Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Shabba Ranks Tours Europe with Ruff Kut

It's been over ten years since dancehall's original Grammy Kid, Shabba Ranks, performed in Europe and from all accounts, his following there has not diminished significantly.
Shabba Ranks
Staying true to the genre, Shabba called for none other than the experienced band Ruff Kut - Beenie Man's band - to accompany him on tour, and quite sensibly, Ruff Kut packed their bags and caught a flight. That's probably not the prescription the Doctor, Beenie Man, would have ordered, but this has been a rough season for bands; they have been feeling the pinch of the recession as artistes have increasingly been forced to accept gigs that stipulate them working with tracks.
On Friday, Shabba played at the O2 Academy Brixton, to a sold-out venue, but even before that, the legendary status of the Ranks became apparent.
"People were lined up outside the rehearsal venue on Thursday evening waiting to get a glimpse of Shabba," a member of his touring party reported. "And at the concert itself, it was just 'maaad'. From Telephone Love with JC Lodge, who accompanied him on stage, to Housecall with with Maxi Priest, it was nothing short of electrifying."
But this is not surprising since Shabba, as a trailblazer, carved out his own destiny - with the ingenuity of his Specs Shang team - and took dancehall to places it had never been before and has not been since.
As one Shabba Ranks fan recalled, "Shabba during his heydays couldn't walk in peace through any airport, any part of the world, as he would be hounded by fans wanting autographs. Which of these dancehall acts with them whole heap of hype can say this?"
And Shabba, unlike many of the current crop of ghetto superstar artistes, knows how to show humility and respect for the elders. In an interview after the Ice Cream Summerfest in the US, in July this year, Shabba said whatever he achieved was made possible through the hard work of artistes like Yellow Man, Josey Wales, Brigadier Jerry, General Echo and Major Worries. "That's five people who would have already worked in order for me to update certain things", he said.
He gave the reason for his hiatus as his desire to focus on his family life. "Make good money... and then me chill out to make sure that the educational development of mi sons dem well potent," he said.
When asked about his legacy, Shabba noted, "Mi legacy a di youths dem who a come up right now and a do the music... Buju, Shaggy Bounty, Mavado and Vybz Kartel. Me mek a million dollars, the next man come up and mek 10 million and the next one mek a hundred million, and so on."
Declaring that this year is his time to shine, Shabba announced: "Me deh yah!"