Informer (song)

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"Informer"
Snow Informer (Single Cover).jpg
Single by Snow
from the album 12 Inches of Snow
ReleasedAugust 20, 1992
Format
Recorded1992
Genre
Length4:28
LabelEastWest
Songwriter(s)
  • Edmond Leary
  • Darrin O'Brien
  • Shawn Moltke
  • Terri Moltke
  • Jeffrey Silva (associate writer)
Producer(s)MC Shan
Snow singles chronology
"Informer"
(1992)
"Girl I've Been Hurt"
(1994)
Music video
"Informer" on YouTube

"Informer" is a 1992 song by Canadian reggae musician Snow from his debut album 12 Inches of Snow. Produced by MC Shan, who also contributed a rap 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 two, behind two different number-one singles. In 2007, the song was ranked number 84 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s.[1] Conversely, the song was included in Pitchfork's 2010 list of "the seven worst U.S. number one singles of the 90s".[2] The song is well known for the line "a licky boom boom down" and for Snow's fast toasting and often inaudible lyrics.

"Informer" is about Snow being wrongfully accused of a stabbing murder.

History and content[edit]

In 1992, while on vacation in Queens, New York, Snow met American rapper and record producer MC Shan, and the pair produced a four-song demo.[3] 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.[3] Shortly thereafter, Snow began serving an eight-month sentence in Toronto for assault.[3] "Informer" began getting radio and MuchMusic airplay while he was incarcerated.[3]

The song is based on a separate 1989 incident when Snow was charged with two counts of attempted murder.[3] 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.[3]

In a 1999 interview, he referred to his criminal history as "a couple of bar fights."[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Network 40 wrote in their review of the song: "You'd swear you were listening to a Jamaican straight out of Kingston, but this 22-year-old white male hails from Toronto's ghetto. Along with mixer DJ Prince and record producer and rapper MC Shan, Snow creates a hooky low-groover with infectious Dancehall toasting."[4]

Music video[edit]

Directed by George Seminara, the video shows Snow entering a jail cell. His producer and friend, MC Shan, is also featured in the video; he explains how he got into prison by not turning informer. Shan is seen enjoying a sauna with a couple of women. There are bikini clad women throughout and Snow is accompanied by female dancers glossed in black and white. When first shown, the video had no subtitles, but they were added because few people could comprehend what Snow was saying.[citation needed]

One of the dancers is Mona Scott, who would later go into music management, starting Violator Management. She would go on to become owner of Monami Entertainment.[citation needed]

Awards and recognition[edit]

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

Legacy[edit]

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 song, retitled "Imposter", as well as society that was ready to oppose any Afro-American musicians in benefit of Caucasian protagonists and a culture of "one hit wonder" glamour, similar to his parody of Vanilla Ice. He also accuses Time Warner of hypocrisy in dropping Body Count due to their song "Cop Killer" while saying a "cop-hating" song like "Informer" was overlooked.[7]

Additional samples and cover versions[edit]

Track listings[edit]

Personnel[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 and editor: Rick the Mexican Huerta

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Latest Music News - VH1". VH1 News. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  2. ^ "Staff Lists". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g LeBlanc, Larry (May 22, 1999). "Snow Looks For Warmer Reception". Billboard: 49, 52.
  4. ^ "Hot Crossover: Music Meeting" (PDF). Network 40 (1992-11-27, page 45). Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  5. ^ Juno Awards list, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 6, 2011. Retrieved January 7, 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) (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. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Snow – Informer". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  9. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Snow – Informer" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  10. ^ "Ultratop.be – Snow – Informer" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  11. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 1739." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 1764." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  13. ^ "Top 10 Denmark" (PDF). Music & Media. May 8, 1993. p. 24. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  14. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. May 15, 1993. p. 23. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  15. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  16. ^ "Lescharts.com – Snow – Informer" (in French). Les classement single.
  17. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Snow – Informer". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Top 10 Sales in Europe" (PDF). Music & Media. June 12, 1993. p. 20. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  19. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (22.04.1993 - 28.04.1993)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir - Tónlist. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  20. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Informer". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  21. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Top Annuali Single: 1993". Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Snow" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  23. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Snow – Informer" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  24. ^ "Charts.nz – Snow – Informer". Top 40 Singles.
  25. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Snow – Informer". VG-lista.
  26. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  27. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Snow – Informer". Singles Top 100.
  28. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Snow – Informer". Swiss Singles Chart.
  29. ^ "Snow: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  30. ^ "Snow Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  31. ^ "Snow Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  32. ^ "Snow Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  33. ^ "Snow Chart History (Hot Rap Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  34. ^ "Snow Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved March 17, 2019.
  35. ^ "Snow Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  36. ^ a b "1993 ARIA Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  37. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 1993" (in German). Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  38. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1993" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  39. ^ "The RPM Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1993". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  40. ^ "The RPM Top 50 Dance Tracks of 1993". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  41. ^ "Top 100 Singles–Jahrescharts 1993" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  42. ^ "Single top 100 over 1993" (PDF) (in Dutch). Top40. Retrieved April 15, 2010.
  43. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1993" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  44. ^ "End of Year Charts 1993". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  45. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 1993" (in German). Retrieved September 27, 2019.
  46. ^ "Top 100 Singles 1993". Music Week. January 15, 1994. p. 24.
  47. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1993". Archived from the original on November 10, 2006. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  48. ^ 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.
  49. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Snow – Informer" (in German). IFPI Austria.
  50. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Snow; 'Informer')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  51. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Snow – Informer". Recorded Music NZ.
  52. ^ "British single certifications – Snow – Informer". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Informer in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  53. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1993". Billboard. BPI Communications. 106 (3): 73. January 15, 1994. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
  54. ^ "American single certifications – Snow – Informer". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.