In Honor of Shabba’s Order of Distinction, We Present An In-Depth Interview with the Dancehall Emperor
“Triumphant,” said Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon, better known to music lovers as Shabba Ranks. “Dat a my feeling right now because, as my mother used to tell me from I was little, hard work does pay off.” The dancehall emperor, who now resides in the United States, returned to Kingston, Jamaica this week to receive one of his homeland’s highest honors, the Order of Distinction. According to the Jamaica Observer, the crowd cheered wildly as the impeccably attired Ranks appeared on the great lawn at King’s House, the opulent residence of the island’s Governor General. Sir Patrick Allen personally bestowed the honor on this ghetto youth who took dancehall music around the world, earning the genre’s first gold record and two consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album. “So we can see dat de validation for hard work is jus’ greatness — good really begets good,” said Shabba. “For my island to look at me as one of those proteges and bestow the Order of Distinction pon me, when I first hear, it’s just delight, joy. It cause me to think about how, for so many years, me a work with the strength of my forefathers who did their work and still could not achieve dis in their lifetime… So mi jus’ proud.” The 50-year-old artist joins a distinguished group of Jamaicans in the fields of music, art, sports, politics, medicine, and journalism. Fellow honorees include Usain Bolt, Sir Coxsone Dodd, and Lee “Scratch” Perry. Interview After The Jump…
Inspired by this momentous occasion—a long overdue acknowledgment that was championed behind the scenes by Bobby Clarke of Irie Jam Media. “Its about Flipping Time!!” said Clarke in an exclusive statement to Boomshots. “This trailblazer has put reggae’s dancehall music on the map, he travelled the globe as its first hardcore ambassador and more than deserves this great honor from his country. Without a Shabba to inspire others like Junior Gong, Vybz Kartel and Mavado, the great international pool of dancehall giants Jamaica boasts now would simply not exist. All Hail Emperor Ranks!!!” Boomshots dug in the archives to find a definitive career-spanning interview with the DJ conducting over two decades ago for a feature story in VIBE magazine. The article appeared in VIBE’s October 1994 issue—along with a photo spread by Butch Belair, including the image above—but the full reasoning has never been published before now.
Shabba is the fourth oldest child in a family of seven—two girls and five boys—who grew up in the West Kingston ghetto community of Olympic Gardens—where his mother still resides, and still puts her pot on the fire to feed hungry youths in the area. Although his father passed away shortly before the DJ signed an international recording contract, Shabba’s mother, Constance Christie, was on hand at King’s House to witness the ceremony in honor of her son. “When mi look pon Mama Christie,” Shabba was quoted as saying, “mi jus’ know how beautiful life is ’cause she bring me forth and nurture me in de right an’ proper way so me could become a progressive man in dis world. Every time me look pon her me see progress. Every time me look pon her, me see a representation of God Almighty… Every time me look pon her me just see strength and and niceness.”
Rob Kenner’s 1994 interview with Shabba preceded the release of his final album for Epic Records, A Mi Shabba. That same year he dropped two of his best loved singles, the shotta tune “Shine and Criss” and “Respect,” a song which pays tribute to all the dancehall pioneers who came before him—from King Stitt and Daddy U Roy to Yellowman and beyond. As a demonstration of our enduring respect for this dancehall legend, Boomshots here presents excerpts from our reasoning with the dancehall emperor, whose name continues to ring out in hit songs by international stars like A$AP Ferg and Chris Brown. As a new generation grows up hearing Shabba’s name, how many truly know his music? It’s only right that those who call his name overstand the journey of the man as well.
SHABBA’S EARLY INSPIRATION:
I was living in Trench Town at the age of eight. It was all about school at that stage, but when I was say about twelve years old I moved from Trench Town and went to live in Olympic Gardens, and there was a lot of sound systems in the area, so I just developed a love of the music. The music was happening in the atmosphere. Banging! You know? Morning, noon and night. I watched Josey Wales a lot, and I listened to General Echo a lot. That’s what I was really growing up on. And then I started loving other DJ’s styles like Brigadier Jerry, Yellowman. Me check it overall. King Stur-Gav Sound System was ruled by one of the godfathers, which is Daddy U Roy. So from there I just love all the styles. U Roy was in the ’70s, ’80s coming up. So that is where we all learn… Josey Wales himself learned from there. It was because of that strength of power of inspiration and the sound systems within the community that I knew I could develop a great interest or a likeness of the skill. That time I started going to dance listening to Josey Wales chatting on Roots Unlimited, until he moved to Stur-Gav. Yes, that is where I got with it. I have to listen to Josey Wales DJing you know. Love it and love it and love it and love it!
