Tuesday, 9 April 2013

* "Navarro's Notes' "Never Forgotten" 15Th Installment: A Dancehall Original: Shabba Ranks*

Shabba Ranks. Dancehall Reggae Superstar. One of thee few major breakthrough stars in the business. I will be touching on his life and his music in this edition of "Never Forgotten". Of course, if your a follower of my writing, you know that I will also incorporate his music that made him so widely popular. So, sit back and enjoy. We are going to delve into of the all-time greats: SHABBA!!!
Born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon in St. Ann, Jamaica on January 17Th 1966. Little is known of his upbringing. He did however break onto the stage of music being the protégé of Jamaican Deejay, Josey Wales.
If your not familiar with Josey Wales music, then here some samples of his legendary musical talents. Take a listen:
Josey Wales - Yu Wrong Fe Send Come Call Me
Josey Wales - Reggae Music Control
Rexton had a great teacher as you can hear. Later named "Shabba Ranks", he started to make his mark in Reggae and all the Dancehall's by working with stars, Cococa Tea & Crystal from Jamaica. From The U.S. he worked with Chuck Berry, Chubb Rock and KRS-One. His sound was distinct. He had a very raw, gritty, gravely booming voice that sounded like no other before him in Reggae. He already had set himself apart from the pack of the artists that were trying to obtain major break through in the mainstream music scene. He popularized the term "Slackness" in his lyrical content. Here is the meaning of "Slackness" in musical content:
"Slackness refers to vulgarity in West Indian culture, behavior and the music. It also refers to a subgenre of dancehall music with straightforward sexual lyrics performed live or recorded. Its form and pronunciation varies throughout the Caribbean."
Having shaped his voice and lyrical content to reach a mass audience, Shabba was ready for the next step. That next step was to release his very 1st album. The album was released in 1989 entitled: "Best Baby Father", and was produced by King Jammy. The album was released to critical acclaim from his peers and fans of this upstart. Check out some of the tracks from Shabba's 1st effort below:
Shabba Ranks - Born As A Don
Shabba Ranks - Best Baby Father
 Peeny Peeny - Shabba Ranks
Shabba dropped his 2nd album this time with Cocoa Tea & Home T which was titled: "Holding On" which was Produced by Augustus "Gussie" Clarke. The album was released in the same calendar year as his first, in 1989.
Check out the stand out joints from Shabba's 2nd album. Have a listen below. Truly, a blast from the past for all you die hard fans of Shabba:
Home T, Cocoa Tea & Shabba Ranks - Holding On

Cocoa Tea, Home T & Shabba Ranks - Turn It Down
Home T, Cocoa Tea & Shabba Ranks - Pirates Anthem 

Shabba was a on a role so it only made sense to go ahead and keep releasing more and more material to his fans. He did so while raising his profile and getting the right eyes to take notice of him. But, lets continue on with his discography.
In 1990, Shabba released his 3rd album entitled: "Rappin With The Ladies". The album was Produced by Augustus "Gussie" Clarke. The album included collaborations with J.C. Lodge & Deborahe Glasgow. Check out some of the classic cuts from the album below:
Shabba Ranks ft J.C. Lodge - Telephone Love Deh Pon Mi Mind
Deborahe Glasgow & Shabba Ranks - Mr. Lover Man
Shabba Ranks & J.C. Lodge - Hardcore Loving
Shabba Ranks ft. Crystal - Twice My Age
Following the great success of his 3rd album, In 1990, Shabba released his 4Th album entitled: "Just Reality" produced by Bobby "Digital B" Dixon.
The album didn't see the level of success that his 3rd album achieved but there was some memorable cuts. Have a listen below:   
Shabba Ranks - Wicked Inna Bed

Shabba Ranks - Dem Bow
In 1990, Shabba released his 3rd album in the same calendar year and already his 5Th album overall. It was Produced by Mikey Bennett & Patrick Lindsey (Two Friends Label).
Golden Touch had some big records on it that went over looked by some Reggae lovers. Have a listen to the records that I most enjoyed. I hope you enjoy them as well:
Shabba Ranks - Golden Touch
Shabba Ranks - Love Up Your Woman  
Shabba Ranks - Wicked Inna Bed (Part Two)
Then in 1991, Shabba made history as being one of the few Dancehall artists to sign with a major label. Epic Records signed him to release 5 albums.

