Shabba Ranks feat. Patra & Terri & Monica ‎– Family Affair

Release Date: Dec 93
Chart Position: 18

If nothing else I have to give this twat some credit for his persistence, it seems like every other week I look at the entry for the Hot 90 and take a sigh as yet again I’m forced to sit through another 4 minutes of the strutting sex pest. This week was particularly filling me with dread as he’s covering a stone cold classic by Sly and the Family Stone, which he has the potential to really make a mess off and not being one to let you down he takes out little Shabba and Ranks all over the song.  Right at the intro the bassline kicks in and seems very familiar, reminds me of ‘Good Times’ which is pretty clever as I’ve never heard it sampled before. I’m sure in the boardroom of such companies like P+G this is described as ‘looking backwards to go forwards’ but in the court of neggae it gets a verdict of lazy, uninspired shit.
The lyrics for once aren’t about Shabba’s questionable seduction techniques, which is pleasing really with the song being called ‘Family Affair’ as it’s finally found the line that Shabba won’t cross in pursuit of sowing his seeds of rape, basically Ched Evans rates as ‘G’wan’ whilst Fritzl even invokes a ‘Nah mon’ from Shabba. Patra pops in half way through for a standard bit of toasting, which is ok but it’s going to take more than that to lift this humdrum effort. The video looks like it’s gone for the classic American RNB video look of that time but with a tenth of the budget and was apparently directed by Underwhelming Williams, Hype’s less talented brother. It looks like the video was shot in America which may explain why Shabba has toned down his clothing a bit, shredded white leather jump suits don’t cut it on Staten Island son. The most positive thing about the video is that the villains from Superman 2 seem to have adjusted to their circumstances and decided to deal with eternal imprisonment by starting happy multicultural families, bravo General Zod and friends.
Score: Like all affairs this is ultimately a cheap and ill conceived idea – 1/10

The highs and lows of Neggae couldn’t be more apparent than Shabba’s feeble effort this week and Chaka Demus and Pliers stunning tune last week! Mr Ranks has been a top contributor to the Hot 90, popping up every few weeks with varying degrees of success. Unfortunately  it appears that his offerings have become stale, boring and far too easy to predict.
So this song was paired up with the Addams Family film in 1993, perfect, I couldn’t think of a better combination than these two. Shocker of a film, shocker of a song. I base my description of the film on the trailer as I haven’t seen it, nor do I want to, so it automatically falls into the category of shocker. I’ve listened to this song exactly twice (8 minutes and 4 seconds) to see if it would get any better or if I was missing something. Nope, it’s still bad and doesn’t have many redeeming qualities.
The video is as good as Shabbas rapping… coarse, grainy and low budget. Enough said about that.The vocals and bassline are predictable, Patra doesn’t do much to add to it. So, enough said about that, too.
Score: Let’s move on to next week – 2/10.

It’s a Family Affair; great original track, terrible cover!
It’s nothing more than Shabba toasting over the bassline combined with a synthesized chorus and the Patra chick adds pretty much nothing to the whole shambles. It seems to start and end nowhere; the start, middle and end are exactly the same! Its boring, cheap, easy, lazy, I could go on and on but I can’t be bothered.
What on earth is the video about? One minute it looks to be a home made wedding video, next it’s some urban try hard nonsense! All crap.
Score: Sorry Shabba, It’s a f*cked up affair – 1.5/10