SOUND SYSTEM STRUGGLES:
At that time we used to go chatting on sound system for a cup of soup. We ain’t getting nothin’. No dough. I remember once I decided not to mess around with people’s things anymore. I decided to go at it musically, so it was in the big session of Christmas holiday and I deejayed from two days before Christmas, Christmas night, Boxing Day night, night after Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve night, New Year’s night. And when I go to collect my pay, I still couldn’t afford to buy even myself a shoe. Yes, I received $40, which was JA$40. At that time it was really, you know, frustrating. I did tear up the $40. I was hungry as hell, but I tore up the $40 because I couldn’t take it anymore—frustration. I couldn’t take the $40. I wanted to buy myself a pair of shoes and I decided not to go take people’s things in order to get myself a pair of shoes and I chat for nearly seven nights straight for a week and when I received my pay I still couldn’t afford my pair of shoes. Which was sort of a nerve-racking issue, but it gives you the strength and courage to go on. When I tear up the $40 I was hungry, so it’s like sacrificing myself to reach higher. Sacrificing makes you work hard, you know. Yeah, man. Me make a change, man. ‘Cause from there I started changing me name and ting. At that time I was still going by the name of “Co-Pilot” while I was chatting on the sound system. After that I change my name. I turn to the name “Shabba.” One of my friends from primary school [gave me the name]. His name is Walter White. Yeah, he’s dead now though. He gave me the name Shabba but when I was DJing at that time, my name was “Co–Pilot.” But nothing was happening for the pilot. So, the plane went up and crashed. The pilot died in the sky. Different fashion. Shabba jumped out and started doing the pilot’s job.
Reshma B Backstage at Reggae Sumfest with Shabba
THE MEANING OF “SHABBA RANKS”:
Shabba was a king of Africa. If you should search on the continent of Africa there’s a town or a little city that is known as a “Shaba,” but it’s just one B. It’s really an African thing. It’s a grassroots thing. It’s a name from way back then. Now, there was two people before me who was named Shabba. And they be very notorious and ting and ting. But, you know each and every man do his ting a little way different. So, when I started viewing on my Shabba–ting now, the other two Shabbas had died. They were dead. They weren’t into music; they was really bad people. Bad man, rude boy, notorious steppers. You know, the ghetto word “steppers.” Dirty guys. So, when people hear the name “Shabba,” many think of the negative but, for reality it’s an African name. King Shabba, you know.
The “Ranks” told you I was good at what I was doing. There was Ranking Joe and Ranking Trevor at that time. So I say I’m gonna take the “Ranks” instead of the “Ranking.” Many people say “Shabba Ranking” but it’s really “Shabba Ranks.” For real, man. Shabba Ranks! I’ma rank it up. It still comes from the root of DJ days. You have a Cutty Ranks and a Nardo Ranks and Shabba Ranks because there was once a Ranking Trevor and there was once a Ranking Joe. For real. Just like you have Burro Banton and then Buju Banton. Not just anybody can say they are a “Ranks.” They have to be banging and they have to be doing things. Making a lot of noise. Pushing out hits and jamming dancehall.
I used to see my mother with a little one-box stereo and she used to be playing all kinds of music. Sometimes, you know, the music start a disturbance and my father would destroy all the records she had. So, as soon as he get rid of that, Mama would buy another one. Yeah, right now if anybody should go search up my mother’s house, we have records from when I was a boy. Skeeter Davis, the Heptones, Pablo Moses… We grow up on certain types of music, you know. Momma always ah plug the music. Nuff times I come back from dancehall, father lock the door, and all you can hear in darkness is real scary sounds. At that time Momma scream, “Can you please open the door and let us in?” Daddy was kind of nervous because he was working his case off in order for us to be a mechanical engineer. But ah we the DJs uplift over the clouds of negativity so that people adapt or appreciate us at what we be doing. For real.
