Maxi Priest ft Shaggy – That Girl

Release Date: Jun 96
Chart Position: 15

Gouldy
This is the fourth from last entry in the Hot 90 and the Crown Prince of Neggae is back to pull this blog out of the stagnant torpor it’s fallen into, SHAGGY! He’s back with some help from Maxi Priest and a killer sample from ‘Green Onions’. Now I have a group of friends who call themselves ‘mod’ despite being born at least 15 years too late. They like to sit around, Fred Perry polo shirts slowly riding up their beer bellies until they resemble crop tops, discussing great philosophical questions of our time such as ‘Are Pot Noodles mod?’ Undoubtedly these people would try and tell you this song is ‘mod’ due to the ‘Green Onions’ sample but my friends this is pure Neggae.
We start off with the aforementioned sample on loop and the traditional Shaggy toasting, this is Neg intro perfection. The rest of the production is pretty stripped down by usual Neggae standards but in this case less is more and puts the focus firmly on the vocal partnership of Priest/Shaggy. I’ve been critical of Maxi Priest in the past but this track is basically his equivalent of Chris Armstrong’s 1995/96 season for Spurs, if you get him the right partner he’ll deliver the goods and with Shaggy he’s found his Neggae Sheringham. Unfortunately, like Armstrong it was a one off but the comparisons don’t end there as Armstrong now looks like Maxi Priest, albeit with a Coco Pop stuck on the end of his nose.
chrisarmstrong
Maxi’s silky timbre fits nicely with Shaggy’s gruff ragamuffin stylings and the break that starts with Maxi singing
‘Holy Moses, Lord it could have been me’
Almost induces a Betsy spine tingle.
Lyrically the song is describing a girl who’s even too hot for Shaggy top handle, YOIKS! The kind of girl you’d spend Saturday night with but probably wouldn’t take to Sunday roast with your family due to the fear of her misinterpreting what was meant by ‘roast’ and start twerking on your Dad and grinding on your Nan.
The video is like a mash up of Hype Williams and the opening credits to an Eighties Bond film put together by GCSE film students. I have to give credit to whoever had the idea of spray painting a load of Sugar Puffs gold and putting them on the speaker, the effect is stunning. We then have ‘multiple same girl effect’, which I believe is the technical term, forming a guard of honour for Shaggy to do the Lambeth walk down with a background of fire created with crepe paper. We then switch to a natural Neggae setting, the Supermarket, with one girl demonstrating a basic lack of understanding with regards to concept of shopping and just throwing it over her shoulder rather than placing it in the trolley she’s pushing. I had a similar technique when working in the warehouse of a certain middle class supermarket, where I’d stroll round cutting open any new lines with my trusty box knife, have a taste and if it wasn’t to my liking I’d throw it over my shoulder and continue onto the next one. Then they sacked me, fucking fascists.
This is an oasis in the desert that is the end of Neggae, 10/10 from me.

Jonny
Yep, I like this, anything with a Green Onion sample running through to gets my vote and chuck in a couple of neg heavyweights and it all works nicely. Both Maxi and Shaggy pull out all the stops for their last appearance and turn in as good a performance as anything we have reviewed on this list over the last 90 weeks / 630 days / 15,120 hours. The video is simple but effective, sketchy production and editing, bling, booty, everything we have come to love. I think of all the artists and chiefs we have critiqued over the last 15,120 hours of this blog, these two will be missed, although this has rolled into one nonsensical blur I can’t remember any howlers from either of them and are both arguably the most consistent. Three more weeks until I get my life back. Three more weeks until I can: Enjoy a Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening Open any type of messaging service without the first unread message being about my review being late Stop using a thesaurus to find alternatives to the word shit Not ever listen to Suggs or Ace of Base ever again My biggest fear however is that I might miss it and realise that my real life is so dull that subconsciously I actually enjoy it. Maybe I’m like Brooks in Shawshank Redemption who killed himself after being released from prison? Have I become institutionalised? Maybe after this I’ll just start on Rock, Grunge or something else to keep me miserable.
9/10 from me.

thatgirlJames BC
Hey, Maxi Priest’s back! Just as the neggae flame is starting to burn out Maxi returns for one last hit, and in the latest permutation of the great neggae fruit machine he’s brought Shaggy with him. But That Girl isn’t just about Maxers and Shaggers: its secret weapon is the swinging Green Onions sample sticking the two together.
So what’s not to like? We’ve got a classic Chaka Demus and Pliers-esque rough/smooth vocal contrast with an ever so slightly negged-up mod classic underneath it. Well unfortunately, that’s just about all we’ve got. There’s not much of a tune to the chorus, Maxi’s verses are completely unmemorable and while Shaggy does a bit better – he is still Shaggy – the performance isn’t his best. As for the sample, I love Green Onions as a twelve bar blues but they’ve just taken the first bar and looped it over and over and over again. It gets bit tiring.
Also I might be nit-picking here but the chorus lyric seems to undercut itself:
Line 1: “THAT GIRL, OOH.” Ah, we get what you’re on about here Maxi – you’ve met a girl so smokin’, yet so deadly, that you couldn’t help but put pen to paper, writing a whole song dedicated to her uniquely infuriating and beguiling personality.
Line 2: “THAT KIND OF GIRL.” But now you’re implying that there are lots of other girls like her that we, the listeners, have probably also met examples of. So not so unique after all.
What must have happened, I suppose, is that he came up with the killer beginning of THAT GIRL, OOH! quite late in the writing session. Probably he then expanded it to THAT GIRL, OOH! THAT [something] GIRL but didn’t have time to fill in the gap – Shaggy maybe was getting impatient, having been told that he was going to record with Horace Andy and arrived to find this weak imitation nodding his head to the same Booker T and the MGs snippet played slightly too slow. So instead of coming up with a proper line telling us what’s so special about her – THAT UPTOWN GIRL or THAT SUNDAY GIRL or THAT CANDY GIRL or THAT MYSTERIOUS GIRL all sound like hits to me – he did a bunk and left Shaggy to come up with some actual details in his verses.
So overall I’m going to say this is a bit lazy. The ingredients are promising but they should have made a lot more out of it.
Score: 5 out of 10.

Vince

When the BBC4 Friday night Neggae Britannia gets commissioned – the Neggae Elders all become will all become millionaires. Key movers and shakers from the scene will offer amazing insights and secrets from the genre, and celebrity fans will reminisce about this golden era of pop.
Shovel from M People, Kate Thornton and Stuart Maconie will also feature, offering these pearls of wisdom.

shovel2thorntonstuartmaconie

The last summer months of 1996 will be the last 10 minutes of the show. It will be a poignant, solemn section – Warriors by Aswad mournfully wailing in background as John Alford tries to explain how he effectively took a massive dump on Reggae music in general. It wasn’t a good time.
One tune stands out against the mire though. That Girl by Maxi Priest and Shaggy.
It’s Mod.
It’s Neggae.
It’s Moggae.
The 60s are being looted again– but this time it’s the monstrous swirling Hammond organ line from Booker T and the MGs Green Onions. Beefed up by Shaggy’s in-house production team with crisp drums and heavy bass – THIS IS A FACKIN BELTER.
I could easily listen to it for 7 hours a day. I have in fact.
Shaggy delivers his lascivious toasting in his sleep – the bloke was so at the top of his game by this point it was getting slightly embarrassing. Maxi Priest FINALLY delivers the pop magic we knew he was capable of with a sweet, sweet vocal. The word Reggaematic gets used ferchrissake.
It’s a masterpiece.
Score: 9.5 out of 10 – the last true Neggae banger. Emoshe.