Oh hello Shabby, your back again! and what have you come as this time?
What a tool.
It seems our old friend Shabba Ranks has gone away and had another identity crisis. Or is it a calculated homage to 90’s Hollywood icon Wesley Snipes? After rolling out his Simon Phoenix cossy in the video to Slow and Sexy with Johnny Gill, it would appear that Shabbs has come back in his new Wesley Snipes outfit. It’s clearly modelled on Nino Brown, the Drug King pin from New Jack City (Mario Van Peebles directorial debut.) He even parades around with pride in front of a tower block in the video, which no doubt is full of naked crack heads running around fighting over a ten bag.
It seems Shabba’s been to the Kriss Kross dance school in his spare time as well. Except he’s slightly off the mark with his Jump Jump Jazz hands manoeuvre.
All in all its a poor offering, Shabba Ranks doing s murky Swing beat , Nu Jack offering. Its not Neggae, no matter how many boss eyed Jamaican hard girls turn up and start spitting lyrics over it. The video’s cheap, tries to go all all artsy towards the back end when they run out of ideas. The whole mirror thing looks like it was done on Hewlett Packard Video editor.
The beats are cheap, the music synthetic and abhorrent. Not surprising that this song was used for the OST of the Adams Family 2. A mutant of a film that nearly made my eyes bleed. A long host of stars have covered this song, Iggy Pop, John Legend, Joss Stone to the name buy a few. Shabba is bottom of the pile and a long way behind.
A family affair? What would your mother think?
Score: 2

Ugh, Shabba again. The proverbial fart in the lift of Neggae. I swear I lose a day of my life every time I have to listen to his music. I’ve noticed he loves a ‘feat.’, his only real solo effort so far has been Mr. Loverman – maybe his record company thought he could hide in the background or something.
By this point in his career Shabba had cracked the States, and thus his music was more NY than JA. And with the help of US producers and perfomers, he was dogged in his pursuit to create the perfect Neggae-Swingbeat hybrid banger. Unfortunately for him, he lacked the pop nouse to do it and it had already been done by the Teddy Riley and Apache mandem here.
Patra/Terri/Monica are nice on the eye and the ear, but that’s it. The video’s awful. The only redeeming feature in the whole thing is the use the bassline from Vaughan Mason & Crew’s Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll. After looking up the producer, I was pleasantly surprised to discover it was an early effort from super-producer Salaam Remi. He actually crops up on the Neggae Hot 90 quite a few times (best Neggae Producer of all time anyone?) – with the last being on the godawful Slow & Sexy. He will later go on to produce the Neggae masterpiece Here Comes the Hotstepper. I therefore take comfort from the fact that he was getting better with every release, and that this song paid some of his rent and put some food in his belly.
Score: 3/10, Salaam Alaikum.



Chaka Demus & Pliers – Twist and Shout

Release Date: Dec 93
Chart Position: 1

It’s apt that when I last reviewed these two on She Don’t Let Nobody a fortnight ago, I likened them to the Lennon/McCartney of Neggae. Because here they are covering a Beatles breakthrough hit – the hit the Beatles recorded in Abbey Road studios 50 years ago THIS VERY WEEK. After the lackluster effort of SDLN, I think we were all thinking “Help! Don’t Let Me Down! Get Back and give us a neggae banger”. And they have.
Twist and Shout is a riot from the opening skanking drum-break to the party-in-full-swing fade-out. It deservedly got to Number one, and the love affair between these two Jamaican genii and the British record buying public was on again. It’s also our first introduction to Jack Radics, a chap who will appear again later on the Neggae Hot 90 on Josephine. What an entrance and what a voice!
When Billy Preston joined the Beatles as a guest, it made them all pull their fingers out. Well I think Radics had that affect here on Chak-man and P-dog. HE MADE THEM RAISE THEIR GAME. And the way he saunters into this video is a bit like when Baloo enters the monkey village during I Wanna be Like You. In summary:

jackLoads of great musical moments in this here version too; my particular favourite is the chihuahua style yapping that exists in the background for the entire song. Pliers as per usual brings his A-game – silkily crooning throughout and still managing to sneak in a Bob Marley reference (“I don’t wanna wait in vain”). Meanwhile, the big man Mr. Demus shows his softer side with some delicate counter-melodies – and the fact that the the girl in question makes him quite emotional (mi bawl, mi bawl, MI BAWL!!!). Frankly after a few duffers recently, it’s great to have a bit of class to review. Good to have you back chaps.
Score: 9 out of 10 (only because I’m sparing a 10 for them later.)