PARENTS’ OPINION OF DANCEHALL:
Dem nuh approve it. Dem know say the music was banging, but they wouldn’t approve of it. They’d only approve of going to school, getting an education, be like a pilot or a mechanical engineer or, you know, some business development… an aptitude, a career, a skill. They wanted me to be dependent on education to take me way up to the highest extreme. Twelve years old, I remember I used to punch riddim tracks on the jukebox within a bar. I used to take ten cent coins—that is how I started practicing. I used to put ten cent coins within a bar to punch songs by Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Leroy Smart, to name a couple. Foundation singers. Making a lot opf noise into the bathroom.
“DJ OF THE AREA”:
At fourteen, I entered a DJ contest for the community. The community had a fair every six months where juveniles take part in sports, music, all different types of community developments. And from that DJ contest, I was ranked as the “DJ of the Area” with little fans around me sayin “Yo! Go at it! Go at it!” I took the name “Co–pilot” because there was a selector from a sound that I used to chat for and his name was “The Navigator” yeah, so I am the “Co–pilot.” He spin it on the wheel and I chat it on the mic.
I voice one song under that name, and it’s entitled “Heat Under the Sufferers’ Feet.” That was when Colonel Josey Wales started seeing potential in me. Yes that is when he really started talking like, you know, “You got talent, man. Love your voice, man. You must take it to the studios.” ‘Cause I used to be an idle boy. Be in a lot of trouble. I love the music and ting, and go school and ting, but I used to give a lot of trouble. Walk with my little friends that give trouble. But the music was in me, you know. And because he see that problem within me, he said “Yo! Let’s go to studio and take this thing serious.” And when the bigger heads tell me to take things serious, I lace up my shoes and buckle my belt. And from that day until now, it’s no turning back, it’s no looking back, you know.
Youth and youth did really love the DJing. That is the way how Josey Wales conduct the community, where juveniles was always around him, always being appreciative of him. That was something that gave me more urge to wanna be like him because wherever he was at, youth was always listening to him, yet he was always within the community. Born on the sidewalks, sitting on the sidewalks idling, telling of his fame and his life—and the meaning. And I decide I have to go at it for better, because I see in him a true man.
A WORD FROM JOSEY WALES:
At first I know I was one of his mentors. Yeah because those times sound systems weren’t that prevalent, you understand. And I used to have a little sound by the name of Roots Unlimited. Shabba was a little kid then, much younger. He started coming around and at that time he was calling himself “Co-Pilot.” Yeah. He just referred to himself as “Co–pilot.” This is the real, real story of the real roots of Shabba Ranks. The first time he did a song was a song called “What a Heat.” The song said “What a heat under sufferers’ feet.” He did it for a local producer, a little guy who was a little swindler who saw where he could make a fast dollar in those times. If I could search the archives, I get a record like that, I would even play it to make you hear how it sounds like Josey Wales in his younger days. Big similarity there. Well, Shabba didn’t get any money from that record because in those days it was just hustling and there was no restriction and the music wasn’t a business. It was just a man who has the know-how come and cheat you out of your talent and go to England or America, make a lot of money come back and give you a little penny. And you were happy and thankful because you were poor and in the ghetto anything goes. Right? Alright, well, for the song, I actually had to go to a promoter and verbally abuse him for Shabba to get some money. And since the was the first, very first song, then, the girls in the area started liking him and people start hearing about this “Shabba, Shabba, Shabba” and ting. And then he went to King Jammy’s Hi-Fi. But as a young upcoming DJ, he didn’t get that warmth. One day while in my stride as the King DJ of Jamaica, I was passing back on the corner where we all used to sit down, on the corner of Bay Farm Road and Olympic Way, and I see Shabba stretch out his hands and stop me. Mi say, “W’happen man? Why yuh stop me?” He said “I want to get hooked up with Jammy’s sound, you know, but the vibes nuh right now.” And I replied “I’ll tell you what mi go do. I’ll bring you right to the boss himself.”
