Informer (song)

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Single by Snow
from the album 12 Inches of Snow
Released January 2, 1993[1]
Format CD single, CD maxi, 7" single
12" maxi, Cassette
Recorded 1992
Genre Reggae fusion, hip hop
Length 4:05
Label EastWest
Writer(s) Edmond Leary
Darrin O'Brien
Shawn Moltke
Terri Moltke
Producer(s) M.C. Shan
Snow singles chronology
"Girl I've Been Hurt"

"Informer" is a 1993 song by Canadian reggae musician Snow from his debut album 12 Inches of Snow. Produced by MC Shan, who also contributed a verse, the single was a chart-topping hit, spending seven consecutive weeks at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100. It was his biggest hit in the United Kingdom, where it reached Number 2, behind two different number one singles. In 2007, the song was ranked No. 84 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s.[2] Conversely, the song was included in Pitchfork Media's 2010 list of "the seven worst U.S. No. 1 singles of the 90s".[3]

History and content[edit]

In 1992, while on vacation in Queens, New York, Snow met MC Shan, and the pair produced a four-song demo.[4] MC Shan then introduced Snow to producer–managers Steve Salem and David Eng, who signed him to their Motor Jam Records company, and licensed the music to East West Records.[4] Shortly thereafter, Snow began serving an eight-month sentence in Toronto for assault.[4] "Informer" began getting radio and MuchMusic airplay while he was incarcerated.[4]

The song is based on a separate 1989 incident when Snow was charged with two counts of attempted murder.[4] At the time, he was detained for a year in Toronto before the charges were reduced to aggravated assault, and he was eventually acquitted and freed.[4]

In a 1999 interview, he referred to his criminal history as "a couple of bar fights."[4]

Music video[edit]

Directed by George Seminara, the video shows Snow entering a jail cell. His producer and friend, M.C. Shan, is also featured in the video, where he explains how he got into prison himself while being accompanied with a couple of women in a sauna. There are also bikini clad women. It also features Snow being accompanied himself with female dancers glossed in black and white. When first shown, the video had no subtitles, but because few people could comprehend what Snow was saying, they were soon added. One of the dancers is Mona Scott, who would later go into music management by starting Violator Management and later becoming owner of Monami Entertainment.

Awards and recognition[edit]

"Informer" won a Juno Award for Best Reggae Recording in 1994.[5]


Many reggae purists viewed the song, along with the works of Ini Kamoze, Diana King, Shaggy and Shabba Ranks, as another example of "watered down" commercial reggae that rose to international popularity in the 1990s.[6] The sketch comedy show In Living Color, in a mock video featuring Jim Carrey as Snow, famously parodied the criticisms of reggae purists. Throughout the video, Carrey flees from angry Jamaican rastafarians determined to reclaim the purity of reggae from commercialism.[7]


The song has been sampled in songs:

The song has been covered in songs:

Track listings[edit]


  • Text: Darrin O'Brien, Edmund Leary, Shawn Moltke
  • Producer: MC Shan
  • Executive producer: David Eng, EZ Steve Salem
  • Co-producer: Edmund Leary, John "Jumpstreet" Ficarotta
  • Photography: Melanie Nissen
  • Informer remixer/editor: Rick The Mexican Huerta

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"A Whole New World" by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
March 13, 1993 – April 24, 1993 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Freak Me" by Silk
Preceded by
"No Limit" by 2 Unlimited
Norwegian VG-Lista number one single
16/1993 – 21/1993 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"What Is Love" by Haddaway
Preceded by
"No Limit" by 2 Unlimited
Swedish number one single
April 21, 1993 – May 19, 1993 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Two Princes" by Spin Doctors
Preceded by
"Give In to Me" by Michael Jackson
New Zealand RIANZ number-one single
May 7, 1993 – May 21, 1993 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"That's the Way Love Goes" by Janet Jackson
Preceded by
"No Limit" by 2 Unlimited
Eurochart Hot 100 number-one single
May 8, 1993 – May 22, 1993 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"That's the Way Love Goes" by Janet Jackson
Preceded by
"All That She Wants" by Ace of Base
Swiss number one single
May 9, 1993 – June 6, 1993 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"What Is Love" by Haddaway
Preceded by
"That's the Way Love Goes" by Janet Jackson
Australian ARIA number one single
June 6, 1993 – July 4, 1993 (5 weeks)
Succeeded by
"(I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You" by UB40


  1. ^ "Informer (6 Mixes)". AllMusic. Retrieved December 29, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Latest Music News - VH1". VH1 News. Retrieved December 29, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Staff Lists". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 29, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g LeBlanc, Larry (May 22, 1999). "Snow Looks For Warmer Reception". Billboard: 49, 52. 
  5. ^ Juno Awards list, (Retrieved January 6, 2011).
  6. ^ Kevin O'Brien Chang and Wayne Chen, Reggae Routes: The Story of Jamaican music (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998), 6–8.
  7. ^ Imposter (Snow) - Jim Carrey on YouTube
  8. ^ " – Snow – Informer". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  9. ^ " – Snow – Informer" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  10. ^ " – Snow – Informer" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  11. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3. 
  12. ^ " – Snow – Informer" (in French). Les classement single.
  13. ^ " – Snow Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  14. ^ Irish Single Chart (Retrieved April 4, 2008)
  15. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Top Annuali Single: 1993". Retrieved December 29, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Snow search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  17. ^ " – Snow – Informer". Top 40 Singles.
  18. ^ " – Snow – Informer". VG-lista.
  19. ^ " – Snow – Informer". Singles Top 100.
  20. ^ " – Snow – Informer". Swiss Singles Chart.
  21. ^ "Informer", UK Singles Chart (Retrieved April 4, 2008)
  22. ^ a b c d Billboard (Retrieved August 11, 2008)
  23. ^ 1993 Australian Singles Chart (Retrieved August 11, 2008)
  24. ^ 1993 Austrian Singles Chart (Retrieved August 11, 2008)
  25. ^ "Single top 100 over 1993" (pdf) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved April 15, 2010. 
  26. ^ 1993 Swiss Singles Chart (Retrieved August 11, 2008)
  27. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1993". Retrieved August 27, 2010. 
  28. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade – The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  29. ^ Kent, David (2006). Australian Chart Book 1993-2005. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-45889-2. 
  30. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Snow – Informer" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter Snow in the field Interpret. Enter Informer in the field Titel. Select single in the field Format. Click Suchen
  31. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Snow; 'Informer')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  32. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Snow – Informer". Recorded Music NZ. 
  33. ^ "British single certifications – Snow – Informer". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Informer in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  34. ^ "American single certifications – Snow – Informer". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  35. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1993". Billboard. BPI Communications. 106 (3): 73. January 15, 1994. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 4, 2015.