Ali and Frazier – Uptown Top Ranking

Release Date: Aug 1993
Chart position: 33

Sorry for the delay, and a Happy New Year to all you Neggae fans. We’ve got some absolute delights coming up in the next few weeks, but let’s get this abomination out the way first.
Opportunistic tosh. Denigrates a reggae classic. Rushed to market to capitalize on the burgeoning Neggae movement (and did so with moderate success). Dogsh*t video. Ridiculous samples that make no f*cking sense whatsoever. It’s as if the song was produced via some massive sample fruit machine. We were given All that She WantsThat’s the way I like it and Uptown Top Ranking, but had they produced it the next day It would have been InformerLe Chic (Ces’t Freak) and Could you be Loved. Actually, that sounds quite good…
Is this worse than Slow and Sexy? The production is cheaper, but expectations are lower. They’re both as bad as each other in different ways. If Slow and Sexy is a big budget Hollywood flop (say CutThroat Island), then this is the Neggae equivalent of a cheapo British comedy starring Danny Dyer and Neil Morrissey. This is the Sex Lives of the Potato Men of Neggae.
I’m pretty sure this is the only Neggae entry that samples another Neggae song (answers on a postcard if I’m wrong) .And while this is entirely in keeping with the Jamaican ethos of versioning and reuse, it is done in such a parasitic manner that it gives sampling a bad name. In fact this isn’t sampling, it’s cannibalism.
Shame on You Ali and Frazier.
Score: 1/10 – purely for the fact that the video may have been shot in the Brixton Market arcades if which I have fond memories.

I am sure I will be forgiven for not investing too much time in this one. My immediate reaction was obviously that this is bad, but in the spirit of the blog I wanted to at least give it some thought. So here all the positives I could come up with:

  • The chorus is a little catchy
  • Everyone of the10 song sampled are OK
  • Its not as bad as Slow and Sexy
  • They have not killed anyone

Score: 1/10. Lets move on quick.

Okay, this is not a good song and it looks like they’ve borrowed some Ace of Base and KC and the Sunshine Band and weren’t even creative about the way they mixed it in. Poor, I’m surprised they didn’t throw in some Shaggy. To be honest, I tuned out fairly early on and there wasn’t much about it that got me back on track.
So we got two very average lady rappers dressed up in overalls in a market setting; the perfect setting for a neggae classic. So many options one might think, they could hop into a convertible jalopy, socialize with the locals have a mango cocktail even dance the night away. But no, we get another lazy and unimaginative video to compliment an equally poor effort!
Score: Put me down for a generous 2/10 – just for turning up, please don’t come back.

I wasn’t aware of this previously but had some hope as I like the original, however the dodgy effect at the video’s start dispel any lingering thoughts of an optimistic bent. The production on this is bad, like a neggae Jive Bunny,  it’s got KC and the Sunshine band, Donna and Althea and then shamelessly the Ace of Bass, it’s all been mashed together and sounds a mess. Ali and Frazier deliver passable vocals, but it’s a straight up karaoke cover with no originality at all. The video is just people berking about in front of a camera at Woking market, looks like an extended Sanatogen advert, uninspiring and sums up the crass nature of this song’s attempted cash in.
Score: Ali and Frazier ‘ You’re joking in Woking’ – 1/10

This is bad, really bad, and not in the yoot’s sense either, just shoddy.
Uptown Top Ranking by Ali and Frazier has nothing to it. They’ve lifted a vocal lick from KC and the Sunshine Band, taken a Reggae classic from Althea Forrest and Donna Reid, Laid the two over some cheap beats and mooched around in a nondescript market with a few pals from Lewisham. To make matters worse they’ve chucked in a sax lick from Ace Of Base All that she wants for good measure. You cant do that! That’s cheating.
The only way I can fathom that this idea came about was perhaps on a pirate radio station? Perhaps some DJ put together the three elements of this piece of thievery in a mix and somebody thought it would pass as a single. It happens from time to time. It was never going to work.
Ali and Frazier have nowhere near the measure of charisma of their namesakes. Not sure which is which but the one who looks a bit like John Fashanu clearly thought this was her big break. Cannot get enough of the camera, almost to the extent of pushing her chum Ali into the one pound fish stall in the periphery. It really is no surprise that this was a short lived career. Don’t tell her I said that though. She’d probably pull out some Fash Ninja moves and smash my teeth in. Actually almost as menacing as Smoking Joe himself.
What would the greatest Sportsman of the 20th Century say about this debacle?
Floats like The Hindenberg, stings like Herpes.
Score: 0 from me.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s