NEGGAE SCORE: 8.375

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Shaggy feat. Wayne Wonder – Something Different

Release Date: Mar 96
Chart Position: 21

Jonny
With England out of the World Cup and the weekly neg train rolling again life is pretty sweet! Given how Football is currently dominating our lives I was going to deliver this review in some kind of style that would pay homage to it, but i’m struggling to be that creative. Although the thought of watching Adrian Chiles and the ITV panel discuss a neg entry has made me smile a little bit. I think that they would over contextualise it a little whereas the BBC I think would be a little bit more direct with their feedback. I can vision both Alan’s shaking their heads ‘rubbish, utter rubbish! what the hell is he gibbering about? ‘Hansen would proclaim. Rio unsure on what his opinion should be and offering the type of value add you would expect of a four year old ‘I fought it was a good song wiv good singing in it’, nice one Rio, Cheers mate! Anyway, I’ll keep this one simple, just as I ease back into things and get stuck into the home straight. A slightly better entry from Shaggy since his last outing, it’s a nice track with a beautiful chorus. The harmonic delivery from Wayne is the real standout of the show, but mix that up with Shaggy going Shaggy style and you’ve got a real winner. As with a couple of tunes we have reviewed this would have been great soundtrack to a film, when I listened to to that was one of the first thought that entered my head. But I don’t think that it was, not that I could find in my very minor research on line. Even the video looks as if it was straight out of a cheap Boomerang alternative film, maybe starring a Queen Latifah instead of Halle Berry? Anyway – all good with this one from me – 8/10 from me.

sdiff

James BC
This is an exciting combination. Shaggy needs no introduction, and can we have a big round of applause, preferably in the Diwali riddim, for Mr Wayne Wonder. I know Wayne from his second-wave-of-neggae smash No Letting Go and subsequent excellent Wyclef collaboration but I had no idea he was also a first-wave original. The ingredients are promising so let’s take a bite of the pie.
Something Different turns out to be very much at the RnB end of the spectrum – no one-drops or guitar chops here. It’s all in the neggae spirit to embrace any song with the merest reggae influence so I’m not going to mark it down for that, but then again it does sound like the kind of thing Shabba Ranks would rap over, or try to.In fact if you imagine Shabba slogging and wheezing through Shaggy’s bits, that tells you all you need to know about the difference between them – there’s more charm and personality in Shaggy’s “Mmm!” in the intro than in most whole Shabba songs. I don’t know how many other people used to read Laura Barton’s Hail Hail Rock ‘n’ Roll column when it used to be in the Guardian. I gave up around the time she started musing on what her favourite syllable in all of recorded music was, but I’d now like to rescind my derision – for the concept, if not her woeful non-neggae nominations – and crown that “Mmm!” as the clear winner. From there Shaggy’s flow continues as stylishly as ever, keeping the rhythm tight and bouncing between different melodies while keeping the signature Shaggy twinkle.
Wayne’s vocals are sweet enough to play the Pliers role, complementing the star of the show nicely. I like the way he switches up the order of his chorus and bridge sections although I do find the lyrics a bit contradictory – is doing something different supposed to be good or bad, or only OK? Does it matter what the different thing that you do is? I don’t know if this is the best relationship advice to be honest – being spontaneous is all very well but it can equally end with chocolate mousse on your valance if you’re not careful. But credit to Wayne, these doubts only crept in when I started to overanalyse and on a relaxed listen he makes me think of picnics and other innocent joys rather than Alan Partridge’s sordid seduction scenarios.
I really like the Shaggy/Wonder combination. The song still goes on a bit but between them they make it more than it really should be, without hitting the heights of Wayne’s later work.
Score: 7 out of 10

Vince
Wayne Wonder. The Abedi Pele of Music. Commandeering the name of your hero when you’ve got a tenth of their talent is bold I’ll give them that. Unless they’re related somehow? A journalist once asked Stevie if he thought Wayne looked like him. Stevie wasn’t sure.
Anyway… A quick view at www.wayne-wonder.com tells us that Wayne was UK balloon modeller of 2013, and is now kind of a big deal in children’s parties across the Home Counties. Hold on a minute, that’s Wayne Murphy – Children’s entertainer. He He’s half-inched our Wayne’s domain name! This man has nothing to do with Neggae so please don’t make the same mistake I did and book him for a bashment rave at the St Paul’s Carnival. Never again.
A quick view on Wikipedia shows that Wayne Wonder joins the Neggae party late but acquits himself well I think. A reggae wunderkid, Wayne (real name Von Wayne Charles – why would you change THAT name? It’s superb! ) bubbled around the reggae scene in JA throughout the 80s and 90s never really getting the break his talent deserved. His vocal style was a cross between the traditional Jamaican crooner (Pliers) and the more stylised US r & b style typified by Bobby Brown and the like. This is exemplified in this song; It’s called ‘something different’ but musically it’s that New Jack – Neggae crossover we’ve heard before. It’s got a groove though, and I’m sure would have been rinsed in the upstairs MOBO room at Bojangles in Guildford in 96. I for one would have definitely got my swerve on to it; it’s disco stylings and heavy bottom end are decent.
Gun for hire Shaggy does what he does best and delivers inventive and melodic flow. The video is pretty hi-gloss as are most of Shaggy’s – he can never be accused of skimping on the promo budget. And my goodness, what a saucy viddy it is! The story opens around Shaggy living in a hotel waiting for a mature yet not unattractive black lady to visit. Is he a male prostitute? I think he is. The similarly hot maid smirks at the lady john as she enters the room. Like she knows something the client does not. Has Shaggy just given the maid a freebie? I think Shaggy has just given the maid a freebie. Now he’s canoodling with a secretary type – and rubbing ice cubes all over her fantastic booty. A girl who I shan’t name put an ice cube down my back at a school disco once, in a flirtatious manner. Result? One wet YSL shirt and a vaguely annoyed Vince. If I’m honest it’s put me off ice cubes as an erotic device ever since. Next scene, he’s Dogging on Brighton Pier – bold as brass. The fourth notch for him in less than three minutes is the maid. In the bathtub. With the massive dildo. Shaggy Cluedo. I think this holds the record for the most sexual encounters documented in a pop video. Feel free to prove me wrong folks. All the while Wayne Wonder doesn’t get a sniff. Just loitering in the background, singing and watching. Maybe that’s what he likes to do. Takes all sorts I guess. Score: Sex out of Ten. Sorry, six. Six out of Ten.

