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|Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon|
17 January 1966 |
St. Ann, Jamaica
|Genres||Reggae, dancehall, reggae fusion, ragga|
|KRS-One, Maxi Priest, ASAP Ferg|
Shabba Ranks (born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon; 17 January 1966) is a Jamaican dancehall musician. He was one of the most popular dancehall artists of his generation and 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 recognised worldwide.
Ranks was born in Sturgetown, St. Ann, Jamaica. He gained his fame mainly by toasting (or rapping) rather than singing, like some of 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 American rappers KRS-One and Chubb Rock.
The stylistic origins of the genre reggaeton may be traced back to the 1990 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.
In 2013, Shabba was also mentioned in A$AP Ferg's song "Shabba," and has a cameo near the end of the music video. He was featured in the remix alongside Migos and Busta Rhymes on 23 November 2013.
In August 2013 he was reportedly working on a new album.
In 1992, during an appearance on Channel 4 music show The Word, he advocated the death of homosexuals, and was subsequently condemned for his comments by presenter Mark Lamarr, who said "That's absolute crap and you know it".
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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, used the catchphrase "Shabba!". Will Smith also says "Shabba!" during two episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and also Shabba was referenced in a few episodes on Martin.
A reference to Shabba Ranks is used by Roy Trenneman in Season 3, Episode 6, of The IT Crowd. Roy tells an attractive female employee, whose computer he's servicing, "it's a very complicated problem. There are a lot of Shabba Ranks in your hard drive." His making up of a computer term using Shabba Ranks' name was a ploy to prolong being in the vicinity of the attractive female employees.