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Get Up Stand Up

Shabba Ranks

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Album Review

This is a strange but highly effective Frankenstein's monster of an album, a grab-bag of new songs recorded under the aegis of King Jammy and remixes of older tracks from Shabba Ranks' catalog of hits. The combination of Shabba Ranks and King Jammy is simply a can't-miss proposition, and both are at the top of their powers on most of these performances. The remixes of the title track, "Can't Keep Me Down," "Halla Fi Buddy," and "Live Blanket" are effectively muscled-up and provide a nice sort of punctuation scattered among the more standard-issue dancehall fare, but even the more pedestrian numbers are quite effective: "Best Grandfather" bounces along on a surprisingly gentle bed of percolating percussion and Ranks rides the rhythm with his typical expert energy; he's joined by Lady Saw for a fine combination performance on "Wine Me Tonight"; and "Mus Love Reggae," despite its banal lyrical concerns, offers both a powerfully churning rhythm from King Jammy and a nicely flowing chat from Ranks. "Can't Keep Me Down" suffers a bit from Ranks' disregard for the song's key, and "Mus Haffi Learn" feels halfhearted and tossed-off. But overall, this album is well worth hearing.

Biography

Born: 17 January 1966 in St. Ann's Parish, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '10s

During his heyday, Shabba Ranks was arguably the most popular dancehall toaster in the world. He was a massive crossover success in the U.S., thanks to an openly commercial hybrid of reggae and hip-hop, and also to prominent duet partners like Maxi Priest, Johnny Gill, and KRS-One. All of this brought him several hit singles and albums on the R&B charts in the early '90s, and made him the first dancehall artist to win a Grammy. Ranks' distinctive, booming growl of a voice earned him many imitators,...
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Get Up Stand Up, Shabba Ranks
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