Gouldy
World Cup fever took over the Neggae Elders for a bit, hence the lack of recent activity, but now with the Reggae boys not qualifying (It’s not a proper World Cup unless Robbie ‘Irie’ Earle is playing imo) and Stevie Me reverting to type and setting up a couple of Suarez goals we can get back on with it. This week’s entry teams up Neggae legend Shaggy (who I mistakenly thought had died last week) with NWONWON (New Wave of New Wave of Neggae, pronounced N’WonWon) chart topper Wayne Wonder. I struggle a bit with a Neggaeist called Wayne as it always invokes images of the slightly pikey kid at school, the type who had an ear-ring and sovereign ring at the age of 5 and not a soulful crooner of the Caribbean. There are rumours he’s Stevie’s son born from the pulsing Island beat of the ‘Master Blaster (Jammin)’ recording sessions, however this can’t be confirmed as Stevie refuses to see him.
We start off with a Max Roach-a-like drum roll and expectations are high, then quickly tempered with the RnB lite production usually associated with Shabba Ranks and his cronies. The production meanders along in this mid paced vein like a James Milner run down the wing. Shaggy’s toasting is as good as ever and Wayne’s vocals hit the spot as well so it’s a shame about the limp production behind it as two such talents deserve better. Lyrically it’s about doing something different, you know like deciding to go camping for a weekend despite being the wrong side of 35 and being financially able to afford to stay in a permanent structure like a B and B or hotel. Jonny and I endured this only last week and I can tell you it was more like ‘Sophie’s Choice’ than ‘Carry on Camping’. The only good thing about the whole experience was knowing Jonny was in much more pain than me due to a combination of severe sunstroke and food poisoning, small mercies. Thanks for the advice Shaggy and Wayne but I won’t be taking it.
Upon closer inspection and with the aid of the video it seems when Shaggy is referring to doing ‘something’ different he means women. He’s clearly been wearing his Lynx Africa for this video because the treacles can’t get enough of him. Whilst Wayne nonces about in the background like a voyeuristic Dwayne Wayne it seems Shaggy can do no wrong with the ladies. First some hoighty toighty business woman arrives at his pad and indulges in a bit of Lady Chatterley type shenanigans with Shaggy as her Mellors figure. Then his meeting with his accountant turns a bit saucy as he invokes the ‘cinema special’ and slyly gets an arm round her whilst studying his tax returns, from this point all pretence of spreadsheets goes out the window as the ice cubes (not the rapper) come out to play. He then approaches a stranger from behind and grabs her and weirdly she doesn’t mind. When I attempted this I got three years on D-Wing, my food spat in every day, every time I left my cell I was subjected to chants of ‘sex case’ and I was placed on a register, funny how real life differs from music videos. Lastly it shows his maid trailing rose petals to the bath where she waits for Shaggy to discover her. It must have cut out the scene immediately afterwards where she’s sacked on the spot for making such a mess, as a maid one of the main responsibilities on her job description is to keep the place clean and tidy.
6/10 from me, 5 for the vocals and 1 for the strong waistcoat representation throughout the video.

NEGGAE SCORE: 6.75

Shaggy feat. Grand Puba – Why you treat me So Bad?

Release Date: Jan 96
Chart Position: 11

Vince
Reggae’s US cousin from the late Sevs to present day is naturally hip-hop, and both share many of the same characteristics. DJ’s selecting dubplates, MCs controlling the flow, Reuse and rebirth of music through sampling and versioning. Many of the key players of the scenes have dipped their toes in both genres – one of my favourite tunes of the last few years As We Enter by Damian Marley and Nas highlights how great this hybrid can be.
We’ve seen a lot of hip-hop/swingbeat crossover tunes on the Neggae Hot 90 – but no full on, blunted, buckwilin’ hip-hop. We do now, and it’s a F@CKIN treat of a tune.
Mid-90s hip-hop was dominated by Gantsta Rap or G-Funk from the West Coast scene, with the likes of Dre, Snoop and Warren G raiding the P-Funk back catalogue and chronicling the mean hoods of Compton over laid back grooves.

Compton (Surrey)


On the East Coast, the response was a similarly relaxed offering called Boom-Bap. Protagonist DJs such as Pete Rock and J Dilla eschewed the perhaps more obvious 70s Electro P-Funk samples for noodly Jazz and Funk riffs, all layered over heavily compressed,  yet natural sounding drums. The rolling sound produced a beautiful, head-nodding response – and the sound became known as Boom-Bap. Grand Puba and his group Brand Nubian were key players in the genre – so it is no surprise (and a beautiful thing) that the Boom Bap sound shows up on the Neggae Hot 90.
THIS IS A FANTASTIC POP RECORD. And who do we have to thank for the nagging keyboard line that drives the song along? Sir Bob Marley, that’s who. Robert Livingson, Shaggy’s go to producer has pulled the rabbit out of the hat by layering Boom-Bap beats over the beautifully wonky Mr Brown keyboard line (one of Bob’s earliest and lesser know tunes). And from there it just gets better. The female vocals are beautifully poised, and call to mind the close-knit female harmonies of 40s jump blues outfits like the Andrew Sisters.
Shaggy toasts with typical verbosity and invention. When all is said and done on this blog, I will look upon Shaggy in a different light. My view of him was somewhat tainted by his noughties efforts like It wasn’t Me and him titting about on Ali G’s cash-in – but everyone deserves a paycheque I guess. EVERY entry of his on this chart has been a delight, and for me he is a worthy runner-up behind the masters Chaka Demus and Pliers.
Grand Puba’s noncheloquent (made-up a new word there) spittin’ is sublime – this is easily the best rapping on the Neggae Hot 90. And hats off to the producer Robert Livingstone for bringing all these seemingly disparate elements together in va beautiful Casserole of groove.
As for the video, well it’s no Virtual Insanity but does the job perfectly. It is a typical mid-to-late 90s MTV staple; beautiful looking 20 year olds of all sexes and races getting down in riot of colour and noise. It was almost as if video producers knew that on a Sunday afternoon in the teenagers all over the UK would be melting into their collective sofas in somnumbulant bliss (after returning from the Spar with more kingsize rizlas, strawberry Yop and curl-wurlies.)
Score: 8 out of 10. Well done Orville.
Shaggy+-+Why+You+Treat+Me+So+Bad+-+12-+RECORD_MAXI+SINGLE-196408 (1)

Jonny
I hate to say this but I think Shaggy has got this all wrong. In terms of a misjudgement of mood and audience it’s up there with Vincent Synan telling a Gabrielle joke to a one eyed man outside Wetherspoons. In fact you can see a similar change in facial expressions half way through the track to Vince that night when he realised mid way through ‘am I really telling this joke? Keep going it will be OK, Jonny’s here and he’ll soften the blow somehow.’ Well neither the joke or the track are OK and my reaction to both was to simply pretend it’s not happening and look in a different direction.
I’m going to take a punt at this, but I don’t think that they are really in that slightly seedy under section of the Brooklyn Bridge. Which begs the question; if you have the means to superimpose any background, of all the locations in the world why there? Why not stick to the neg blueprint? Beaches, booty, fruit punch, sunshine? It’s all there for the taking, but no, let’s use an autumnal New York Bridge, not the good bit where you get nice views, the shit bit where all the crack addicts hang out! Another massive error from the Shaggy and Pube boy!
Now thankfully Shaggy still has a few entries left in the hot list , I would hate for this to be our last meeting.
On a more positive note we are now 90% of the way through this with only 9 more tracks to cover. Which by my reckoning means that on the 1st of August we will be done and will all be celebrating in a similar style to someone who has been released from prison. We’ll get planning, but hope to see you all at the closing party!
Score: Shaggy why did you get it so badly wrong? 4/10 from me.

