12 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Gappy Ranks is a rough-voiced singer and DJ from Harlesden, a hardscrabble suburb of northwestern London home to one of the city’s largest communities of Jamaican immigrants. As a youth, Ranks found inspiration not only in the classic reggae that his parents loved—foundation singers and DJs like Alton Ellis, Dennis Alcapone, Bob Marley, and Horace Andy—but also in the fierce gun talk of more modern DJs like Ninjaman and Courtney Melody and in the streetwise lyrics of American rappers like Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. Put the Stereo On reflects this deeply eclectic musical upbringing. Though the basic rhythms here are built out of golden-age roots and rocksteady tracks from Studio One, Treasure Isle, and others, Raks’ delivery is decidedly modern, balancing the influence of contemporary DJs like Spragga Benz and Beenie Man against the more nimble lyrical style of American emcees. Particularly remarkable are Ranks’ imaginative reworkings of classics like Tenor Saw’s “Pumpkin Belly” and The Wailers’ “Soul Rebel”.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Gappy Ranks is a rough-voiced singer and DJ from Harlesden, a hardscrabble suburb of northwestern London home to one of the city’s largest communities of Jamaican immigrants. As a youth, Ranks found inspiration not only in the classic reggae that his parents loved—foundation singers and DJs like Alton Ellis, Dennis Alcapone, Bob Marley, and Horace Andy—but also in the fierce gun talk of more modern DJs like Ninjaman and Courtney Melody and in the streetwise lyrics of American rappers like Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. Put the Stereo On reflects this deeply eclectic musical upbringing. Though the basic rhythms here are built out of golden-age roots and rocksteady tracks from Studio One, Treasure Isle, and others, Raks’ delivery is decidedly modern, balancing the influence of contemporary DJs like Spragga Benz and Beenie Man against the more nimble lyrical style of American emcees. Particularly remarkable are Ranks’ imaginative reworkings of classics like Tenor Saw’s “Pumpkin Belly” and The Wailers’ “Soul Rebel”.

TITLE TIME
2:55
3:47
3:16
3:16
2:22
3:33
3:26
3:26
3:17
3:24
3:42
3:47

About Gappy Ranks

Recalling the '90s -- the heyday of British artists like Maxi Priest and Bitty McLean -- singer Gappy Ranks brings U.K. reggae to the world. Born Jacob Lee Williams, the London-based artist was struggling to keep from being homeless when his career began, but working with radio and playing numerous live shows helped him step up. In 2009 he signed with Greensleeves, releasing his debut album for the label, Put the Stereo On, in 2010. The throwback effort was filled with nostalgia for the reggae of the '60s, but his 2011 release, Thanks & Praise, was more forward-thinking, featuring many dancehall cuts and a sure R&B influence. His 2013 release, Shining Hope, continued to blend genres. Released by the VP imprint Hot Coffee Music, it included the Bob Marley tribute "Everything's Gonna Be Alright." In 2014 he collaborated with producer Tom Chasteen for Gappy Ranks Meets Dub Club, a set of six new songs and four dub mixes released by the Stones Throw label. The German production crew Jugglerz and American vocalist J Boog both landed on his 2016 Hot Coffee LP, Guide Me. A year later, he returned with his eighth studio album, Pure Badness. ~ David Jeffries

  • ORIGIN
    Harlesden, London, England
  • GENRE
    Reggae

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