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Chaka Demus

One of the most popular DJs of the '90s, the jovial, gruff-voiced Chaka Demus has notched up a string of hits in Jamaica, working on his own and with others, but it was his pairing with the dulcet-toned Pliers that brought the toaster a series of international chart-breakers.

The DJ was born John Taylor, in West Kingston, Jamaica, in 1965. Like virtually all of the island's talkative talents, he began his career as a teenager in the sound system scene, working for the Jammy's and Supreme systems. Initially he toasted under the name Nicodemus Jr., his tribute to the great '80s DJ Nicodemus. But by the time the DJ began recording in the mid-'80s, he had taken the more original moniker Chaka Demus. Demus cut his first singles for Jammy's, debuting with "Increase Your Knowledge in 1985. None of his early efforts were major hits, but all boded well for the future. His potential was quickly recognized by his bigger brethren, including Yellowman, who joined him for the laudatory "Everybody Loves Chaka," Scotty, "Bring It to Me," and Admiral Bailey, with whom he cut "One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer." Demus moved to the Penthouse label in 1987 to cut the "Chaka on the Move" single, then returned briefly to Jammy's the next year. There, he was paired with another up-and-coming toaster, Shabba Ranks, for the Rough & Rugged album. That same year, he also recorded his solo debut, the slightly boastful Everybody Loves the Chaka, for the Scorpio label. His follow-up album, The Original Chaka, appeared in 1989 on Witty.

By this time, Demus was also working with producer Bobby Digital, with whom he cut a clutch of singles. His old sound system compatriot Shabba Ranks was also recording with the producer and Digital gathered up both DJs' singles for 1989's Best Baby Father. The new decade brought a successful appearance at Reggae Sunsplash, but although he now had a slew of minor chart successes to his credit, Demus still seemed unable to break into the top league of Jamaican toasters.

In 1991, the DJ headed for Miami for a series of shows with Pliers, a singer who was very much in the same boat. The two had crossed paths previously at Penthouse, and now sharing a stage, they discovered a chemistry was definitely at work. Returning to Jamaica, the pair went into the studio with producer Ossie Hibbert and cut the happy-go-lucky "Gal Wine"; its easy beat and breezy interplay between the sweet singing Pliers and the jaunty, chuckling Demus became an instant island smash. The duo now began recording with virtually every name producer in town, from Jah Screw ("Bad Mind") to Mafia & Fluxy ("Winning Machine"), as well as with Digital and for Jammy's, across a string of classic singles. Stardom had arrived, and by 1992, the pair had more than enough hits to stuff into the Gal Wine Wine Wine album, while their appearance at Reggae Sunsplash brought them further adulation. Demus' own warp-speed take on the soca favorite "Workie Workie" was included on MCA's Reggae Sunsplash Live album in 1993. That same year, the duo entered the studio with Sly & Robbie, who were currently delving into the possibilities of the new bhangra style; the first fruits of this musical union was "Tease Me," a Jamaican smash. It also brought Chaka Demus & Pliers their first international hit, when the song tantalized its way into the British Top Five. The R&B meets bhangra "She Don't Let Nobody" followed it up the U.K. chart, and as 1994 dawned, their exuberant cover of the Isley's Brothers "Twist & Shout" slammed to the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

In Jamaica, the duo followed up with the hits "The Boom" and "Mr. Mention," but in a Britain always hungry for new blood, they were unable to repeat their initial phenomenal success. Although all three of the singles the pair released in 1994 charted, "I Wanna Be Your Man" and a re-recorded "Gal Wine" barely scraped into the Top 20. Amazingly, the first of this trio, "Murder She Wrote," didn't even get that high, expiring at a lowly number 27. It was a different story in the U.S., where the duo had signed to the Island label. The spectacular "Murder," all bhangra rhythm and featuring the Taxi Gang and Jack Radics, brought Chaka Demus & Pliers firmly into the American mainstream. Interestingly, the song (although not this version) dated back almost a decade, having been recorded by Pliers in the mid-'80s, and that recording itself was a version of the Maytals' '60s hit "Bam Bam." All of these hits and more were gathered up for the groundbreaking hit All She Wrote album.

