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Revered in thedancehall scene as one of the genre’s most popular toasters, Shabba Ranks hasbeen an undeniable crossover success, finding critical and commercial successwith a radio-ready synthesis of reggae, hip-hop and R&B that’s made him thefirst dancehall artist in history to win a Grammy Award. Growing up in theKingston ghetto of Trenchtown – a neighbourhood which was also home to a youngBob Marley – Shabba Ranks was captivated by the local sound system scene, soon tryinghis hand at toasting over the performances of local DJs. He rose to prominenceduring a prolific period in the early ‘90s, which saw Ranks release some 50singles alongside producers Bobby Digital and Gussie Clarke. A major-label dealcame in 1991, leading to the release of As Raw as Ever, a mainstream successthat hit No 1 on the R&B chart and later earned a Grammy for Best ReggaeAlbum – an award which he would later win again with X-Tra Naked. The years thatfollowed saw Ranks issue several more albums, collaborating with Queen Latifah,KRS-One and Maxi Priest and consistently topping reggae, hip-hop and R&Bcharts. His hybrid sound draws from all three genres, bringing disparate soundsand riddims together with the gruff immediacy of his instantly-recognisablevocal hooks. Naturally talented, effortlessly charismatic and perpetuallyinfluential, Shabba Ranks is an ambassador for the vibrancy and spirit ofJamaican music.
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