SHABBA LINKS WITH KING JAMMY’$:
I was sitting on a corner one day and mi friend dem come up to me in a rent–a–car and said, “Yo! Mi drive yuh to studio because I’d love for you to cut a tune wid me … Yuh cyan miss!” That’s the first time mi ever say, “Bwoy, mi sit down in Jammy’s camp! Me’s an artist, you know. I don’t have to sit down on the road corner. I sit where the new music is always being played and where the music is always created.” For real. [At that moment] It was like a plane on the runway when it start to take off. When I got out there I was making links where music is concerned with progressing. I was in the house of the music. Respect for King Jammy’s.
Me and Admiral Bailey used to lick heads. We used to be on the same sound system once, you know. Roots, the same sound system that I was engaged to. We was there doing lyrics on the sound to earn our daily bread, for about three years, four years together. And then he stepped off from there and went to Jammy’s and popularity just head off. So I say, Hey, I think I can make something, but likewise I’m still doing what I’m doing and fooling around in the community. Me and Admiral do it side by side and then he get famous. And Josey Wales was famous and he tell me that ‘Yo! You can be famous if you set your heart and your mind to it and go ahead and do it.’” So, all praises when I reach in Jammy’s camp and Bailey was of the same section in Jammy’s camp and was already hot in the air, he take off already. It was a pleasure, it was disaster, it was fun, it was loneliness, it was happiness, it was everything. It was life as whole…
Me work is me work, you know. There was once a time when I was there sitting on the sidewalk and don’t have nothing to do. But now is the time for me to work. I’m not dead, I’m just doing my job. I’m just doing my music. I’m just making sure that while the sun shines, I make a double hay so any day you erase one, there’s one for the rainy day. So, now is the time for me to gallop, hop, skip and dance, and gallivant to make progress. That’s when I check out Jammy’s camp. All now is working moments.
FIRST TUNE AS SHABBA RANKS:
“Hol’ a Fresh” was the first tune. Originally “Fresh” was my lyrics. I wrote those lyrics. But Red Dragon had a more advantage towards studio and he went to studio and did “Hold a Fresh.” Because in those days a man and woman could hear something and they gone with it. They just take it and gone.
While I was in Jammy’s camp, I used to go on the sound system and DJ. Many people tell Jammy say, “Is Shabba dis? The original man fi ‘Hold a Fresh’ you know!” So, Jammy said he would love to hear my version of “Hold a Fresh”. So, I just went into studio and voiced “Hold a Fresh.” It didn’t break me on the side of Jamaica, but it gave me a shake up within the England prospect. It give me a nice name within the community of England and certain parts of America, you know. Word get back to me and I say, “Bwoy, ‘Hold a Fresh’ ah gwan good!” That was the “Original Fresh.”
I lose a lot that way. Yeah, just chatting lyrics idly and a man just take it to their advantage and go to studio and just put it on a record. Yeah man. But I feel no way about it. Because what? If you have gold and be playing around with gold, and someone else turns gold to diamonds. You can’t touch them. You can’t be like corrupted because you’ve been an idler. You’ve been playing around. You’ve been playing around. And once you see that people are starting to use your merchandise, it’s time for you to work on it fe perk up yourself in order to sell your own merchandise. Yeah, man. Things change a lot, but it nuh change deep down, you know? It only change where the creativity is 100%. But, at least it’s much better than once because once someone would take it and record it. And now if they do that somebody will say, “Yo! Yuh pirate Shabba ting!” Or “Yuh take particular ting.” Or “Yuh thief couple ting.” And “Buju first mi hear dat.” Or “Ah Colonel old lyrics that.” You know. For real. People be aware of all pirates now. It’s more professional now.
CHANGES WITHIN DANCEHALL MUSIC:
The only changes that we have made since then is that we ain’t chatting over vocals within the dancehall. That’s the only thing. We don’t have the real ragamuffin dancehall session ah gwan again. It’s all about a jump-up ting and a sportin’ ting, and a more a fashionable ting now. It’s to another level. Once it was, sort of a laid-back ting. Now it’s a jump-up ting, man. It is more busy now. More excitement is coming out of it right now. Yeah, man. More excitement, more talent, more skill, more use of the street—particularly. This music is strictly for the use of the streets where the parents can’t afford to give the youths proper lifestyle. Dancehall is definitely for the use of the streets. Real youths. Most of us who come into the business, people say bwoy, we stupid or we foolish and many people don’t like us. But if they only knew what we went through in order to be where we are at, they’d be more appreciative of us as artists or musicians or DJs——or whatever they term us as. Because I was in the Valley of the Dead. Only God Almighty knows, you know. Only God Almighty knows. But the thing progress and youth of the streets keep rising. Within my time of trying to be popular, it used to be a one man issue or a two man issue. It ain’t like that anymore because as you look every day, another star is born from the ghetto. A star isn’t born from the hills and society either. It from the ghetts that the youth dem ah push up. So mi love it. More progress.
