Classics: Shabba Ranks feat. Johnny Gill – Slow And Sexy (Edit) (Epic)
‘Slow And Sexy’ or when R&B meets Ragga/Dancehall. With Johnny Gill joinin’ forces with Shabba Ranks back in 1992. One of the definitive highlights from the latter’s ‘X-Tra Naked’ album. This not comin’ as a surprise at the end. With ‘Slow And Sexy’ brilliantly displayin’ the best of both worlds. From Ranks‘ powerful Ragga toasts. To Gill‘s ultra soulful riddims (so to say).
Quite strange though to notice it didn’t get a bigger following Stateside. Climbing at #33 in the Charts as compared to #17 in the U.K.. With fierce production work by the likes of Clifton Dillon and mixing work by the likes of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
Missed it? Check it out and let us know what you think…
– Jamaica is not only the motherland of Reggae. It’s also the craddle of Ragga / Dancehall. A genre where, just like in Hip-Hop, sampling plays a key role in addition to the toasting which is the equivalent to rappin’. Speakin’ of which Shabba Ranks has established himself as an ambassador in the early 90’s.
Ranks delivered an impressive series of 6 albums between 1988 and 1991 which saw him signing with Epic Records. He eventually collaborated with Chaka Demus then Home T and Cocoa Tea at the time.
He scored his first success back in 1990 with ‘Dem Bow’ along with producer Bobby ‘Digital’ Dixon. A few months after the release of the first version of ‘Mr Loverman’ featuring Deborahe. A cut that would become his biggest classic ever, as re-recorded along with Maxi Priest‘s sampled lyrics from ‘Housecall’.
Another hit followed in 1993 under the form of a Rap/Reggae version of Sly & The Family Stone‘s classic ‘Family Affair’, as a part of the ‘Addams Family Values’ OST.
In addition to this, the man has collaborated with countless luminaries. Fro Scritti Politti (‘She’s A Woman’) to KRS-One (‘The Jam’). But also Maxi Priest (‘Housecall’), Johnny Gill (“Slow And Sexy’) and Queen Latifah (‘What’Cha Gonna Do?’). Not to mention Eddy Murphy and Material among others.
Ranks progressively left the spotlights from then. Remembered for some controversial purposes back in 1992. When asked to give his thoughts about Buju Banton‘s hit song ‘Boom Bye Bye’ on British TV Channel 4. Eventually stating that the “word of God” advocated the death of homosexuals…
Then, if it wasn’t enough, Epic dropped him from their catalogue in 1996 after the relatively disappointing results of his third album – ‘A Mi Shabba’ – for them the year before.
Livin’ in NYC, he made a partial comeback in 2007. This when sharing the bill with Busta Rhymes on a cut called ‘Clear The Air’. He then released a single – ‘None A Dem’ – on Big Ship‘s Pepper Riddim. And in 2012 he appeared on ‘Boy Toy’ from Tech N9ne‘s EP ‘E.B.A.H.’.
Ranks got reportedly working on a new album the year after…
– WDC native Johnny Gill started singin’ at 5 in a family Gospel group – Little Johnny & Wings Of Faith – along with his brothers. He launched his professional career back in 1983, after childhood friend Stacy Lattisaw suggested him to record a demo. A demo which fell into the hands of Atlantic Records CEO, resulting in a record deal for him. He released not only 2 albums for the label. But also a duet album – ‘Perfect Combination’ – with Stacy Lattisaw. An opus which includes the brilliant although quite underrated ‘Block Party’ produced by Narada Michael Walden.
Gill‘s profile reached a new step when Michael Bivins invited to join him Ricky Bell, Ronnie DeVoe and Ralph Tresvant under the New Edition guise. And eventually replace Bobby Brown who was on his way to launch his solo career…
A teenage member band, NE switched to a more mature direction with producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, recording classics such as ‘Can You Stand The Rain’, ‘N.E. Heartbreak’, and ‘If It Isn’t Love’.
Emerging as a New Jack Swing heavyweight, Gill would then release a second eponymous album back in 1990, but this time on Motown. He then scored his biggest solo classic with ‘Rub You The Right Way’ along with the same production team. DJ Eddie F and Pete Rock aka The Untouchables responsible for the remix with C.L. Smooth delivering an additional Rap part on it.
1992 saw him makin’ extra noise with Ragga toaster Shabba Ranks on the memorable ‘Slow And Sexy’. Meanwhile ‘Maybe’ from his 1996 ‘Let’s Get The Mood Right’ album is seen by many as one of his biggest vocal performances.
Gill eventually joined Keith Sweat and Gerald Levert to form LSG the year after.
Strangely enough, he would put his solo career between the brackets for 15 years. Making his return back in 2011 with ‘Still Winning’. Then releasing his last album to date – ‘Game Changer’ – 3 years after…