I’m definitely starting to recognize a trend in Neggae, the cover version, and here the Shearer and Sheringham of Neggae take on the Fab Four with the help of Neggae’s Darius Vassell (great debut then nothing) – Jack Radics. The Beatles are one of my favourite bands, I remember trying to sign them for Raas Records at their debut gig which took place in Liverpool’s famous Cavern Club on the 9th of February 1961. I was waiting for the end of their performance before approaching them when I was offered a drink by a dapper young man named Brian, I’m not sure what happened after this but I woke up 4 hours later, naked, in a skip and had a limp for days after, the rest is history.
The song sets out it’s stall immediately, it’s not going to be subtle, straight in with that Beatles sample then a skanking beat which defies you not ‘get up, get up, get up, one time’. Jack Radics takes the first verse and as soon as he opens his mouth it’s apparent his heartfelt soulful exaltations are going to blend perfectly with Chaka’s deep bass and the sweet serenades of Pliers, one part Malibu, one part Red Stripe, one part Lilt, the perfect Jamaican turbo shandy. Jack Radics is quite lucky his voice is so great as his waistcoat has clearly been borrowed from the Big Break costume department, fortunately he cements his reputation as the ‘Cocker of the Carribean’ so we can forgive him this sartorial faux pas. Chaka Demus and Pliers are basically the mailmen of Neggae and yet again they deliver on this track, the seamless interplay between the two which is reminiscent of Manchester United’s slightly dodgily named ‘Soul Brothers’. The production does exactly what you’d hope, it Neggaefies the Beatles, so run along Easy Star All Stars, CD and P did it first and better. This is basically the ultimate Neggae wedding anthem, only last week I was at the nuptials of Rusty Lee and Darcus Howe, it was proving a slightly stale affair until Rodigan spun this and the rest of the night went off like a firecracker.
Score: 8/10 – much better than their ode to communism on the b-side, Chak in the USSR.

Summer fun at its finest. Chaka Demus and Pliers keep the neg rolling along with a nice adaptation of the 1961 song penned by Phil Medley and Bertrand Russell Berns. There have been numerous covers of this song each done in a slightly different way, but this version however is Neggae Hall-of-Fame-worthy!
The number 1 position in the UK charts is a true reflection of the love that we all felt toward these lovable islanders. I will say it again – we do not need fancy-shmancy beats, off the scale videos or anything else for that matter to make Neggae work. It needs to be simple, tropical and fun. This is simple (a good song to cover, negged up nicely), tropical (island street dancing, sun and big smiles) and fun (kept me entertained for almost 4 minutes, smiling and head bobbing at my desk whilst I peer out of the window and see the dark clouds hovering above Virginia Beach.)
I’m not going to delve into the song and video too much, but I will say that I’m sufficiently impressed with Chaka Demus and Pliers to give them another high score. I’m off to buy some Red Stripe after this one, Cheers!
Score: 9/10 for making me feel like I’m on holiday in Jamaica for four minutes.

These boys were good.
Smashed it with Tease Me then cooled their jets off with a soul cover in the form of She Don’t let nobody. Which way were they going to go next? Twist n Shout sees our Neggae champions draft in Jack Radics and the Taxi Gang to venture on to the sometimes risky ground of Covering the Beatles. Many have failed. Not Chaka And Pliers though.
From the outset this feels good. Good Neggae drum lick intro and not a great deal has to be done with the original Lennon and McCartney guitar melody. The sound on the original was quite steely, if anything the tempo has dropped slightly. Putting you into a casual island skank.
Enter a safari clad Chaka Demus (who is looking more like Cameroon Legend Roger Milla with every release ) with some prize toasting, in friendly competition for placement with Jack Radics. Radics teeing up the stage for Pliers to come in with some sultry vocals.
Drafting in Radics was a master stroke. If you think back to the gruffness of John Lennon’s vocals in the original there was no way that the pair would pull this off without sounding eggy and taking away the essence of this feel good Neggae classic.
The monkey noise is used to good effect. It reminds me of this classic from later years, perhaps our boys provided the inspiration for Planet Funk. Always sounds good blasting out of a good system when you’re 3 pints to the good. Always coaxes people away from the bar and onto to the dance floor, as per the video.
There’s no frowns in this video, no one is over serious, everyone is having a laugh. Even chief chef is salting her fish rhythmically in order to not miss out on the party. Everything about this single is top drawer. They put 40 seconds on the original yet didn’t fill it with absolute crap. Its perfect length because it doesn’t get boring. Its respectful yet its original and I’m glad to say that its stood the test of time and opened the door for others to dare to offer up Reggae covers of the greatest band of all time. Bravo.
Score: 9 out of 10 from me. The only reason its not a ten is because its a cover.

