by Howard Campbell
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Music producer Bobby Digital, who helped guide Shabba Ranks’ career from hardcore dancehall act to Grammy winner, died in his native Kingston, Jamaica on May 21.
The 59 year-old’s death was kidney-related, according to his son, music producer Sheldon “Calibud” Stewart.
Born Robert Dixon, Digital started his career in the early 1980s as an audio engineer and understudy with producer Lloyd”King Jammy” James. He was engineer for many of James’ biggest productions including Frankie Paul’s I Know The Score and Sara, Pinchers’ Denise; and Admiral Bailey’s Jump Up.
He became a full-fledged producer late that decade, first hitting the charts with Peenie Peenie by Shabba Ranks.
Digital had a golden run during the 1990s when he produced a number of hit songs by Shabba Ranks. Among them were Just Reality, Live Blanket and Wicked In A Bed.
He is one of the producers for the deejay’s Grammy-winning album, As Raw as Ever.
As his reputation grew, Digital produced Till I’m Laid to Rest by Buju Banton; Cocoa Tea and Admiral Tibet’s Serious Times, Garnet Silk (It’s Growing), and Sizzla (Black Woman and Child).
Digital’s catalog has two outstanding albums — Morgan Heritage’s Don’t Haffi Dread and Da Real Thing by Sizzla.
In 2018, VP Records released Volume 1: X-Tra Wicked and Volume 2: Serious Times, a double compact disc containing 40 songs produced by Bobby Digital.
At the time, he reflected on his career.
“I feel proud ’bout everything. Over the years yuh try to be better than before an’ maintain a sound what grow on people. Di greatest thing is when a man hear yuh song an’ can identify it same time…him jus’ sey ‘a Bobby song dat’,” he said.