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Shabba Ranks

During his heyday, Shabba Ranks was arguably the most popular dancehall toaster in the world. He was a massive crossover success in the U.S., thanks to an openly commercial hybrid of reggae and hip-hop, and also to prominent duet partners like Maxi Priest, Johnny Gill, and KRS-One. All of this brought him several hit singles and albums on the R&B charts in the early '90s, and made him the first dancehall artist to win a Grammy. Ranks' distinctive, booming growl of a voice earned him many imitators, and his sex-obsessed lyrics -- while drawing criticism for their unrelenting "slackness" -- made him one of dancehall's hottest sex symbols. Ranks' early success also helped pave the way for even bigger crossovers by artists like Shaggy and Sean Paul.

Shabba Ranks was born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon on January 17, 1966, in Sturgetown, Jamaica. When he was eight years old, his family moved to the Kingston ghetto of Trenchtown, where Bob Marley had grown up. By age 12, he was fascinated by the sound system DJs who spun records in local clubs, and often chatted on the mic over the backing tracks. His early inspirations included Charlie Chaplin, General Echo, Brigadier Jerry, Yellowman, and especially Josey Wales. He soon tried his hand at performing as a toaster, and spent the early '80s working under Admiral Bailey at the Roots Melody sound system. Paired with a record selector dubbed the Navigator, Ranks initially called himself Co-Pilot. Under that name, he cut his first single, "Heat Under Sufferer's Feet," in 1985. He soon changed his name to Shabba Ranks, and caught the attention of his idol Josey Wales, who took the young toaster under his wing.

Wales introduced Ranks to some of the producers at King Jammy's studio, and Ranks soon began recording there, debuting with the single "Original Fresh." He collaborated with Chaka Demus, and recorded a large quantity of singles, none of which gave him a breakout hit. The 1988 single "Needle Eye Punany" marked the beginning of his notorious sexual explicitness, which he would soon ride to tremendous popularity in Jamaica. More crucial, though, was his move to King Jammy engineer/producer Bobby Digital's new studio and label, Digital B, in 1989. Having known each other for some time, the duo's chemistry was immediate, and Ranks quickly vaulted to stardom that year with a series of hit singles and an electrifying stage show (at one point, Ranks arrived on-stage via helicopter).

From 1989-1991, Ranks recorded some 50 singles, mainly with Bobby Digital but also with producers Gussie Clarke and Steely & Clevie. He scored hit after hit, including the massive "Wicked Inna Bed," "Roots and Culture," "Live Blanket," "Mama Man," and "Peeny Penny," among others. His album Rappin' With the Ladies featured covers of songs by female reggae artists, and gave him another big hit with a new version of J.C. Lodge's smash "Telephone Love"; it was also one of his first successes overseas, proving quite popular in the U.K. Gussie Clarke produced his 1989 LP Holding On, which spawned major hits in "Pirates' Anthem" (a collaboration with Cocoa Tea and Home T), "Twice My Age" (a duet with Krystal), and "Mr. Loverman" (a new version of Deborah Glasgow's "Champion Lover"). He also cut several other tracks with Cocoa Tea and Home T, including "Who She Love," "Stop Spreading Rumours," and "Your Body's Here With Me." A subsequent album, Golden Touch, proved to be another U.K. success.

Ranks' burgeoning popularity led to a major-label deal with Epic in 1991, and it was clear from the start that he aspired to crossover stardom. His Epic debut, As Raw as Ever, featured a high-profile duet with the then-hot Maxi Priest, "Housecall." "Housecall" made the Top Five on the R&B charts, sending As Raw as Ever all the way to number one on the R&B album listings. Another duet, "The Jam" -- this time with rap legend and reggae enthusiast KRS-One -- topped the hip-hop singles chart in 1992. As Raw as Ever was awarded a Grammy for Best Reggae Album, making Ranks the first dancehall artist ever to notch a win. Later in 1992, "Mr. Loverman" was re-released as a single in the States, following its appearance in the film Deep Cover; it went all the way to number two on the R&B charts. Ranks released his follow-up album, X-Tra Naked, the same year, and notched yet another duet hit with the Johnny Gill collaboration "Slow and Sexy," his third R&B Top Fiver. X-Tra Naked also featured other minor hits: "Muscle Grip," "Ting-a-Ling," and a duet with Queen Latifah, "What 'Cha Gonna Do?"; it also won Ranks his second straight Best Reggae Album Grammy. Ranks was so popular that two compilations of his earlier Jamaican hits, Rough & Ready, Vol. 1 and Mr. Maximum, both charted in the U.S. in 1992 as well.

