All Hail The Queen

Photographs by William Richards

Happy (belated) Birthday Dancehall Queen. You’ve heard the phrase “Bad Bitches Bomb First”? Well I fink it was originated by this Lady here. Over the years Marion Hall, aka Lady Saw, has taken the reggae industry by storm, blazing a trail for females in a field that’s supposedly dominated by the boys. Despite being a “lady,” her chat has been tough enough to compete with—and in many cases, excel—her male counterparts. Of course she’s created her fair share of controversy along the way—revolutionaries always do.

The girl with the dirty gob has given the industry hit after hit, and in doing so she’s definitely inspired a whole heap of acts along the way (including hip-hop stars like Lil Kim, Nicki Minaj, and Rihanna). Saw might be an acquired taste for some people—but whether you like her or not she ain’t about to go anywhere.

Muma Saw will be honoured later this week at the 20th Anniversary staging of Reggae Sumfest—and quite rightly. It wouldn’t be the “Greatest Reggae Show on Earth” without her. So what better time to look back at some of Saw’s Masterpieces? It was difficult narrowing this list down to just 20. Hit us up in the comments and let us know if we missed any of your faves.

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#20 FUNCTION!

Lady Saw “Good Wuk”

Any style you want it bwoy, you gonna get it!

 

#19 ACTION SPEAKS LOUDER

Lady Saw “Darndest Things”

I never heard Saw tell a lie yet, but this one really is the #Truth.

 

#18 MADNESS

Lady Saw “If Him Lef”

This was young Saw’s first bonafide hit, but she sounds like a veteran. Can’t blame her for chippin’ hood!

 

#17 EXCUSE ME?

Lady Saw “Eh-Hem”

Saw’s not shy, exactly—but some things are best left to the imagination. You already know what it is though.

 

#16 MURDERATION

Beenie Man ft. Sean Paul & Lady Saw “Bossman”

Saw steals this whole tune… Hands down. She deals with this Neptunes beat all rough & rugged. Nice to see the Queen bossin’ up.

 

#15 TWO THE HARDEST WAY

Lady Saw & Shabba Ranks “Want It Tonight”

Fingers crossed that they’ll do this one live at Sumfest this week. Two legends on one stage. Can you imagine?

 

#14 STOP CHAT

Lady Saw “No Long Talking”

No more lip service, it’s time for some action!

 

#13 NEW & NAUGHTY

Lady Saw “Mr. Short Cummings”

This one goes out to all you likkle fool-fool bwoys… The truth hurts—but somebody’s got to speak on it!

 

#12 HILARIOUS

Lady Saw “Mi Train Your Man”

Outrageous but original… who doesn’t love a bit of Okra slime?

 

#11 XXX

Lady Saw “Stab Up the Meat”

Long before the whole “daggering” craze blew up, Muma Saw set the trend.

 

#10 FUN TING

Lady Saw & Spragga Benz “Backshot”

These two have a special kind of creative chemistry—sounds like they know what they’re talking about.

 

#9 TRUTH

Lady Saw “No Less Than A Woman”

Gotta respect Saw to the max for addressing such a personal topic.

 

#8 CLASSIC

Lady Saw “Sycamore Tree”

My favorite cut on the massive “Joyride” riddim—Saw really shows her country-girl roots on this one.

 

#7 FUN

Lady Saw & Cecile “Loser”

Love to see two of the baddest chicks in the game join forces. Nah say nuttin’ if a bwoy show get flop. Just give them the L sign!

 

#7 UNCATEGORIZED

Lady Saw “I’ve Got your Man”

Muma Saw has never kept it realer. Ouch!

 

#6 FIERCE
Lady Saw “Man Is The Least”

Me too rich to argue with bitch. #DEAD

 

#5 UNTOUCHABLE

Lady Saw “Chat To Mi Back”

Forget the hand—chat to her back.

 

#4 ACTION FI GWAN

Lady Saw “Serious Allegations”

Saw took Snow’s “Anything 4 U” beat and put it to even better use than the original.

 

#3 CLASSIC

Lady Saw & Beenie Man “Healing”

The Doctor & the Dancehall Queen—a combination made in heaven.

 

#2 RAW

Lady Saw “Hardcore (It’s Raining)”

Rainy days have never been the same since this tune came out.

 

#1 FAVE

No Doubt ft. Lady Saw “Underneath It All”

I’m not sure how this hook-up even took place but soooo glad it did—two badass girls on one badass tune! Pass that Grammy.

Check out this vintage Boomshots interview, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.