12 Songs, 41 Minutes


About Ranking Toyan

In the early '80s, Ranking Toyan, often billed as just Toyan, recorded with some of Jamaica's top dub producers, most notably Henry "Junjo" Lawes, Scientist, and Jah Thomas, and generally did so at Channel One with the Roots Radics as his backing band. Though his success didn't come until the early '80s, Toyan began his career in the mid-'70s, when he performed with the top sound systems of Kingston. In 1978, he made a name for himself with "Disco Pants" and then a year later with "Nah Kill Nuh Man," both songs released by Roots Tradition as 7" singles. With the aid of producers Ernest Hookim and Scientist, Toyan made the jump to full-length albums in 1981 with his self-titled album. Later that same year came what is generally agreed upon as Toyan's masterpiece, How the West Was Won, an album with staggering credentials: released by Greensleeves, written and produced by Henry "Junjo" Lawes, backed by the Roots Radics, recorded at Channel One, and mixed by Scientist at King Tubby's studio. In 1982, Toyan teamed with Lawes and Scientist again for another impressive album, Spar With Me, and remained busy at work on his numerous 1983 releases: two albums with producer Jah Thomas, Ghetto Man Skank and Murder, the latter also featuring Tipper Lee and Johnny Slaughter; two albums with Lawes, Every Posse Want Me and DJ Clash, the former also featuring producer Delroy Wright, the latter Nocodemus; and an album with Tony Robinson and the Roots Radics, Nice Time. Following this enormous year of releases, Toyan's career quieted considerably, ultimately coming to an end in 1991 when he was murdered. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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