1994 brought Ranks another decent-sized hit in the Addams Family Values soundtrack contribution "Family Affair," a rap/reggae version of the Sly & the Family Stone hit. He completed his third Epic album, A Mi Shabba, in 1995, and it produced several minor hits in "Ram Dancehall," "Let's Get It On," and "Shine Eye Gal." However, it didn't match the phenomenon of its predecessors, and Ranks fell mostly silent afterwards. He did return to Jamaica to record some more material for King Jammy during the late '90s, some of which was released on the hodgepodge album Get Up Stand Up in 1998. However, no new major-label offerings appeared, and Sony issued several compilations around the turn of the millennium. ~ Steve Huey
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Shabba Ranks And Friends

1. Mr. Loverman

2. Slow And Sexy

3. House Call (ZYour Body Can't Lie To Me) (The Morales Re-Mix)

4. The Jam (The Bridge Re-Mix)

5. Shine Eye Gal

6. Telephone Love

7. Mr. 'G'

8. Pirates Anthem

9. Universal Love

10. Ice Cream Love

11. Two Breddrens

x

Track List: Caan Dun - The Best Of Shabba

Disc 1

1. Roots And Culture

2. Get Up, Stand Up

3. Pirates Anthem

4. Twice My Age

5. Golden Touch

6. Peeny Peeny

7. Dem Bow

10. Girls Wine

11. Who She Love

12. Kill Mi Dead

13. Serious Time

14. Pay Down Pon It

15. Wicked Inna Bed

Disc 2

2. Just Reality

3. Gal Yuh Good

5. Lovable

6. Mr. Loverman

7. Holding On

8. Hood Top

9. Best Baby Father

12. Live Blanket

15. Caan Dun

x

Track List: X-tra Naked

1. Ting-A-Ling

2. Slow And Sexy

3. Will Power

4. Muscle Grip

5. Rude Boy

6. Cocky Rim

7. What 'Cha Gonna Do?

8. Bedroom Bully

9. Another One Program

10. Ready-Ready, Goody-Goody

11. Two Breddrens

12. 5-F Man

x

Track List: As Raw As Ever

1. Trailor Load A Girls

2. Where Does Slackness Come From

3. Woman Tangle

4. Gun Pon Me

5. Gone Up

6. Housecall

7. Flesh Axe

8. A Mi Di Girls Dem Love

9. Fist-A-Ris

10. The Jam

11. Ambi Get Scarce

12. Park Yu Benz

x

Track List: Big Time (Single)

1. Big Time

x

Track List: Love Punany Bad (Remix) (Single)

