14 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

By the time of Sidewalk University’s release, Shinehead had established himself as a key player on New York’s flourishing dancehall scene. He'd made a name for himself as one of the sharpest deejays working for Tony Screw’s legendary Downbeat International soundsystem and displayed a truly startling stylistic versatility on record, coming across as a ruthless microphone controller at one moment and a silken-voiced crooner the next. Shinehead’s eclecticism attracted the attention of Elektra Records, which recognized his ability to appeal to listener sensibilities ranging from dancehall and reggae to hip-hop and R&B. Sidewalk University was Shinehead’s third full-length for Elektra and saw him finally achieving the crossover hit the label had long hoped for. This came in the form of “Jamaican in New York,” a lighthearted remake of Sting’s 1988 hit “Englishman in New York”; it was tender enough to appeal to mainstream listeners but kept a real emotional heft that made it an anthem for expatriate Jamaicans not just in New York, but the world over.

EDITORS’ NOTES

By the time of Sidewalk University’s release, Shinehead had established himself as a key player on New York’s flourishing dancehall scene. He'd made a name for himself as one of the sharpest deejays working for Tony Screw’s legendary Downbeat International soundsystem and displayed a truly startling stylistic versatility on record, coming across as a ruthless microphone controller at one moment and a silken-voiced crooner the next. Shinehead’s eclecticism attracted the attention of Elektra Records, which recognized his ability to appeal to listener sensibilities ranging from dancehall and reggae to hip-hop and R&B. Sidewalk University was Shinehead’s third full-length for Elektra and saw him finally achieving the crossover hit the label had long hoped for. This came in the form of “Jamaican in New York,” a lighthearted remake of Sting’s 1988 hit “Englishman in New York”; it was tender enough to appeal to mainstream listeners but kept a real emotional heft that made it an anthem for expatriate Jamaicans not just in New York, but the world over.

TITLE TIME
4:17
4:28
4:05
3:42
3:38
4:03
4:44
4:37
4:27
4:04
4:00
3:55
4:11
3:24

About Shinehead

The fact that Shinehead split his time growing up between Jamaica and America was reflected in his recordings; the Kent, England-born vocalist (born Edmund Carl Aiken) released several albums between the late '80s and early '90s that blended dancehall and ragga with hip-hop. Whether Shinehead was toasting or crooning or flat-out rapping, he always balanced his material between the positive and socially conscious with more lighthearted sentiments. He got involved with music by performing at New York sound systems in the early '80s and began releasing singles as early as 1984, including a cover of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," which truly got his career rolling. His recording schedule slowed down during the latter half of the '90s, but he returned in 1999 with Praises, an album that consisted mostly of covers. ~ Andy Kellman

  • ORIGIN
    Kent, England
  • GENRE
    Reggae
  • BORN
    10 Apr 1962

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