Holy Smoke what a tune! The ultimate feel good song covered by the kings of the neggae world – BOOM!
The Isley Bros, The Beatles, The Mamas & the Papas, Salt-N-Pepa; the bands that have covered the 1961 classic reads like a who’s who in pop music culture and Chaka Demus and Pliers are absolutely no exception to that and arguably make the most of the tune. Twist and Shout has also appeared in many Film and TV shows probably most famously in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with Matthew Broderick belting out the John Lennon version in downtown Chicago. Let’s not forget it was also critical to the complex plotline of Back to School featuring Rodney Dangerfield in a textbook contemporary role. It is simply a timeless classic!
It just explodes with excitement right from the off and the release around 2mins in is pure ecstasy. There is no way you can’t listen to this without feeling great about everything especially when you combine it with the carnival that is going on in the video which has pretty much everything you would expect.
Would it get played at a BBQ? I would expect it to be played every hour on the hour!
Score: 10/10 – it doesn’t get much better than this!

Interesting fact shared by Vince in the showers last night (yep, you read that correctly), the Beatles version of Twist and Shout was on their Please Please Me album which was recorded 50 years ago this very week.


Bitty McLean – Pass it On

Release Date: Oct 1993
Chart position: 35

So it was now October 1993, and the first summer of dread was behind us. Maybe some of us could sense something had changed. The man who ran the t-shirt stall in Woking Market might have noticed he’d shifted a few dozen more Bob Marley t-shirts. Perhaps people were walking to school or work with 7% more skank. Who knows. But what we do know, is that the iriefication that would happen in the following summer would make ’93 look like folk club.
So the year wound down with the sophomore effort from Neggae’s Young Player of the Year, Bitty McLean. And, though it pains me to say it, this is an absolute stinker. I’m not going to put the boot in because Bitty strikes me as a decent chap – so I’ll keep this brief and above all professional.
The song couldn’t sound more 1993 if it tried, with that warm, safe production sound favoured by the likes of M People and Simply Red. I probably half-watched Bitty performing it on TOTP, while flicking back my curtains to concentrate on a Magic Eye book, wearing a global hypercolour t-shirt under a woolen waistcoat, with Jamie whipping round Ghost Valley on the SNES in the background.
The intro is way too long. 45 seconds of meandering church keys that build to no climax. 16 bars of a LIDL Funky Drummer sample then leads us into some godawful 90s house piano thunderchords; it really does sound like an M People b-side. For all Bitty’s pleading that “In the kingdom of Jah Man shall reign” there really isn’t much reggaying happening here at all. We’re a long way from the Wailers original, a joy of a song that sees Bob, Bunny and Peter channeling gospel soul through their roots challis. Shame.
Rather than call it a day at the three minute mark, Mclean throws in a key change and we’re off again for another 150 seconds of sweet neggae muzak. It’s like All Around the World by Oasis – and at least Noel could blame that abomination on all the wanger he was putting on his cornflakes.
Score: I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed. 3/10

