born on 17/1/1966 in Saint Ann, Jamaica
Alias Rexton Gordon
Shabba Ranks (born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon; January 17, 1966, Sturgetown, St. Ann, Jamaica) is a Jamaican dancehall musician.
He was one of the most popular dancehall artists of his generation. He was also one of the first Jamaican deejays to gain worldwide acceptance, and recognition for his 'slack' lyrical expressions and content, when "ridin' di riddim". His gravel toned, rough-sounding voice made him instantly recognized worldwide.
Biography and music career
Ranks gained his fame mainly by toasting (or rapping) rather than singing, similarly to his dancehall contemporaries in Jamaica. A protégé of deejay Josey Wales, he arrived on the international stage in the late 1980s, along with a number of fellow Jamaicans including reggae singers Cocoa Tea and Crystal. Ranks also worked with Chuck Berry and America rappers KRS-One and Chubb Rock.
He secured a major record deal with Epic Records in 1991. Having released five albums for a major label, Ranks remains one of the most prolific dancehall artists to break into the mainstream.
The stylistic origins of the genre reggaeton may partially be traced back to the 1991 song "Dem Bow", from Ranks' album Just Reality. Produced by Bobby "Digital" Dixon, the Dem Bow riddim became so popular in Puerto Rican freestyle sessions that early Puerto Rican reggaeton was simply known as "Dembow". The Dem Bow riddim is an integral and inseparable part of reggaeton, so much so that it has become its defining characteristic.
His biggest hit single outside of Jamaica was the reggae fusion smash "Mr. Loverman" (memorable for bringing the cry "Shabba!" to the music world). Other tracks include "Respect", "Pirates Anthem", "Trailer Load A Girls", "Wicked inna Bed", "Caan Dun", and "Ting A Ling".
In 1993, Ranks scored another hit in the Addams Family Values soundtrack to which he contributed a rap/reggae version of the Sly and the Family Stone hit "Family Affair". His third album for Epic, "A Mi Shabba", was released in 1995, however it fared less well. He was eventually dropped by the label in 1996. However, he won two Grammy Awards for previous work, and Epic went on to release a 'Greatest Hits' album, entitled Shabba Ranks and Friends in 1999.
Shabba released a single on Big Ship's Pepper Riddim called "None A Dem", in April 2011. In 2012 Shabba is to be featured on Midwest rapper Tech N9ne's upcoming EP E.B.A.H.
In 1992, during an appearance on Channel Four music show The Word, he quoted the verse from the Bible condemning homosexuals, and was subsequently condemned for his comments by presenter Mark Lamarr who said that what Shabba was saying was "absolute crap". Anti-homosexual lyrics are present in a number of Shabba Ranks songs, including "No Mama Man" and "Wicked inna bed".
- 1989 "Peanie Peanie" - Shabba Ranks - Jammys.
- 1990 "Roots & Culture" - Shabba Ranks - Digital B.
- 1991 "She's A Woman" - Scritti Politti Featuring Shabba Ranks - UK Number 20.
- 1991 "Trailer Load A Girls" - Shabba Ranks - UK Number 63.
- 1991 "Housecall" - Shabba Ranks Featuring Maxi Priest - UK Number 31 - US Number 37.
- 1991 "Just Reality" - Shabba Ranks - Digital B.
- 1992 "Love Punaany Bad" - Shabba Ranks - Jammys.
- 1992 "Mr. Loverman" - Shabba Ranks Featuring Deborahe Glasgow - UK Number 23 - US Number 40.
- 1992 "Slow And Sexy" - Shabba Ranks Featuring Johnny Gill - UK Number 17 - US 33.
- 1992 "Shine & Crisis" - Shabba Ranks - Shang.
- 1993 "I Was A King" - Eddie Murphy Featuring Shabba Ranks - UK Number 64.
- 1993 "Mr. Loverman" - re-issue - Shabba Ranks - UK Number 3.
- 1993 "Housecall" - remix - Shabba Ranks Featuring Maxi Priest - UK Number 8.
- 1993 "What'cha Gonna Do" - Shabba Ranks Featuring Queen Latifah - UK Number 21.
- 1993 "Family Affair" - Shabba Ranks Featuring Patra And Terri & Monica - UK Number 18 - US Number 84.
- 1995 "Let's Get It On" - Shabba Ranks - UK Number 22 - US Number 81.
- 1995 "Shine Eye Gal" - Shabba Ranks Featuring Mykal Rose - UK Number 46.
- 1996 "Heart Of A Lion" - Shabba Ranks - Digital B.
- 1997 "So Jah Say" - Shabba Ranks - Brick Wall.
- 1989 Best Baby Father Produced by King Jammy.
- 1989 Holding On - by Home T, Cocoa Tea & Shabba Ranks Produced by Augustus "Gussie" Clarke.
- 1990 Rappin' With the Ladies Produced by Augustus "Gussie" Clarke.
- 1990 Just Reality Produced by Bobby "Digital B" Dixon.
- 1990 Golden Touch Produced by Mikey Bennett & Patrick Lindsey (Two Friends Label).
- 1991 As Raw As Ever Produced by Multiple producers incl Steelie & Clevie, "Bobby Digital B" Dixon, Mikey Bennett (Two Friends Label) & others - UK Number 51.
- 1991/1992 Mr. Maximum Produced by Augustus "Gussie" Clarke (tracks: 2-12) / Track 1 Produced by Maxi Priest - Additional production: Mikey Bennett (Two Friends Label) - New and re-issues/remixes of previous material.
- 1992 Rough And Ready Volume 1 Multiple producers - New and re-issues of previous material - UK Number 71.
- 1992 X-tra Naked Produced by Multiple producers incl Steelie & Clevie, Bobby "Digital B" Dixon & others - UK Number 38.
- 1993 Rough And Ready Volume 2 Multiple producers - New and re-issues of previous material.
- 1995 A Mi Shabba Produced by Multiple producers incl Bobby "Digital B" Dixon.
- 1998 Get Up Stand Up Produced by King Jammy.
- 1999 Shabba Ranks And Friends Multiple producers - Remakes and re-issues of previous material.
Videos and DVDs
- 2002 Shabba Ranks: Dancehall Ruff - Best of Shabba Ranks (DVD)
- 2001 The Return of Shabba Ranks (DVD)
- 1994 Darker Side of Black
- 1992 Shabba Ranks: Naked and Ready
- 1992 Shabba Ranks: Fresh & Wild
- 1992 Shabba Ranks vs. Ninja Man: Super Clash Round
- 1990 Reggae Showdown, Vol. 4: Shabba at Showdown (DVD)
- 1987 Prince Jammy
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," 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.
- [Shabba Ranks at All Music Guide Shabba Ranks biography at the AMG website]
- Shabba Ranks at Rolling stone.com
- Album Reviews
- Marshall, Wayne, The Rise of Reggaeton, The Phoenix, 2006-01-19, p. 4. URL accessed on 2007-12-05.
- Carimanica, Jon, Grow Dem Bow, The Village Voice, 2006-01-12. URL accessed on 2007-12-05.
- The World. Channel 4 (1992). Retrieved on 8 September 2010.
- Guinness Book of British Hit Singles - 16th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-190-X
- Guinness Book of British Hit Albums - 7th Edition - ISBN 0-85112-619-7
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