Good mid-week to the family. I hope all of you enjoyed the superb mix of The Soul Chef. It was a surprise and delight for him to contribute to the Guest Mix Series. Next week, we’re going to have Jason Perlmutter of Carolina Funk fame. It should be as Larry over at Funky 16 Corners says: “A Stone Gas”. What we have here is a guilty little pleasure of a record that I love to play at gigs, and finally acquired this past weekend on 12″, although I’ve had it on one of those fine Dancehall comps for quite some time. It’s the original Loverman, Shabba Ranks with “Roots and Culture” from 1991 on VP Records. I know that this is a bit late as far as Flea Market Funk tracks go, but good tracks are good tracks, there is no denying that.
Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon aka Shabba, was born in 1966 in Sturgetown, Jamaica. Brought up in Trenchtown, the young future toaster eventually got into the Roots Melody Soundsystem with Admiral Bailey. Starting out as Co-Pilot, he released 1985’s “Heat Under Sufferer’s Feet”. After a name switch to Shabba Ranks, he would eventually catch the eye of Jamaica’s music elite, garnishing attention from Josey Wales and King Jammy’s Studio. Releasing “Original Fresh”, Shabba would start a wild ride at Digital B Studios with super producer Bobby Digital and the record label of the same name. Ranks would churn out big time hits such as “Wicked Inna Bed”, “Peeny Penny, “Live Blanket”,”Mama Man,” and this very record. Add in “Mr Loverman”, “Twice My Age” (with Krystal), “Telephone Love”, and others. His collaborations with Maxi Priest, Cocoa Tea, Queen Latifah, Johnny Gill, and KRS-One are legendary. Shabba Ranks was the first Dancehall artist to ever receive a Grammy. He was the inventor of the X-Rated Dancehall style, paving the way for guys like Sean Paul and Shaggy. His bragadocious and sexual bravado made him stand out as an artist and around the world. Shabba Ranks is a Reggae legend, that many new artist coming out of JA have to thank for laying down the foundation in the digital Jamaican age. This song was also featured on the Steven Seagal classic Marked For Death, if that is truly a classic.
Shabba Ranks cry for the respect of the Roots and Culture of Jamaica is just what the youth of the early 90’s needed. Calling out slackness and a lack of respect for the founders of Jamaican music, giving respect to your elders, teaching the youth, and stoppage of black on black crime, the X-Rated MC holds up a level of social consciousness that makes him stand out IMHO. You can say what you want about Shabba, how he is too sexual, how his lyrics ooze that dirty style, but he came correct on this track. I can’t imagine a world of Jamaican music without Shabba, and his signature scowl. Big up and Nuff Respect to Mr. Lover Lover for teaching the youth. See you Friday with some more goodness. Keep Diggin’!