 1994.
He now releases music on his own Philip Music label. He has rejected the 'slackness' of modern dancehall in favour of more 'cultural' concerns. In 2012 he released the album Full Blast, featuring guest appearances from Beres Hammond, Luciano, and Gwen Guthrie. In 2013 he featured on 2 Chainz's "Slums of the Ghetto" and a remix of T.RONE's "Hello Love".
- The Stopper (1991), Fashion
- Lethal Weapon (1991), Penthouse
- Retreat (1991), VP
- From Mi Heart (1992), Shanachie
- Six Million Ways to Die (1996), Priority
- Back with a Vengeance (2001), Artists Only!
- Hard for It (2005), Wallboomers
- Full Blast (2012), Philip Music
- Limb By Limb – Reggae Anthology (2008), VP
- Collaborations, split albums
- Another One for the Road (1991), Greensleeves – with Cocoa Tea and Home T
- Die Hard (Volumes 1 & 2) (1991), Penthouse – with Tony Rebel
- 20 Man Dead (1991), Charm – with Tony Rebel
- Rumble in the Jungle, Vol. 2 (1995), Fashion – with Poison Chang
- Campbell-Livingston, Cecelia (1 June 2012). "Cutty Ranks comes out Full Blast". The Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
- Larkin, Colin (1998). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Reggae. Virgin Books. pp. 237–238. ISBN 0-7535-0242-9.
- Moskowitz, David Vlado (2006). Caribbean Popular Music: an Encyclopedia of Reggae, Mento, Ska, Rock Steady, and Dancehall. Greenwood Press. p. 76. ISBN 0-313-33158-8.
- "Quickies: Cutty Ranks Releases New Album". The Gleaner. 13 July 2012. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
- "Cutty Ranks on hip-hop remixes". The Jamaica Observer. 9 November 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2013.