 

James BC
‘m a bit disappointed to find out that Shaggy had minor hits. I thought he was a serial one-hit wonder, popping up every few years with a tune of jaw-dropping perfection and staying completely off the grid in between. Seems I was wrong because this is definitely minor. If Oh Carolina was Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Boombastic was the Starry Night, Why You Treat Me So Bad is that picture of a chair.
Shaggy’s voice and flow are as good as ever, of course. I’m less sold on Grand Puba: he provides the track’s most memorable moment with the “Ain’t no honey fly enough, ain’t no booty fat enough” bit, but for the rest of the time he’s reminiscent of late 90s rap’s human filler machine Ma$e.
Filler is the word, really. There’s nothing to object to in the groove, or the chorus, or the verses, but nothing much stands out either. It’s a shame everyone in the video is having a whale of a time, taking CJ Lewis’s original concept of berking about in an underpass to the next level. But I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy this as much as they did.
Score: 5 out of 10

Gouldy
Been a bad week, had a three day headache from an unwitting suicide attempt by alcohol poisoning over the bank holiday and have chronic back pain, but the meds aren’t bad, Naproxen mmmmmm. Fortunately to drag me out of this body decaying induced funk we’ve got Shaggy (my favourite solo Neggaeist) and former Brand Nubian Grand Puba who was responsible for Golden Age classics such as this, this and also delved into Acid Jazz with this. I’ve a confession to make, although I’m now a fully-fledged disciple of the church of Neggae my first love was Hip-Hop. This culminated in the biggest hip hop night of the Boom-bap era at Addlestone Community Centre, which sticks in my mind for a number of reasons;

  • People from Addlestone threatening to stab people from Chertsey and Byfleet and vice versa, looking back I think these were idle threats but when you’re fourteen it was totes ghetto;
  • My girlfriend going off with the local nutter, 5 years older than me and turns up in a leather jacket and stonewash jeans whilst I’m popping fresh styles in my NY Yankees polo neck and baseball top combo paired with Jordan IVs, and I lose my bird to some old f*cker dressed like a gyppo Michael Knight, great;
  • The night culminating with my mate Franks landing a helicopter, which had flown from Amsterdam, on the community centre roof and stepping out bedecked in full Adidas tracksuit and accompanied by Run DMC! Oh no, actually that was a lie he told to ingratiate himself with the riff raff when he switched from a prominent private school to our New Haw comprehensive. What a chief.

Anyway that’s enough of the whimsical walk down memory lane, or Addlestone High Street as it’s more commonly known, I’ll get on with reviewing the song. The intro sees Puba and Shaggy competing for plaudits which is no bad thing as the England squad with Shilton and Clemence proved. Then the production kicks in which could be a bone of contention with other elders question it’s Neggae authenticity. I’m going to say yes because it samples this mighty bassline from the man who made Neggae possible, Bob Marley. The beat is classic golden era hip hop fare as is the production generally, I don’t know who produced this but if Pete Rock tried his hand at a bit of Neggae I don’t think the results would be too dis-similar. There’s a nice vocal hook in the chorus and combined with Shaggy’s consistently excellent toasting and Puba’s exceptional flow it marries hip-hop and Neggae perfectly.
Lyrically it’s not an original theme as Shaggy and Puba bemoan the fact that women can be prone to riding roughshod over their man’s feelings. Well lads the simple answer is because they f*cking can (re:  second bullet point above). The best thing to do is not over analyse and just move on with no bitterness and not write about it in a Neggae blog 24 years later.  The video was shot by the canal under the M25 Bridge on the Byfleet/New Haw border. Now I spent a fair bit of my childhood knocking around there and this is not an accurate reflection of what it was like, there weren’t multitudes of models hanging around dancing but instead the odd dead rat, yet another example of hip-hop glamourising ghetto life.
Although this might not be the most authentic Neggae track we’ve had it’s like Mozart compared to a lot of the dross I’ve had to sit through, so for that reason I’m giving it 8/10.

NEGGAE SCORE: 6.25

Shaggy – Boombastic

Link to video

Release Date: Sept 95
Chart Position: 1

Jonny
So we arrive at another defining moment of neggae and arguably our last chance for a full house. I’m pretty sure we have not been able to give anything a 50/50 yet (much to Jonny Gills surprise) and I am approaching this with huge anticipation and to be honest I’m also a little nervous about it. A bit like a footballer approaching a big game knowing that they have to perform, I have been delaying the review process ensuring that I can give it my full attention and balanced opinion (that is at least an original excuse for being late again, better than Norm’s new kitchen effort, why do you need a kitchen when you’ve got an egg?). Anyway, I have just settled in with United vs. City on the box, opened a cold one and ready to give this my undivided attention. So here goes, my level headed view… This is f***ing amazing and maybe the best song that has ever been written! Shaggy enters the room by kicking in a door and smashes us with that unforgetable intro that hits you like a sandy flip flop to the face. The rusty feedback from the guitar chords is special and mentally takes you to a magical nightclub where your Shaggy’s VIP with Malibu and girls on tap. A club where pretty girls walk round handing out Rollovers and black death tar flavoured Sambuca and last orders that never quite arrive but you live constantly in that last 45mins of the night, the bit of the night when all the cool sh*t happens. Where there is always that comfortably busy amount of people on the D Floor that only really happens on TV and where there is a girl walking round with a piece of toilet paper stuck to her heel to provide a shared and common joke amongst the other party people. The lyrics are cool as and the “…touch me in my back she says I’m Mr Ro……” that leaves us hanging for a second or two is one of the best moments in neg history, pure class! Chuck in some chat about cheese and peas, turtles and and a foot bottom, it all makes for quite a ride. 10/10 from me, it don’t be no better dan dis ever!

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James BC
A confession: I didn’t much care for this at the time. It was a deeper, harder proposition than the standard neggae fare, and as a Year 8 at a boys’ grammar school without a great deal of life experience the lyric didn’t really connect. A couple of decades on, though, things are different: I am a swaggering man of the world, maybe not in Shaggy’s premier division but at least around League One level, and my musical appreciation has matured. Physically, emotionally and intellectually, I am now ready to appreciate “Boombastic” to the full and give it the glowing write-up it deserves.
Because it is an astonishing track. The production must have been miles ahead of anything else in the chart at the time – it’s a painstaking deconstruction and reassembly of reggae into a minimal, hyper-tuned form where every remaining element tingles the spine. It’s a reggae version of what the Neptunes did with RnB a few years later. One snare in a bar, one piano chord, that two-stroke guitar riff, and looooots of space. Beautiful stuff, but it does need a compelling vocal to hold it all together…
…and fortunately Shaggy’s performance is out of this world. Usually songs with “Hello, this is who I am” as the subject are dicing with mortal danger – take for example the British rap non-entity Chipmunk on his debut single, gibbering about being Chip-Diddy-Chip and not tolerating lip-diddy-lip, people say he’s crazy but he don’t give a owh, the whole thing is just unspeakable, squirming garbage. Shaggy takes the same subject and makes it look like the easiest thing in the world. He’s Jesus Christ bogling across the lake while St Peter (Chip) scrabbles around getting devoured by barnacles. “She call me Mr Boombastic” – of course she does, we all do. “Say me fantastic” – yes we do. Normally I hate people like that, but in Shaggy’s case you can’t doubt his self-proclaimed greatness for a second. I don’t know who else could have pulled it off – Des Lynam maybe, before the ITV debacle, but you have to be THAT cool even to consider it.
The song is a mass of contradictions: romantic yet hilarious, monotonous yet thrilling, arrogant yet personable, experimental yet immediate. Criticisms? Well, “Boombastic” isn’t a word, so Shaggy’s probably forfeited his chance at a dictionary corner appearance, but I’m not Susie Dent. I honestly don’t see how it could ever be bettered.
Score: 10 out of 10