My father died before he behold certain things. Not saying that my father was against it. He wasn’t fully against it, you know, because he used to ask my little brother, “What is he saying? What type of noise is he making in the house? Where him ah go up wid de chat dem he have in ‘im mouth?” But, one day he went to cash his check and a sound system was playing somewhere uptown and they played one of my songs. And he said that they played it about three times. He came to my little brother and while he was giving him some dough he said, “Yo! I hear some song today.” And my little brother asked him, “What?!” He said, “Yeah, I hear one of the bwoy song today, you know. De bwoy wicked.” So when my little brother told me that my father said I’m “wicked” that gave me some more to go up and keep going. He never told me directly that I’m wicked. But, in his heart he was clapping me. He get the grip of what was really to happen, but he never live to see it. I give praises to him as a man today because parents have their rights to see the best way for their child. And if your momma is saying something that she feel is negative, it’s you to work and show her that it is positive. If your daddy is fighting against the negativity, you work so that they could all see that it’s positiveness. But, my mother is glad for me and everything, you know. Cause mi nah tief nobody tings and mi nah take no one’s life in order to obtain my bread when I was a young man. Now fame is here. It’s not to my head. I’m happy that I’m not in jail or dead, you know. For real.
INSPIRATION FOR THE TUNE “RESPECT”:
The reason why I wrote that song is to write a few lines of music where all of us is concerned with eternity. ‘Cause, I went to a dance a foreign one night and some boys were in the dance. Some younger artists were there and ting, and I was in the dance that day. Sit down flat pon de ground. It was some cool runnings I was on and ting. I was just chilling out on a whole. And I see the way artists come in and a gwan. Dem a gwonny–gwonny and a act like [sucks teeth]. They seem like they’re just happy out on the beach. I know I’m a man and I know what I went through and how I lived and I say, “Bwoy, look how successful Brigadier Jerry is. Respect. Big Youth, Josey Wales. Respect. U Roy. See it? Every man has somebody who they respect. I don’t want anybody to come respect me. Respect the work that I do. Because you tell me you respect me and then you turn your back and call me a puss hole and an idiot. So, don’t bother give me respect! Give yourself some respect. Some self–respect! Don’t give me none. Give yourself that! See, so, because they don’t have the respect for themselves, I just sort of say, “Some likkle entertainer what is the matter with them?” You know, it’s all about the respect. For real. Because when Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer sang, and they were doing what they do… or when Big Youth and U Roy was there… If they never did the work, I couldn’t be here today. Their work lives on forever so I could follow them. So when I say “us”, I mean like me–myself, Admiral Bailey, Papa San, Ninja Man, Major Mackerel, Lecturer… The DJs of today’s generation are supposed to show respect to us. That’s how it goes. You find some who respect and you find some that don’t respect. Because of the life that I live and the things that I have seen, that’s why I do that track, you know… In music, no one is bigger than no one. No man is greater than no one… Today for me, tomorrow for you. Yeah? I am doing what I am doing. And you are doing what you are doing. And if I respect you and you respect me, who can go wrong? No one can go wrong.
CLASHING WITH NINJA MAN:
Long time mi nuh see ‘im, yuh know? One thing I would say to him, “Right now, Rude Bwoy, you have a talent and I have talent. And you fi your own in the right way, just like how I use my own in the right way,” is the most I would say to him. “God blessed you with a talent so just use it for good.” We [Shabba and Ninja] did a lot of things. Yeah, we did a lot of things. I remember one time when we went on a rampage. We did a lot of things in order for people to have something. No man is better than no man. And no man is more wicked than no man. The only one who is better than or more wicked than is the one that is dead because they can’t move. I’m not made out of flesh and blood and you’re made out of diamonds and gold. We all are flesh and blood. We all are one. Mine is mine and yours is yours. Don’t try to erase mine. Remember the same people that say ray, they’re the same ones that say foolishness. So, idiot artists, remember that. It’s not like we’re getting younger, we’re gettin’ older. And music is something that flourishes. Yes, it really flourishes. And every day it’s another start at it being born. Only salvation lasts forever. It’s all about getting it. And making progress on it.
