Shabba Ranks (born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon on 17 January 1966, in Sturgetown, St Ann's, Jamaica) is known as one of the most popular dancehall artists ever. Ranks gained his fame mainly by practicing dee jaying rather than singing tunes similarly to his contemporaries.
Starting out on the King Jammys Superpower sound system in Jamaica, Shabba quickly emerged on the Jamaican and international stages in the late 1980's with a number of fellow artists. These include the British vocalist Maxi Priest; reggae singers Cocoa Tea, Crystal, and Mykal Rose and R&B singer Johnny Gill; in addition to working with luminaries Chuck Berry and American rappers KRS-One and Chubb Rock.
His biggest hit non-Jamaican hit was "Mr. Loverman", although in Jamaica and for many reggae lovers, this was not his best work. Other, more appreciated tracks by reggae enthusiasts, include "Respect", "Pirates Anthem", "Trailor Load A Girls", "Wicked in Bed", "Caan Dun", and "Ting A Ling".
He won back-to-back Grammy awards in the Reggae category in 1991 & 1992, the first dancehall deejay to do so. He also His later reputation was badly damaged by his explicitly homophobic views and lyrics.
This was evidenced by a particularly notorious incident on the Channel 4 programme 'The Word' where he appeared to advocate the crucifixion of homosexuals and was condemned for his comments by presenter Mark Lamarr.
Following this episode, and subsequent negative media coverage, his career never fully recovered. He was eventually dropped by his American record label, Epic Records, in 1996. Anti-homosexuality is a common viewpoint in the reggae-dancehall community in Jamaica; Shabba Ranks is not the only artist to have referred to such matters in song.
Later reggae artists that have come under criticism for their homophobic views include Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Elephant Man, and Sizzla.Wicked In Bed is featured on the Reggae radio station K-JAH Radio West in popular videogame Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, released in October 2004.
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