Vince
1974 – Muhammad Ali  sustained 8 rounds of pummeling from George Foreman in the rumble in the Jungle. Eventually exhausted by his efforts, Foreman capitulates to Ali in the last seconds of the round. The technique is named ‘Rope-a-dope’, due to Ali using the ropes to take the strain of Foreman’s punches.
1999 – Manchester United beat  Bayern Munich 2-1 by scoring goals in the 91st and the 93rd after trailing the entire game, thereby winning the European Champions’ League Final. Their ability to achieve success in the final minutes of a match coins the phrase ‘Fergie Time’. How times have changed.
2014 – After going  missing from the Neggae Hot 90 for about two years (In the Summertime doesn’t count) , Orville Richard Burrell finally returns with what I believe to be the greatest Neggae hit we have seen. If Shaggy wins this, I want the phrase ‘he’s done a Shaggy’ there’ to enter common parlance for any time somebody nonchalantly rocks up at the end of something and delivers with fantastic aplomb.Boombastic is quite simply a fantastic pop record – a perfect exponent of the Dancehall sound that developed in JA through the 80s and 90s. Unlike a lot of the Neggae Hot 90 it is achingly modern, and while at its core it uses a sample of King Floyd’s “Baby Let Me Kiss You”,  the production is so crisp you can hardly tell.
What hits you first are the huge guitar riffs, which for me explore the relatively overlooked relationship between Dancehall and Rock. Under mi Sleng Teng was based on an Eddie Cochran riff, and I think Boombastic cements the same, bluesy, deep-down-and-dirty feel that is common in the two genres. The song’s popularity was definitely aided by its use in the latest Levi’s advert, and I do wonder if without it such a harsh, sparse riddim could have topped the charts. But it did, and frankly, who cares?
The song structure is fantastically irregular – with multiple drum patterns switching in and out to accompany Shaggy’s incredible inventive wordplay. I also love the interchange between standard reggae chord stabs and the singular on-key pulse. Fantastic.  After listening closely to this for the first time in nearly 20 years I also noticed that there is a blazing Jimi Hendrix style guitar solo around the 1m28 sec mark. So much going on in this record.
Shaggy absolutely revels in his lothario image in the song and the video, Theophilus P.Wildebeeste incarnate. But unlike similar Neggae lovermen such as Shabba Ranks, Shaggy’s lyrical dexterity is mindbendingly surreal – more in common with US hip-hop wordsmiths. So many lines to choose from but:
“I’m just like a turtle crawling out of my shell 
Gal you captivate my body put me under a spell
With your cus cus perfume I love your sweet smell
You are the only young girl that can ring my bell “

Is my fave.
Also worth noting is the drawn out ‘Roooooo-mantic’ phrase – Shaggy cleverly managing to sound like a stopped record starting again. Lee Mack clearly a Neggae fan then.
Drawbacks? Well the song and specifically the Lover Lover catchphrase spawned a career for rubber-faced prank-phonecall DJ Steve Penk.  I never cared for him much.
Score: After Tease Me, this is the greatest Neggae song on the chart. 10/10.

Gouldy
After some fairly middling releases I’ve been looking forward to this one, the man who gave Darren Anderton his nickname makes his third Hot 90 appearance, it’s SHAGGY. This originally came to my attention when used to soundtrack a Levi’s advert and it blew me away. The combination of neggae and clay motion was an instant hit for me, like the California Raisins on a cocktail of steroids and Viagra. They advert was to promote Levi’s boglestruts which used bogletron technology. The idea was you plugged your walkman into your Levi’s boglestruts, played some neggae and let the jeans strut for you instantly turning you into a sexual panther. I tried it on the way to work this morning and it worked as I got the digits of a couple of right little saucepots (well Dave the Frog and Hoover, and I had to grab a couple of smoked Peter Stuyvesant butts to seal the deal with Hooves, but like Carling Cup goals, they all count).
The song starts with some machine gun staccato drums and then Shaggy declaring himself ‘MR BOOMBASTIC’ and I make him right. The production is groundbreaking for neggae, I’m going out on a limb and saying this is Neggae 2.0. There’s a sonic chainsaw noise which is grimier than a Victorian chimney sweep this is coupled with a piano loop which adds the neggae flavour . The beat’s off time which probably makes this the first glitch house record, there’s also a bit of psyche wigging out guitar thrown in at various stages to complete the melting pot of musical styles. I had to seek out who produced this cerebral cortex melting number and it turns out the man himself, are there no ends to this man’s talents?
Lyrically it’s Shaggy at his braggadocios best as he hammers it home he’s the Casanova of the Caribbean and there are some fantastic rhyming couplets in there, my favourite being;
‘I’m just like a turtle crawling out of my shell, Gal you captivate my body put me under a spell’
He also drags out syllables where the lyrics don’t quite scan but does it with a sexual growl, frankly when he declares ‘I’m Mr Roooooo mantic’ my nipples go hard.
The video tips a nod to the Hype Williams RnB style videos of the time with a bevy of gals whinin’ with Shaggy in a big white mansion. It’s not particularly original but it’s had a bit of cash thrown at it and suits the theme of the song perfectly.
This is like Neggae from the future people, and with that in mind it has to be 10/10.

Norm
It doesn’t get much better than this. Shaggy is Shaggy and he slides in smoothly with a sublime offering in Boombastic. A nice intro and then Shaggy is off and running with his wildly efficient and raspy vocals that are easily recognizable to anyone with half an ear for mid 90’s neg. He glides through the song from verse to verse in true ‘lyrical lover” fashion. It’s a joy to listen to but for me at 3m5s Shaggy breaks it down and accelerates rapidly for about 25 seconds worth of rap which is most indecipherable but non the less very entertaining. This leaves me head bobbing, dreaming of Malibu cocktails and feeling satisfied. At the end Shaggy then slows it down, relaxes the mood and the song ends well, drifting off with one last word, “SMOOTH”. I like it and approve whole heartedly. Shaggy’s video production isn’t up to much but in his defense, it encompasses everything Shaggy stands for, scantily clad ladies, hip thrusting and looking suave. He accomplished that quickly and for that he will only get docked a little bit for that In my opinion if you don’t like Shaggy, you’re a goon, a non musical twonk with the personality of big Sam and probably enjoy listening to Ali Campbell while supping a ginger beer shandy.
Put me down for 9.9/10 only missing out on the ultimate prize because of a slightly dodgy video.

NEGGAE SCORE: 9.98

Shaggy ft Rayvon – In the Summertime

Release Date: July 95
Chart Position: 5

Gouldy
In the words of Donovan, ‘The area of Surrey was a County, Which lay before the great flood, In the area we now call the Thames’, basically I’m on a bit of a downer as it’s been raining for 3 months non-stop. This has resulted in me playing football once this year and has meant I’ve spent my weekends doing DIY, which I’m terrible at, although with the amount of practice I’m getting I should be able to knock up an Ark in the next month. Fortunately this week’s entry is shining sunshine into my life as the negfather Shaggy returns with a cover of the Mungo Jerry classic ‘In the Summertime’ and is ably supported by the puntastically named Rayvon (shame on you Peter Kaye, you chubby plagiarising Boltonite). As an interesting side-note Rayvon went on to have solo success with his own CBBC series which was basically an updated ‘Knightmare’.
We start off with a typical bit of bombast from Shaggy with his trademark cry of ‘SHAGGY HAH, oh and that ray bloke as well’ with the production being pretty faithful to the original version just with some added Neg beats. The most distinctive timbre in Neggae compliment Rayvon’s soulful vocals perfectly and the combination of Mungo Jerry and Neg is a great Anglo-Jamaican fusion which paved the way for greats such as Gin and Lilt and ‘Death in Paradise’.*

*Gone downhill a bit since Ben Miller was replaced by that goon from ‘My Family’ and BT ads.

Lyrically it’s the usual Neg story of ‘Sun’s out, got my American sportswear on, time to go and bag a raving sort’. Not overly sure about ‘If her daddy’s rich take her out for a meal, if her daddy’s poor, just do what you feel’, seems to be condoning raping people based on the amount of money they have, did George Osborne write this song? I can see it now, him, BOJO and Dave the rave cooking up bare lyrics under the influence of Taittinger and bugle on a Bullingdon beano. Shaggy then gives a warning of the risk of too much free love, STDs, she might be sweet like honey but if you’re not careful your japs eye will be stinging like a bee, pretty sure that’s what he means anyway.
The video pretty much adheres to the B formula of neg videos;

  • Birds;
  • Beach;
  • Blue Sky;
  • Big House;
  • Bogling;
  • Bad Boys;
  • Bloke rollerskating.

