Shabba Ranks (born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon; January 17, 1966
in Sturgetown, St. Ann, Jamaica) is a Jamaican dancehall recording
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.
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 American 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, which
critics have noted as a testament to his popularity.
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.
 Recent news
Today, Ranks lives in New York City. Ranks made a partial comeback
in 2007 when he appeared on a song called "Clear The Air" by
Busta Rhymes, which also features Akon.
In 1992, during an appearance on Channel Four music show The Word,
he advocated the crucifixion of 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
* 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
* 1995 "Shine Eye Gal" - Shabba Ranks Featuring Mykal Rose - UK Number
* 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
* 1991 As Raw As Ever Produced by Multiple producers incl Steelie & Clevie, "Bobby
Digital B" Dixon, Mikey Bennett (Two Friends Label) & others - UK
* 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
* 1995 A Mi Shabba Produced by Multiple producers incl Bobby "Digital
* 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 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 Radio West in popular videogame Grand Theft Auto San Andreas.