Reggae Grammy Winner Shabba Ranks to Perform in Miramar

by Howard Campbell

MIRAMAR – No artist defined the flamboyance of dancehall music in the 1990s more than Shabba Ranks. He won back-to-back Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album and collaborated on hit songs with Eddie Murphy and Johnny Gill.

Shabba Ranks in Miramar
Shabba Ranks
Photo Credit: Davidi Photo

Shabba, who endeared himself to American pop fans with songs like Mr. Loverman and Housecall (with Maxi Priest), is scheduled to perform at Miramar Cultural Center on May 12.

In 1993 when he won his second Grammy with Xtra Naked, his management and marketing team were based in South Florida. That team was Shang Records, led by Clifton “Specialist” Dillon and Luther “Luther Mack” McKenzie.

McKenzie met the deejay through Dillon just after he signed to Epic Records, the home of Michael Jackson and Luther Vandross.

Shabba A Pop-Star

Their immediate goal was to break him outside the Diaspora market.

“The marketing plan was genius because instead of promoting Shabba as a dancehall artist he was promoted as a pop star. Top- quality videos accompanied every single release. Specialist gave Shabba a unique look that defined his persona. Shabba lived up to the look and the hype he was and still is an incredible artist,” said Luther Mack.

That unique look included oversized, Afrocentric costumes by Jamaican designer Earl “Biggy” Turner. The look complemented Shabba’s African tribal hairstyle. As Raw as Ever, his first album for Epic, produced the hit singles, Trailer Load A Girls and Housecall.

Xtra Naked fared even better. It yielded hits in Mr. Loverman (with Chevelle Franklin), Ting A Ling and Slow And Sexy, a song with soul singer Johnny Gill.

Shabba also collaborated with Eddie Murphy on the 1993 song, I Was A King. The video for which was filmed in Port Antonio in Portland parish, eastern Jamaica.

Born in rural St. Ann parish, Shabba Ranks moved to Kingston, Jamaica’s capital. As a boy and grew up in Seaview Gardens, a tough community that also produced Bounty Killer and Elephant Man.

After cutting his teeth on local sound systems, he had a series of hardcore hit singles in the late 1980s and early 1990s for producers Bobby Digital and King Jammy including Peenie Peenie, Wicked inna Bed, Just Reality and Love Punaany Bad.

They set the tone for his success with Epic.



South Florida Caribbean News

The SFLCN.com Team provides news and information for the Caribbean-American community in South Florida and beyond.

Related Articles

Back to top button