Like the song there’s nothing original about it but that doesn’t matter as it looks like a good laugh and is certainly getting rid of my SADS.
The sun has come out since I’ve been playing this, Spurs won convincingly last night, even Vince making up a meeting so I have to come into the office and haven’t wanked worked from home is failing to dampen my spirits – 7/10

James BC
Let’s start with the best bit: the video. If want to know what should be in a neggae video, this one sums it up. Sun, sea, the beach, a big white house,
Shaggy looking dapper in braces, Shaggy looking casual in a T-shirt, Rayvon flashing a nipple in the car, lots of lovely ladies and handsome men dancing about and having a good time. A few local characters doing their thing. Rayvon’s hat.Shaggy-In-The-Summertime-62028-991
If, like me, you’re a fan of pairs of men doing formation dance moves, you’ll particularly enjoy this one. 2000s hip hop was brilliant for this – think Puff Daddy and Usher in the I Need A Girl vid, or Nelly and Akon in Body On Me – but once again we find that neggae blazed the trail for everyone else to follow.
As for the song, it ticks all the boxes without doing anything especially spectacular. It’s not fireworks – or if it is, it’s one of those tins of assorted small ones designed for back gardens. The groove chugs along nicely, wisely conserving the ‘ch, ch-ch’ noises from the original. The vocals are pretty good, and Shaggy’s winning personality can’t help but come through and raise a smile. But it ends up being a bit repetitive, giving the feeling of going round and round like you’re trapped in a one way system – haven’t we had that verse before? Yes, and I definitely remember that chorus… we’re lost! Should we ask for directions? No, it’s fine, the song’s finished and Supercat’s coming on. Good.
Score: 6 out of 10. Fine on a compilation but not one of the artist or genre’s shining lights.

Norm
Shaggy, it’s been a while mate. Good to have you back on the Hot 90 with this Malibu worthy stunner! This tropical beauty starts off nicely with a rustic drum intro then unloads quickly with some island beats. If there was any question about who was responsible for this one, that was answered 6 seconds in when Shaggy announces that “It’s a summer time affair, Shaggy, HA, Rayvon!” Boom, here we are, head bobbing and dancing right from the off. Shaggy’s unique, sub-baritone voice delivers the lyrics in typical Shaggy fashion and is complimented by Rayvon’s light hearted vocals. These two have similar chemistry to Chaka Demus and Pliers in my opinion, simply a joy to listen to. As Shaggy pick up in pace, the word seem to roll of his tongue with ease. Oh, by the way, it’s not that easy. I’ve been trying to sing along to Shaggy for decades now and can’t get anywhere near. Maybe it’s my West Byfleet accent that doesn’t lend itself to copying one of Neggae’s superstars. On to the video. Brilliant, absolutely worth a watch. It keeps you entertained from start to finish. Again, this has all the ingredients for a successful Neg video. Sun, women, open top jeep/buggy packed with people, beach scenes and a mansion with Shaggy looking suave, a la Don Johnson in Miami Vice. In conclusion, I’ve really enjoyed this one. Whether you have the video or not, it doesn’t matter. This song will put you in a good place on it’s own. Trust me, it’s now snowing here in Va Beach for the third time in 3 weeks and I’m drifting away to happier, sunnier places. And that happier, sunny place has me on a beach, sipping my Malibu giving this beauty a whopping 9.5/10! Thanks Shaggy for making my day and briefly ending this polar vortex the east coast of the USA is stuck in.1940273_10152595558228776_1162805164_n

Jonny
Mungo Jerry’s all time classic has been covered more times than the noon deadline has been missed, but very few covers will stand up to Shaggy’s epic rendition turning it into a neg masterpiece. The original is great but when you add Shaggy waxing lyrical with his gruff delivery over the top it takes it to a new level that is hard not to appreciate. Very few tunes sum up neggae quite so well as this and very few tracks make you feel as happy as this when it comes on the radio, or when played on loop repeatedly when chilling out drinking tropical fruit punch in the garden. Following drink driving lobbyist protests Shaggy has quite shrewdly played with the lyrics a little to ensure it does not cause offence and make it more commercially acceptable for the 90’s. But apart from that he has left the heart and soul of the track intact. We can however forgive the Mungo’s for this as I think drink driving was big in early 1970’s Britain with cars being designed to be less sensitive to booze than they are today. They should bring those designs back, they might have guzzled a bit more fuel but look at the bigger picture people! My favourite bit is when Shaggy recommends that if your new girlfriends dad is quite wealthy, you should wine and dine her, but if not do what every you want. Just take her to Spoons or something? Who cares, she is fair game! This instantly makes you feel good and there are only a handful of tracks that you can really say that about, it is almost as if nothing else matters and for 3mins 44secs everything is cool. Maybe if James Prest had listened to this Sunday morning a few times it would have helped him out a bit? The video is up there with some of the best video footage we have reviewed to date. It is not that original, but just does the basics so well. Chicks, beaches, summer house, pool and lilo action, it’s all there in all its glory for you to enjoy. Unfortunately however the reality is that the song does in fact have to end after those magical almost 4mins and I still have 4 angry elders that are pissed at me for not doing my review on time. Think I’m going to play this on loop over and over again until they forget about it, which I don’t think will be long. They are not normally the sorts to hold grudges and make a meal of things. Well done Shaggy 10/10!

Vince
The Impact of the Anomalous Weather of 1995 on the U.K. Economy – And how Shaggy and Rayvon benefitted from it.
The summers of ’94 and ’95 are noted as some of the sunniest on record. 1995 in London in particular – no rain for both July and August. If I wasn’t working on a fruit and veg stall (awaiting my GCSE results)  – I was spending money on :

  • Chips at Guildford Lido
  • Kronenbourg at The Litten Tree in Woking (RIP)
  • Neggae vinyl at HMV in Guildford
  • Tartan Trousers at Bluebird Garage  Kings Road

The whole country went a bit bonkers basically. “It’s hot and sunny, earn money then spend it on something” was the national mantra. And with that Shaggy and Rayvon took this pile of pooclaart to number 5. What were we thinking?
Perhaps it’s because I’ve never been a fan of the Mungo Jerry DUI anthem; that deep south banjo Great Gatsby vibe just doesn’t rock my boat. Never has. No amount of Neggaefying is going to rectify it unfortunately.
Shaggy and Rayvon give it a go, but their toaster-singer combo just comes off as a poor man’s Chakademus and Pliers. Ropey lyrics, half-arsed delivery. It all sounds rather distracted, like it was recorded in 90˚ heat with 100 tidy birds in thongs gyrating nearby.
Great video mind.
Score: Come on Shaggy you can do better than this (what’s that? He will do in the next few Neggae entries? Oh good.) 6/10.

NEGGAE SCORE: 7.7

Diana King – Shy Guy

Bad Boys video:

Original video:

Release Date: Jul 95
Chart Position: 2

Vince
“I don’t want no Fly Guy, I just want a shy guy, that’s what I want yeah, you know what I want yeah.”

You and me both Diana. You see, I work in xml publishing, and generally have a Fergie-like recruitment record. I have a knack of spotting good graduate coders that I know will enjoy the thrill of delivering valid, well-formed xml on time and to the needs of the product. Unfortunately once I took a punt on a ‘fly guy’ – a young chap that appeared to enjoy enjoying himself as much as I do. He didn’t last. So these days, like Diana, I like my guys as shy as possible.
What a tune though. The opening acapella vox calls to mind Brownstone’s If you love me or the Acapella remix of Soul II Soul’s Back To Life. You’d be forgiven for assuming this is a standard New Jack Swing, sorry R’nB (its 1995 not 1992) tune. It’s even got that HUGE New Jack Swing guitar sample that I should know but I don’t so please answers in a tweet to @Modernings if anyone knows it.