It would be two years before the duo returned with a follow-up, 1996's For Every Kinda People, which inevitably suffered in comparison with its predecessor. However, the title track did garner the pair another hit single, while a cover of the Police's "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" repeated its success in 1997. That year also brought a new solo Demus single, "Come Ya Mi Darlin' Come," while 1998 saw Chaka Demus & Pliers back on stage at Reggae Sunsplash. The pair faded from view and years went by without a word, until finally in 2001, the duo reappeared with a strong new set, Help Them Lord, on the RAS label. They continued to release new albums, including Trouble and War (2003), Back Against the Wall (2005), and So Proud (2008), and they toured and performed at festivals around the globe. ~ Jo-Ann Greene
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: King Jammy's Selectors Choice Vol. 3

Disc 1

1. Magic Moment

2. Jump Up

3. Bam Bam

4. Casanova

5. Respect Due

6. Champion Sound

7. Discuss Dem Man

8. Wake Up

9. Great Ambition

10. Head To Toe

11. Kill Dem Wid It

12. I'm A Don

13. Must Haffi Get It

14. Devil Send You Come

15. Be Mine Tonight

16. Ain't Too Proud To Beg

17. Emmanuel Road

18. Nah Lef Ya

19. Top Celebrity Man

20. Gimme No Bun

Disc 2

1. Get Up Stand Up & Rock

2. Bye Bye Love

3. Greatest Gal Lover

4. Nowhere Better Than Yard

5. Dj A Look Fi Mi

6. Let's Give It A Try

7. My Lady

8. Don't Throw It All Away

9. Dean In China Town

10. Fresh

11. Four Season Lover

12. X Rated Country

13. Boy George

14. Duck Dance

15. Bounce

16. Bad Bad Chaka

17. Dibbi Dibbi Girl

18. More Reality

19. Duck Riddim

20. Conquer Me

x

Track List: King Jammy's: Selector's Choice, Vol. 4

Disc 1

1. Who She Love

2. Boombastic

3. Bull's Eye

4. Missing You

5. Lodi Lodi

6. Chatty Chatty Mouth

7. Champaign Sax

8. If I Were A Carpenter

9. Kissing In The Moonlight

10. Tears

11. Genie

12. Live Blanket

13. Think Me Did Done

14. Natty Dread

15. I Know The Score

16. End Of The World

17. My Love

18. Mr. Sea

19. Ital Man

20. Jump & Shock Out

Disc 2

1. Peenie Peenie

2. Original Kuff

3. Johnny Too Bad

4. Love Punaany Bad

5. Pretty Looks Done

6. Water Come A Mi Eye

7. Love Mi Stylee

8. Me Ah De Danger

9. Needle Eye Pum Pum

10. Punaany

11. Healthy Body

12. Gimme The Money

13. Babylon Boops

14. No Borrow No Gun

15. Yes Mama

16. Border Clash

17. Bike Back

18. Wrong Move

19. Been Around The World

20. Punaany Sax

x

Track List: Penthouse 25 - The Journey Continues

1. One In A Million

2. El Shaddai

3. Deep In My Heart

4. Tears On My Pillow

5. Chaka On The Move

6. Nah Get No Bligh

7. Ting Deh Aka Thing Deh

8. Mr Sea

9. Love Mi Haffi Get

10. Pride And Joy

11. Pon Mi Nozzle

12. Go If You Want

13. Tom's Diner

14. Below The Waist

15. Love Within The Music

16. United We Stand

17. Brought Me Love

18. All My Life

19. Crying Fool

20. Mi Caan Sleep

21. Brinks

22. I Feel Good

23. Prophet

24. Lioness On The Rise

25. Who Say

26. I Can't Recall

27. Treat The Woman Aka Please Man

28. Bleaching Shop

29. Wicked And Wild

32. Comfort Zone

33. Order

34. No Candle Light

35. Spoilt By Your Love Aka Spoiled By Your Love

36. When I Was Your Man

38. You Will Know

39. I'd Die Without You

40. My Favorite Song

41. Forever

42. Real Know Real

43. Oh God Of My Salvation

44. Reggae Is Life

45. Good Director Aka Actor

46. Ebony

x

Track List: Reggae Anthology: King Jammy's Roots, Reality And Sleng Teng Disc 2

Disc 1

1. Bad Girl (Feat. Scorcher & Nicodemus)

2. African Love / Yogi Bear (Feat. Prince Hammer)

