Shabba Ranks feat. Maxi Priest – House Call

Release Date: May 93
Chart Position: 8

So here we are again, another offering featuring Maxi Priest, the Crown Prince of Eggae. This time he’s teamed up with SHABBA! And whilst it’s not the worst offering either of them have come up with (see ‘Slow and Sexy’ and ‘One More Chance’) it’s still pretty flat. The first 15 seconds is promising and it sounds like it’s going to erupt into a Dance Hall classic, then the insipid instrumentation kicks in and the heart sinks as it takes any hope you had for the song, sits it down in a corner and bores it to death.
These two have the combined QC of Toyota and both stick to what they know best, Maxi with his generic reggae ballad crooning and Shabba chanting out unintelligible boasts about his sexual prowess, although this line ‘Its like a computer social program’ shows a prophetic streak, although his attempt at releasing his own facebook, fe’ book, wasn’t successful. The worst thing in this is Maxi Priest butchering Neggae’s greatest catchphrase with his pathetic attempt at aping it, it’s as bad as Will Smith.
The video is a dull formulaic tosh, based on standard R n’ B videos of the time, although you have to credit Shabba with turning up at all having been the victim of an attempted mugging by Edward Scissorhands en route. Overall it’s pretty dull, not awful but like watching Spurs in the nineties with no Ginola, a lesson in drudgery.
Score: 3/10 – eggaer than an advocaat and Rubicon cocktail

Not sure what to say about this really. For starters, Maxi clearly missed the memo about what the production was all about as he seems confused. He seems to be caught between thinking he’s producing a Boyz II Men cover, but behaving like he’s in a Phil Collins video. Shabba’s doing his thing which is fine, but put it together and it feels like a load of nothingness. Maxi’s moves are bad and remind me a bit of my dad dancing at a  wedding. It’s got the token Booty rubbing and dancing which is always pleasing but in a era flooded with this type of thing it feels cheap and easy.
The song its self is instantly forgettable in my mind. Shabba is good but I feel he is held back by Maxi. The song goes nowhere and has no development at all and after 30 seconds you’ve pretty much heard everything that you need to and it’s time to move on. Surprised it got to number 8, maybe we all got too carried away with the movement and would buy any old tat back then?
Score: An uninspired 4/10 from me

Shabba and Maxi, Maxi and Shabba, between the two of them we have seem the highs of Fe Real and Mr Loverman and the lows of Slow & Sexy and whatever the hell Maxi did with the white horse. This is somewhere in the middle of the pack for me.
Shabba is actually quite refined in his delivery through this, maybe even slightly subdued. It could possibly have something to do with the fact that the suit he’s wearing from Mr Loverman is now a shredded mess or he’s trying to slow it down and not outpace Maxi’s sweet vocals. I did enjoy Shabba’s dancing, almost Stu Barr like ticky tack heel tapping mixed in with some good old fashioned hip thrusts.
Although it blends well, it lacks the island tones i’m looking for. A bit too much R&B for me.
Score: 5/10 – not terrible, but not quite liltworthy either.

Shabba Ranks is really starting to get on my nerves. For me hes just got one of those faces. Every song/video he has featured on on this review seems rather formulaic.

1. Visit barbers for strange wedge like haircut.
2. Don strange attire. Something that looks urban yet futuristic.
3. Dance around like a rabbit with parkinson’s.
4. Rap repetitively like a deviant woody woodpecker on tramadol.
5. Bogle for the ladies.
6. Get someone to chuck in the odd “Shabba”. That’s me signature innit!

He’s awful, I find it difficult to look abjectly at any of his work. Why is he dressed like he’s a had a fight with a pack of wolves? Why does he stutter and repeat the first line of everything he records? Who knows ? Who cares?
Its a shame because I feel that musically this is Maxi Priests best offering to date. The song has a decent bass line and a good break. Its interesting enough when Maxi begins crooning and could go somewhere. Until Ranks turns up that is. Then he just goes on and on and on.
Maxi and poxy .
Score: 4 out of 10 for me.

Ignore what the others say, this is a 24-carat Neggae gem. It is the apex of Shabba Ranks’ Neggae oevre, the moment where his Soul-II-Soul, Sly-and-Robbie influenced Reggae’n’Blues was finally complimented with a decent melody.
From the opening gunshot beats and “FALSE PRETENDER!” holler, we are quickly immersed in a slice of pure ’93 rudeniss. This is the soundtrack to a time and place; Trevor Nelson playing it to death on Kiss FM, Reebok high-top trainers, Champion Jumpers, Benneton bags, Johnny Vaughan reviewing Reservoir Dogs on Moviewatch, Normski pratting about on Dance Energy. In a year or two this would all be gone. Soul II Soul would falter, Kiss FM would lose all its talent to Radio 1, upbeat swingbeat would be replaced by replaced by slicker R’n’B. For better or worse, Britpop would anglicise youth culture on the TV, on the radio and in record shops for the next ten years.
The production is similar but better to Mr. Loverman – the same team were assembled but they clearly had a few quid more to play with. The keys are fleshier, the bassline more inventive. Strings swirl in the middle eight.
And the clincher is Maxi Priest. This is his Neggae moment. “You’re body can’t lie-y-i-y-ie to me” is hookier than Abu Hamza – and his Shabba! shouts and dubwise chatter are lively and fresh.
Shabba is as Shabba does, I’ve built up an intolerance to him now. There is enough quality in this song to weather his mediocrity. It’s all about the melody.
Score: An underappreciated 8/10



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