The break drops, BUT HOLD ON! The riddim is placed square in the 2 and 4 beat. This is Neggae plain and simple. Diana’s half-patois-half-US-soul-chanteuse shtick is beautiful. Clearly an antecedent to Welwyn Garden City’s very own Alesha Anjanette Dixon. Diana King has clearly a cracking set of lungs on her and delivers the song with aplomb. We’ve seen some swingbeat-Neggae abominations on this chart but this isn’t one of them.
Score: I  ♥ DK. 8/10.
Shy_guy

Norm
What a beauty, we’ve had a pretty good run of late with Supercat, Marley and now a stellar effort from the talented Ms King.
What I really like about this is the video. The exact opposite of UB40, Dawn Penn, some Bitty and some that couldn’t even be bothered to make a video to compliment their offerings. As you can see, no expense was spared by Diana and her producers. We are treated to Will Smith and Martin Lawrence berking around, having a dance off that would be fit for the JazzMine’s fag ashed, Kronenbourg drenched dance floor. Then as the song progresses, we are treated to a Hollywood film of sorts condensed into 4m21s. Action packed from start to finish, everything we need:

  • Guns
  • Fire
  • Police helicopters
  • Main character running open shirted with gun
  • Fast cars on runway with plane about to take off (high speed chase of sorts)
  • Mike Lowery jumping on a taxi
  • Bad guy doing a Klinsmannesque headfirst dive on the mens room floor, skidding past some urinals
  • Exploding buildings

Needless to say, I was impressed with Diana’s planning and execution of this visual treat to go along with a stunning vocal performance.
Onto the song.
It starts strong, great pace and has me head bobbing from the beginning. I was put into a groove straight away, a good groove, a fun groove, a non-UB40 groove. Her island stylee voice is a treat, clear and crisp delivery, JA tones that are easily deciphered throughout this joyous voyage of Neg. Her voice ranks up there with anyone I’ve listened to. So smooth that you need to listen to this in the sun, kicking back, feet up with a Malibu and Lilt on a beautiful beach in Jamaica or Litten Tree beer garden/car park which was my alternative.
So, how do we score this ‘un? I thoroughly enjoyed this Bad Boy (pun intended) from start to finish. I was entertained mainly by Diana’s sweet vocals, excellent rhythm and pace of this tune. The videos was a plus.
Score: Put me down for a 8.5/10

James BC
I seem to have joined the neggae blog in a bit of a slow patch. The last top ten hit was Here Comes The Hotstepper from January ’95 and it’s taken until now, six months later in neggae time, to reach another one. What’s more, both these songs had a film soundtrack connection, strongly suggesting that the public lust for skank was in a slump: songs that would have been number 1 for a month in 1993-94 needed a Hollywood push just to go top five a year later.
All that is irrelevant when it comes to Shy Guy, though, because it would have been a smash hit in any era. It is an immense pop song that once listened to will be in your head for days – whenever one bit stops buzzing round your brain another will pop in to replace it. The number of hooks is outrageous: the verses, bridge, chorus and middle 8 could each carry a track in their own right.
(If you’re watching on Youtube, make sure you find the original video rather than the Bad Boys one or you’ll miss out on the “Shy man I wanna hear you” bit, one of many highlights. Instead you’ll get a weirdly empty instrumental section and a lot of clips of comedians reaching for pixellated-out guns.)
However, despite the hatstand full of hooks and a pioneering vocal performance that switches effortlessly between patois toasting and RnB singing like a proto-Lauryn Hill, I find that I like Shy Guy rather than love it – I respect it, but I can’t embrace it like I do the true neggae classics. It’s very much an American take on the form, its production a little too smooth and stringy, its lack of brass potentially fatal. It’s the Man City of neggae: the quality is undeniable but its success seems like such a forgone conclusion that I can’t get completely excited about it.
Score: A solid 8 out of 10, but for me it lacks the bit magic needed to go higher.

Jonny
I actually find myself having little time for the bling neg/jazz affair and the inclusion of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in this Diana King effort ironically entitled Shy Guy is a little laughable. I don’t find it does much for the movement but only dilutes the credibility of reggae through this important era. I find it pretty non-offensive and perfectly acceptable as background tunage, but further than that would not and still don’t pay much attention to it vs. the rest of the hot list.
I find it a real bandwagon effort to leverage the commercial success of Bad Boys and why we need a further advertisement of Will and Martin is beyond me? It’s got all the elements to a good track, it peaks and troughs, builds throughout and has some pretty strong delivery from Diana King, but I find it all too soulless to find it appealing. The real knife to the gullet is then the trade mark Will and Martin jokey dancing including classics such as stirring the pot and the running man. Genius!
I think she did a version of Stir It Up for Cool Runnings which implies to me that at the beginning of her career she did little more but hang around studios sniffing out potential soundtracks, actually pretty smart from a business perspective, but loses credibility as an artist in my book.
Score: I hope I cheer up and don’t kill myself today – 4/10 from me.

Gouldy
This week’s offering is from Diana King, who’s something of pioneer in the Jamaican music scene by being openly gay, not sure what Shabba Ranks made of it? I get the impression it was only men he objected to although his religious justification is sound, I’m sure we all know John 3:17 ‘and thou shall make countless records boasting of sexual prowess’, but props to Diana for coming out you brave, beautiful, beanflicker you.
I’m sure neggae elders of the past would argue this is more RnB than Neggae but I think the fact there is Steel Drums and a skanking bass put it firmly in the church of Neg. The intro is a nice neg/hip hop crossover sampling the Average White Bands ‘Schoolboy Crush’ (A hip hop staple since being used by Eric B and Rakim) with a skanking beat. Diana then kicks in with the vocals which carry on the hip hop links as they were previously used by N.W.A (interestingly the same acronym is used by the Crystal Palace hooligan firm – Nigels With Axes). Throughout the song Diana demonstrates her impressive vocal flexibility by switching between toasting and more conventional RnB stylings, backed by the tight production of Andy Marvel it’s a heady combination of New York and Kingston riddims. Lyrically the jist of the song is that Diana is fed up of being pursued by Alpha male types and all they do is give it the big I am and can’t be trusted. She’s after a Wolowitz basically, someone who’s going to treat her right and not mess her about. Of course we know now that this isn’t strictly true but in the crazy world of pop anything goes, Freddie Mercury sang of his lust for Fat bottomed Girls whilst Elton John asked Kiki Dee not to break his heart and then got married to a woman, Rupaul!
The video includes scenes of the film this was on the original soundtrack for, the ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ spin off ‘Bad Boys’ which followed the exploits of Will and Carlton after they left college and joined the police. Going by the clips from the film it seems a policeman’s lot in Miami isn’t a bad one at all, sports cars, helicopters, nightclubs, women and blowtorches. I don’t remember Reg Hollis in ‘The Bill’’ getting any of these perks, mind you Reg Hollis was a little bit suspect. As this is a Fresh Prince spin off there’s the obligatory shots of Carlton and Will dancing interspersed with Diana in front of some of her biggest fans. The end of the video is classic Carlton as he and Will walk off the set and he can’t resist a bit of stupid dancing, the only real disappointment is there’s no footage of Uncle Phil throwing Jazzy Jeff out the front door.
Score: Overall this scores a regal 8/10 from me.