3. Selassie On His White Horse

4. Engineer Affair

6. Where You Gonna Run

7. Jah Created The World

8. Love Tickles Like Magic

9. The Lord Is My Shepherd

10. Skank At The Party

11. Water Pumping

12. Boom-Shack-A-Lack

13. Sweet Dream Are Made Of This

14. Money Man Skank

15. Children Of The Ghetto

16. Clarks Booty

17. Under Me Sleng Teng

18. It A Ring

19. Trouble Again

20. Sweet Reggae Music

Disc 2

1. Wear Yu Size

2. Original Kuff

3. Rock Them One By One

4. Nah Lef Ya

5. Run Around Girl

6. I Know The Score

7. This Magic Moment

8. Punanny

9. Duck Dance

10. Get Up Stand Up And Rock

11. Tumbling Down

12. If I Were A Carpenter

14. Who She Love (Feat. Home T & Shabba Ranks)

15. Here I Am

16. Bandelero

17. Roots, Reality And Culture

18. Lord Watch Over Our Shoulders

19. Fire Bun A Weak Heart

20. One Love

x

Track List: Reggae Anthology: Penthouse Classics

1. Batty Rider

2. Trying To Get To You

3. Saddest Day

4. Complaint

5. Love Mi Haffi Get

6. No Retreat No Surrender

7. Just Don't Want To Be Lonely

8. One In A Million

11. Yush

12. Don't Break Your Promise

13. Fresh Vegetable

14. Workie Workie

15. El Shaddai

16. Wicked Dickie

19. Bonafide Love

20. After The Fight

x

Track List: Reggae Hits 34

Disc 1

1. Imagination

2. Longing For

3. Hungry

4. Notorious

6. Murderer

7. Higher Higher

8. Handcart Boy

9. Princess Gone

10. Dance To The Chaka

11. Finally

12. What A Friend

13. Let Me Love You

14. Free Up

15. Ain't Gonna See Us Fall

16. Unconditional Love

20. Hush

Disc 2

1. Herbman Hustling

2. Country Life

4. She's Mine

8. Spirit

9. Too Experienced

10. Respect To You

13. Ring The Alarm Quick

15. Good Life

x

Track List: Strictly The Best Vol. 51 disc 2

Disc 1

1. Money Flow

2. Greetings (Ribbidibbi)

3. Professionally

4. Come On To Me (Feat. Sean Paul)

5. Give It All To Me (Feat. Nicki Minaj)

6. Wet Fete (Feat. Kes The Band)

7. Who Rule (Feat. Vegas)

8. Like A Man

9. Gyal Bruk Out

10. Good Book

11. My Own

12. Shmoney Dance

13. Hero

Disc 2

1. A Wah Do Dem

2. Arleen

3. Entertainment (feat. Jah Thomas)

4. My Woman/One Thousand Gal (feat. N**ger Kojak & Liza)

5. I'm Getting Married

6. Girlie Girlie

7. No Wanga Gut

8. Young Gal Business

9. Hot Stepper

10. Massa God World A Run

11. Romie

13. Weh Dem A Do

14. Below The Waist

15. Gal A Bubble

x

Track List: Total Reggae: Dancehall

1. Punanny

2. Drum Pan Sound

3. Clarks Booty

4. Gun In A Baggy

7. Tempo

8. Workie Workie

9. Hog In A Minty

10. Tek Him

11. Wear Yu Size

12. Bandelero

14. Permit To Bury

15. Paro Them Paro

16. Yu Body Good

17. Sleng Teng Finish Already

18. Fresh Vegetable

19. Boy George

20. A Who Seh Me Dun

21. Dangerous

22. Crazy Glue

23. Golden Hen

24. Batty Rider

25. True Love

26. Coca Cola Shape

27. Kuff

28. Typewriter

29. Old Bruk

30. Press Up

31. Over Size Mampie

33. Peenie Peenie

34. Punny Printer

35. Ram Dance Hall

36. Sound Boy Killing

38. Gi Mi Di Weed

39. Round Table Talk

Comments

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This was the man !!
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chaka demus keep up good work my brethen dj style best combition u on plier big shoot out from from massive in boston mass from vet selector
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kareensroots 3
Bring back memories.
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Dada
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unometoo
Original Leader. Master, no carbon copy here. Trail blazer
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Chaka Demus

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