He wasted no time capitalizing off his huge opportunity. He released his 6Th Album and his 1st for Epic titled: "As Raw As Ever". The album was Produced by Multiple producers including Steelie & Clevie, "Bobby Digital B" Dixon, Mikey Bennett (Two Friends Label) & others.
On May 21st 1991, Shabba Ranks released the album to critical acclaim and major Worldwide success. He was now at his most popular. Below are the huge tracks that came from his major label debut.
Trailer Load A Girls - Shabba Ranks
 Shabba Ranks - Where Does Slackness Come From
 House Call (Your Body Can't Lie To Me) (featuring Maxi Priest) - Shabba Ranks
 The Jam (featuring KRS-One) - Shabba Ranks
The album was a success so much that his 7Th album was released on another label to capitalize off his major label debut stardom. The album was called: "Mr. Maximum" which was released in 1992. The album consisted of New and re-issues/remixes of previous material. The production was handled by Augustus "Gussie" Clarke (tracks: 2–12) / Track 1 Produced by Maxi Priest – Additional production: Mikey Bennett (Two Friends Label).
I have once again included some of the tracks from the album. More accurately, I have included the tracks that are my favorite from the album. I hope that you enjoy my select cuts from Ranks' 7Th album. Have a listen below:
Shabba Ranks - Fever (With Maxi Priest & Dennis Brown)
Shabba Ranks - Lovable
 Shabba Ranks - Fancy Girl With Fabiana
Following the critical success of Shabba's debut album on Epic, he released his 2nd album for Epic and his 8Th album overall on July 14Th 1992. The album was titled: "Rough and Ready Vol. 1". The album featured Multiple producers & New and re-issues of previous material
Below is the cuts that made him even more of a house hold name. Some of which you will see were new and some re-done. Including the first track which was "Mr. Loverman", in which it was recorded and released on the album with Chevelle Franklyn as the lead female vocalist on the track. The song was originally on Shabba's "Rappin' With The Ladies" album. On that track, Deborahe Glasgow was the lead vocalist on the original track. She unfortunately had passed away after becoming very ill.  But, let's go on with the music. Kick back and listen the big tunes.
Shabba Ranks - Mr. Loverman 

Shabba Ranks - Caan Dun
 Shabba Ranks - Raggamuffin
October 1992, Shabba under Epic released his 3rd Album for them and his 9Th Album overall.
The album would go on in 1993 to win a Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album Of The Year. It was a monumental moment for Reggae and for Shabba himself. The Album was titled: "X-tra Naked".
Here are the top tracks from the album below:
 Shabba Ranks - Ting-A-ling 

Shabba Ranks - Bedroom Bully
For the next 6 years, from 1993 - 1999, Shabba released 4 more albums {2 more on Epic, 1 on Sony & 1 Independent}. It would be albums 10,11,12 & his final album 13.

Shabba Ranks - Lets Get It On
{From The Album "A Mi Shabba" - 1995}
{The One True Stand Out Record For Me From His Last Four Albums}
Shabba Ranks has had an incredible career spanning over two decades. He is alive and well and has endured a lot in order to achieve the huge cross over success that he was blessed with. He earned it and now he is making appearances wherever he wishes to grace everyone with his legendary status.
How can I forget to mention this which was taken from his official Wikipedia page. I said he was a cross over success. Read this for yourself:
"References in other media
The "Mr. Loverman" video was parodied on the satirical ITV1 puppet show Spitting Image and by Marlon Wayans of In Living Color (an American comedy television series) in a video called "Mr. Uglyman,"[5] which played upon the opinion that Shabba is somewhat unprepossessing. Tyler Perry frequently references Shabba Ranks in his hit plays, specifically I Can Do Bad All By Myself and Madea's Family Reunion. Additionally, Ray Von, a character from Peter Kay's Phoenix Nights, uses the catchphrase "Shabba!". Will Smith also says "Shabba!" during two episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
"Wicked Inna Bed" is featured on the reggae radio station K-Jah West in popular videogame Grand Theft Auto San Andreas."
No matter what is said about Shabba, you must say one thing: LEGEND. Also, keep in mind, that he will NEVER EVER BE FORGOTTEN. But, when you call his name you can only say it one way:
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