ON CLASHING IN GENERAL:
Clash of the dunce-head people, man. Clash of the bad man and corrupted people, star. There is never a time where a record is being released when two DJs are clashing with each other. See—they combining. So how are they going to stay there and clash against each other? Where do you see music clashing? Music hasn’t clashed yet. Music combines in order to make a better hit. Clashing destroys because when they clash, one is being disrespected, while the other is being jubilated. One’s chances go on line, and the world is competing against you. This is a question that I would ask all Jamaican artists and every reggae individual: “Why do you compete with each other when the world is competing against you?” The world is trying hard not to let our music get aired or played the way it should be—like other music—as the artists are clashing against each other to destroy what? See it? People take it as fun. They take it as fun. We have been through a lot of fun with the music already. We have been through a lot of corruption with the music already. It’s time to build the music now. It takes ten years for an artist to develop out of Jamaica or the Caribbean. Bob Marley died, yes, and it’s ten years after Bob Marley died I gain popularity or status. If one should kill me or to destroy what I am doing, then no one is going to respect that. When you’re going to come and clash with what I’m doing, you’re coming to disrespect what I am doing. Some love it, but that’s not good. I don’t see the goodness in it.
Music is for enjoyment and entertainment, and to clash it is not a form of entertainment. It’s a bout, not really a singing. Cause when people come to stage show they come to see two artists, yet when they see it, some are going to say, “That artist is a puss hole.” Because what? They come there with a thing on their minds. They come with negative things on their minds. They don’t come there to see entertainer and enjoy the entertainment. They come there to see folly. So, they go about to folly. But, some of them artists mostly … music together live forever. And clash together destroys it forever. We’re competing with ourselves and it will kill us. We need to live within ourselves and live with one another. Yeah, man. People still fighting against the music. All organizations, committees or whatever… If you check it out, there are a lot of people still fighting against the music, you know. Still fighting against the music, man! Radio people, everybody… Your music can’t be played on the radio station because you said that badness will go on forever. That’s not right. That’s not right. Yeah, but if the people who have been supporting the music for years stand up, they cannot destroy it. But if people outside see we’ve been destroying the artists ourselves, what do they expect other people to do? The people of the streets who’ve been supporting us [have the answer]. The people who know what is right from wrong. And that is the Jamaican community, the Caribbean community because they started it all. They made it and then therefore they break it. For real.
MOST AMAZING TOUR EXPERIENCE:
The most amazing thing I’ve seen is when I went to Africa, you know. That was the most amazing thing I’ve seen. Right now, put it like this, if I should go anywhere in the world, I can’t feel comfortable like in Africa. really. It’s the best place for me, you know. There’s a lot of things going on here, but you create love over there. Africa is the best I’ve seen. And the way in which the people receive me… I feel that is the place that I belong. For real. Love, you know. Ah mi best place dat. Best place I ever traveled. Best moment was greeting Nelson Mandela. Best time. You know, more times are coming up and more times is going to be here. But, my best time so far is when I traveled to Africa and met Nelson Mandela. The best time in touring anywhere. Yeah, man. That is the best thing I have accomplished so far. That moment, words cannot describe the moment, the time, the place, the feeling at that present time, you know. If I was to describe it, I would say it’s like a baby just born, you know. You’re getting your first kiss and you know everything is all set. A time where a Black man sees his roots. God knows, long live the continent of Africa because He has blessed them to overcome all the destruction that they have been going through. I feel young like I was a little baby. All things come to me. We went to Nigeria, Ghana. I saw Stevie Wonder in Ghana. Maybe one day Africa will be home sweet home… just like it was written in the days of the beginning. Yeah, man. I say, “Bwoy, Africa ah do it!”