This is horrible. Eggy. Bitty what are you doing?
In my opinion, and it is a much debated subject concerning the Neggae chart, this should not qualify. OK, Bitty is deemed a Neg Artist on a previous merit (It keeps raining) but this is not a Neggae song. Its weak by any genre and I felt ill after waiting for it to do something for 5 minutes on a Thursday Evening.
Thats five more minutes I could have spent listening to Abs from 5 getting ahead of himself on ITV’s Big reunion. In fact Abs the Turk and his dual patois personality are probably more Neggae than this entry. Even sporting what looks like a really bizarre World War One  toupee, he’s more Caribbean than Pass It on.
Its disappointing to say the least. Bitty’s first assault on the Neggae chart was good, it took a fats Domino song and improved on it with Reggae influence and decent beats and percussion. Sadly this follow up does none of the above. I’ve listened to the Bunny Wailer Original. That’s Reggae. What this is I don’t know. Gospel Piano and Cheap Electronic drum beats.
If Paul Tucker from the Lighthouse family and Heather Small had a love child and that child grew up to write the score for the Sister Act 5 – Chaos in Kidderminster straight to DVD movie, I imagine that this is what it would sound like. Horrible, and to think I smiled and got slightly excited when I saw this weeks subject matter. I’m not angry, just very disappointed.
I hate being Neggy but that’s just not what I call Neggae.
Score: 3 out of 10 (purely because he has a voice and a likable face).

Another cover version, although neggae has truly touched my soul this does seem to suggest a dearth of original song writers in the genre. This time it’s a cover of a decent enough Wailers song that’s not included on ‘Legend’1 so I can see the logic in taking it on. The intro causes alarm bells immediately, a really dodgy synth sound which sounds like someone playing Club Nouveau’s ‘Lean on me’ whilst tired and emotional.
Someone then presses the beat button on the Casio and it limps in like Derek Redmond on the home straight (apologies for that link, I’m welling up). The overall production is badly dated for the 1970s never mind the 90s, clearly the likes of Wakeman, ELP and Hammer didn’t play a big part of Bitty’s musical education as his butchery is the synthesizer equivalent of the fall of Rome, it’s set back civilisation years. He makes a token gesture to the decade he’s living in with some Soul II Soul like strings at around the 2 minute mark but the overall effect is particularly poor considering he starting off on the other side of the mixing desk. The vocals are ok but nothing can save this and the record company must have agreed as there’s no promotional video to be found. The song basically sounds like it should be advertising a local restaurant in the cinema in 1979, maybe a West Indian kebab fusion, ‘Jerk and Turkis now open, pass it on, pass it on’.
Score:  2/10 – Shitty Mclame, and with that fiendishly clever wordplay I firmly cement my place as the Wilde of Neggae, plus the whole thing in prison which I try to block out.

The most popular album amongst racists trying to prove they’re not racist;  MORI poll, March 1996.

I don’t remember this the first time around, not sure what I was up to in October ’93 (?), however I am pretty glad that I don’t as it is total shit! Is this really the same Bitty McLean that delighted us and the musical world with It Keeps Rainin’ (Tears From My Eyes)? Surely not? Had he had a stroke or something since then? It’s a lazy effort to cover a Bob Marley classic that just seems to go on and on forever without any concern for the poor listener holding a knife to their wrists. 5 mins of noise pollution, it’s as simple as that. It got to no 35, I’m not sure how many copies it sold, but it was too many as far as I am concerned! It’s all such a shame.
Score: 2/10 – Nice one Delroy!

Woah, that was a long winded 5 minutes and 9 seconds. Bitty Mclean is back with us again, unfortunately Pass it on isn’t as uplifting and neggafied as I think it was intended to be.
I feel like I should be in church on a Sunday (which is not a place I frequent, so therefore makes me a little uneasy), in the deep south breaking it down and praising the lord. I get that this is more more about social responsibility than the big man upstairs but in my opinion seems a little over the top and could have been wrapped up in two minutes instead of five. here’s its pros and cons…

  • Bitty Mclean – his unique and pure vocals give the song credibility and command you to listen to the whole song just on the off chance it gets better.
  • No video, which actually helps the overall video. A bad song accompanied with a terrible video really could have made this a long and arduous 5 minutes


  • A little too gospel for my liking
  • The pace of the song is too slow – little chance of getting your swerve on to this at a BBQ
  • The synthesizer bassline sounds artificial
  • The whole thing is a gospel/neggae/jazz-club hodge-podge.

Score: Sorry to come down so hard on my man Bitty but it’s a 3.5/10. Damn I feel bad now.