x

Track List: Reggae Legends Shabba Ranks

1. Just Reality

2. Weh Yu Get It From

3. Gal Yuh Good

4. Back And Belly Rock

5. Roots And Culture

6. Wicked Inna Bed

7. Dem Bow

8. The Rammer

9. Crablouse A Go Round

10. Mandela Free

11. Are You Sure?

12. Pay Down Pon It

13. Telephone Love (Deh Pon Mi Mind)

14. Just Be Good To Me (Feat. Rebel Princess)

15. Steady Man (Feat. Krystal)

16. Mr. Lover Man (Feat. Deborahe Glasgow)

17. Hardcore Loving (Feat. J.C. Lodge)

18. Action Packed (Feat. Rebel Princess)

19. Twice My Age (Feat. Krystal)

20. Dont Test Me (Feat. Deborahe Glasgow)

21. Hardcore Loving (Solo Cut)

22. Just Be Good To Me (Solo Cut) (Feat. Rebel Princess)

23. Looking For Action (Feat. Rebel Princess)

24. Golden Touch

25. Mi Nuh Romp With It

26. Love Up Your Women

27. Build Bridges Instead

28. House Husband

29. Private Property (Feat. Brian & Tony Gold)

30. If A My Youth

31. Digit It (Feat. Little Twitch & Jah Thomas)

32. Kill Mi Dead

33. Wicked In Bed (Part 2)

34. Fever (Feat. Maxi Priest & Dennis Brown)

35. Lovable (Ragga Hip Hop Mix)

36. Turn It Down (Feat. Home T & Cocoa T)

37. A Nuh Me Seh So

38. Holding On (Feat. Home T & Cocoa T)

39. Fanciness (Ragga Club Lick) (Feat Lady G)

40. No Bother Dis Soundboy (Dub Plate Remix)

41. Pirates Anthem (Feat. Home T & Cocoa T)

42. Deh Pon Mi Mind (Rude Bwoy Remix)

43. Fancy Girl (Feat. Fabiana)

44. Stop Spreading Rumours (Feat. Home T & Cocoa T)

Comments

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Cool����
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His music Torrid me how to ride. ...a house
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Oringal dancehall king
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Come backs are ledgand in its self
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Love this song
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laurie52
Ythfufjhdjdk k d i d
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I luv this song
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Say iPhone 5 times
Post this on 5 songs
And look under your pillow
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Mr lover man SHABBA
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This is taking back to the days of hanging out at the clubs in Brooklyn!!
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SHABBA
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This is the s**t
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The original gangster and inventor of dancehall.
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widemant9
I love this song my fav ������������
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rburnett6
Kauhdjencjri j e n v h e n j s k s n j d n i a h d e n h d u s j a h s e n d d u a j n d h c u x d h a o h d h e n c u s j k s h f
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rburnett6
I love cheerleader shabba ������������
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jamaicanblac k b a b e
Easy Michieboo !!!!!!
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Much love to a Jamaican man! Love
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love Shabba, my fav
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Ayee!
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I love you Shabba Ranks
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Awesome
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shawna.cobb
love Shabba!
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santiago1215 7 8
Shabba Ranks is the best old school dance hall artist and 2nd best reggae singer.
The best of REGGAE singer is Robert Nesta Marley
He died 34 years ago and his legacy still and his music continue.
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Shabba is di best old school reggae/dance hall artist of all times, his hits from Ting Ling,Mr Loverman to Shine Eye gal was my favorite tune bak in the 90s. Big up one love!!!
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Love me some jamaican men, rude boy. Once you date a Jamaican man you'll never want any other nationality.
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love this song
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My jam!!
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Whattt .... Shabba Ranks ... Love Dance Hall music
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This is still my s**t... I am bad mad wicked inna bed ... Classic tune
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natashawrigh t 6 1
Memories of the 90's.
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I saw here once in Baltimore, MD he was great will never forget that night it was wild had the time of my life!!!!
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❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
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Actually took a picture with him in cocoa beach i ma chef n made him sum soul food lol...hes a good dude..blessi n g s shabba!!!
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Mista luva man;-)
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One of the gr8
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keitho58
Saw the great Shaba at Randalls Island NY . he is on top of his game hot as hell love his work endlessly , his home coming to Jamaica was off the chart I tell you .
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shabba in concert is bonkers... pa'twa in the house ..
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Memories lol
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This song reminds me of back in the days when I was in jamaicA
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Love thing A ling bad tune
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c4irvin
LO
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What the blood clot
White boys be banging shabba.
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mark.simms
Rude Bwoy Shabba is the greatest!
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Damn Shabba Ranks..where in the hell is he at?? he used to have the cookouts and block parties jumping in the 90's.
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Booyaka Booyaka !!
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KING SHABBA!!!!
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I have been listening to this since I can even remember. So many good memory.
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alvarado.edu a r d o
Coming up in Brooklyn 70's - 2000 reggae was a big influence and part of the new generation fads. We had our fair share of hookie jams straight reggae, East NY, Bushwick, Brownsville, Canarsie, Glendale, Ridgewood and MANY other places I don't remember them all... Great times we had, great friends we lost, along the way, way......Big u p Shabba
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Love this song takes me way back!!
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