To see the tribulation bring me down a lot. Especially to see what they are going through on that side of the world and black people are still killing black people. People just be hating people, you know. People just dislike it for no particular reason, you know. And they go through hell. We go through hell, too, you know, but theirs is a hell. For real. You can’t compare it. Jamaica sufferation is like Jamaica sufferation, and Africa sufferation is like Africa sufferation. No comparison, man. The youth of Africa have nothing at all. But, the youth of Jamaica, we have certain vibes at least. They even survive where they have nothing. Put us in the desert and we try our utmost best to make our way out.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DANCEHALL ARTISTS IN JAMAICA:
De blood throat politician dem nuh really care fi de youth dem, Star. Because a politician don’t deal with the community like how an artist stay with the community. It’s the people dat big yuh up and de people dem promote yuh so you can obtain, better yourself and your family. And yuh go turn ’round and mek it known dat you don’t really respect de people dem. Yuh deserve fi dead and mi nah hold back dat. Yuh deserve fi dead. Better yuh stay so and give respect to people and share anything yuh have and yuh live good inna de community and yuh nuh mix up, and just live life, Star. When the politician is not in the community, you know, the politician is gone. Him run gone. But the artist still deh yah inna de community. Because dat a one role mi love role more than anything else, you know. See it. Cause we’s always inna de community. Politician come ‘round, dem give yuh gun fi go murder yuh breddah fi all him money. See it. Musician come give you money fi yuh go buy food and put it in your pocket. Same way I tell you musician come give you all wha’ he can give you. And tomorrow ‘im can’t give yuh, yuh say ‘im a idiot. If you check it out, in America, or anywhere in the world, yuh nuh find dem kill off dem entertainers. The entertainer have to put himself within the range to lose ‘im life tragically, at the end of like a dark street corner. You know. Rough. It’s hard.
A$AP Ferg Talks “Shabba Ranks”
Right now, mi nuh care how dem gwan ah Jamaica. Mi nuh care what dem ah say in Jamaica. If the artists of Jamaica shut off their mouths right now and stop deal with the music, and sound system stop playing in Jamaica, dat wreck! And mi nuh have to ask nobody about that. And mi put dat publicly and let dem know say I’m a youth who comes from the ghetts ’cause I know what it is to be inna it. If we never have music dat wreck. For real. Destroy. Totally destroy. Man a shot out man brain, and a rob man fi a dumplin and a tear and a loot and a shoot. That’s why Jamaica out of order right now. Looting and a shooting, and wailing. Moaning and groaning. Patrick Ewing is a man of Jamaica and nuff Jamaican dog him. They say he doesn’t remember Jamaica. See it. When you’re down there with them, no man says anything. But as soon as you step off and to make some money and make a better life, everyone says you forget Jamaica. A so we stay.
Whosoever wants to say whatever they want to say, I’ll leave them to what I’m going to do. Just watch the movements. Many of them say that I was done before. Many of them said I could never produce a hit. When I just received my contract, many of them said I wasn’t going to make it. Producers who had been producing my songs for years when I received my deal and went back to Jamaica and tell them say “Yo! Produce a song for me,” they said I’m not gonna make it. So, I’m not gonna let whatever people say disturb the mind of this individual. The mind of this individual is constantly set on music and better life of living. That’s what I’m about. I don’t care about what they want to say. They can’t charge me guilty of nothing. All of them are fools ‘cause dem nuh know me.
It’s just one more thing I want to say: Peace, love and happiness to each one is nice, to who be good and to who be bad. But, remember, where there is injustice, there shall be justice. Where there is unrighteousness, there shall be righteousness. Where there is bad people, the good shall overcome. So, I am of the progress. And people who be of progress just keep your head to progress because it’s not very easy to progress. May God bless you to progress. To everyone listening to Shabba, Yo! Shabba love to hear ‘Mi love Shabba’ because I know what it is not to achieve love. Readers, the musical vibe, I love you and God bless you. We stand no chance without the people of Jamaica and the Caribbean community, so love you. Love you bad, bad, bad. If unno nuh love me, unno nuh love me. But, unno must love the progress of a man. For real. I can’t beg unno to love me and I can’t beg unno to like me. But, this is what I say: Love and respect the progress of a man because many be dead in order to get progress. Many be cripple in order to get progress. Many had to poison others to get the progress. So, while one is being progressive and successful, God bless that man. Give thanks all the time. God bless and Shabba Ranks set it.
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