NEGGAE SCORE: 7.3

Super Cat (Feat. Jack Radics) – My Girl Josephine

Release Date: May 95
Chart Position: 22

Vince
Well, this is an absolute joy. It’s a privilege to have Dancehall royalty such as SuperCat grace the Neggae Hot 90, and he does not let us down. My Girl Josephine skanks and crackles for 3m 43s of pop magic, and reinforces the very reason we do this every week. An old song I’d forgotten about has brought a little bit of joy into my life and I hope you enjoy it too.
For starters, Super Cat is one cool f*cker. I first became aware of him via one of the greatest mixes of all time, John Carter Live at the Social Volume 2. Every home should own a copy of this. SuperCat’s cut up vocals kick off the mix, sampled by Kenny Dope on opening track Supa. “Dada, now he’s a Super Cat man ah you a Don Dada” – These words have swirled around my head for days on end – the flat yet gravelly vocal style tough yet rhythmic. Like any DJ with borderline OCD I immediately snaflled up any Super Cat music I could find.
Super Cat, like Chakademus and Pliers, was a bonafied 80s Dancehall star. His production and credits lists on discogs read like a who’s who of the JA 80s scene, so it was inevitable that he would turn up at the Neggae party at some point. The fact that the crystalline production on My Girl Josephine was completed by Sly & Robbie should come as no surprise. It just sounds fantastic.
Filtered drum rolls, echoed toasting, tabla, huge horns section – I think this might be the greatest production on the Neggae hot 90. Everything sounds turned up to 11. Listen to My Girl Josephine, then go back and listen to Boom-Shak-a-lak. Makes the latter sound like a Stock Aitken and Waterman production frankly – and that’s no slight on Apache Indian by the way. This record is just too good.
Like Oh Carolina, Super Cat takes a big ole Fats Domino sample and makes something new out of it. Sampling Fats Domino was clearly a shoo-in for Neggae chart success, yet no-one thought of sampling Blueberry Hill – his most famous song. I’m just imaging Suggs toiling through it now actually. Probably best left alone.
Super Cat though. What a boy. Sounds like U-Roy, looks like Chris Kamara. And ably assisted by Jack Radics on the chorus, who if you recall from Twist and Shout was essentially a cross between Billy Preston and Baloo from the Jungle Book when he’s in disguise in an attempt to storm the monkey castle to save Mowgli:

jack

He’s smartened up his act a little in this video though which is to be applauded.
Until this week’s review I’d forgotten all about this song. Upon first listen though, I was instantly transported back to the Student Union common room in Brooklands College in 1995. Whiling away the lunch playing 40p games of pool with Dom and Jonny, and trying to commandeer the jukebox with Britpop classics. In those days the battle for jukebox supremacy often involved running from class to the SU the second lunch break started, to load it up with a couple of quid to ensure the goths didn’t put crap like Ich Bin Ein Auslander on rotation.
Anyway, one day I was a bit slow off the mark, and some bloody girls had got there first. Josie Farnsworth and Phillipa Walker played 2 songs on rotation for the whole lunch hour – Waterfalls by TLC and My Girl Josephine (AKA ‘Josie’s song’). Waterfalls I could take or leave, but My Girl Josephine was just dandy. So thanks Josie, great choice (didn’t need to play it seven times in a row though.)
Score: a ten from me.
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Norm
Super Cat, my man. After reading up on this fella, mucho respect to him. He grew up in the rough and ready Seaview Gardens neighborhood in Kingston (I know, sounds really tough, probably similar to West Byfleet if I had to guess), he is the older brother to Junior Cat and his nickname of “Wild Apache” was given to him by his friend and mentor Early B.
Early in his career he would DJ under the name of Cat-A-Rock and switch between that and Wild Apache until he settled for Super Cat. Anyway, his bio is fascinating, I love the names that they come up with and roll with. In my opinion, he nailed it with Super Cat.
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So, onto the song. Another one that I really don’t remember all that well. I did a little double take when elder Vince posted the link on the communal Neggae message board. Super Cat? Nah, never heard of this guy. So, I click on the link, not knowing what to expect and I’m pleasantly surprised. This song compliments last week’s effort from Bob and has renewed my faith in sweet Neggae music. A stellar version of Fats Domino’s original. I love the intro, island toasting accompanied by horns and what appears to be some sort of snare, or not – I don’t know my instruments that well. I’ll defer to Vince for clarification on the light background drum type of noise. The big band style is a nice twist, something I was not expecting. Jack Radics and Super Cat really work well together. Sublime vocals to go with some fun and light-hearted lyrics. For me, it keeps you entertained and head bobbing from start to finish.
Score: I’m down with Super Cat. My Girl Josephine scores a very competitive 8/10. A nice treat and excellent addition to the Neggae Hot 90

Jonny
Did he shoot Nitty Gritty? Didn’t he? Was it a member of his band? Was he involved in someway or another? Who knows? There is a lot of circumstantial evidence to it, but nothing concrete. At the end of the day I am not that familiar with this Nitty Gritty character and all I know is that Super Cat has absolutely kicked the crap out of this version of Josephine and for that alone should be proved innocent of anything he has ever done. Anyone who cant take a Fats Domino’s track and add this level of top spin gets a massive ‘iree iree’ from me!
This is amazing and the only disappointment I have is that I don’t remember this tune at all. If I had heard to before I definitely would have remembered it as its is maybe my favourite track on the list so far. I know that is a massive call but I mean it. Its authentic dancehall sound makes you listen with intent as it drops in. Its got great rhythm and peaks and troughs nicely, all the time building and building getting better and better as the track goes on. This has real pedigree and you know from the beginning that the tune oozes class and demands respect. This is Head and Shoulders (trademark Procter&Gamble) above the other stuff we have been reviewing lately or dare I say since the beginning of the blog. I normally pick no bones about how sometimes I really find this process a chore and how Thursday nights/Friday mornings can often fill me with dread. But hearing this makes me really change my tune and turns it into a joy! This has brightened up my day. Yes we just got pumped at 5-a-side tonight, yes Knivo dodged his round in the pub again, but you know what? Who cares! I always lose at 5-a-side and Knivo never buys a round, life goes on and so will this track! I enjoyed every minute of it including the easy going video of them hanging around that dusty old town that has a certain amount if charm to it, I’d even like to visit it someday.
Score: A magical 10/10 from me!

Gouldy
This week we’ve got one of my favourite modern reggae artists with his only Hot 90 entry; Supercat enters the fray ably supported by neggae collaborator Jack Radics. Super first tasted global success after taking advice from his American cousin (MC Skat) and got involved with the burgeoning Commercial Hip Hop Scene (Chipshop) appearing on a remix of Jump by Kriss Kross, RIP Daddy Mack, I’m literally pouring a Fruit Shoot in your memory right now. He then had a few more biggish songs without really troubling the UK chart. Then, at Sophia Loren’s insistence, he was included on the soundtrack of neggae fashion film ‘Prêt a Porter’ with this Fats Domino cover which burst into the charts and peaked at number 22 around the time of my 20th birthday, when the long summer days were mainly spent locked in a dark garage doing bongs until my Dad found my ‘hubbly bubbly pipe’ and clearly didn’t believe it was a prototype of water filtration tool designed to help 3rd world communities.
The song starts with some top Neggae drum samples in a similar vein to ‘Carolina’ with a declaration of love to his girl Josephine. Then the horns kick in shortly followed by the beat and piano and we’re off basically, the song is chugging along like a six pack of mini Heinekens and you can’t help but tap your feet. The production doesn’t change up much throughout but it doesn’t need too as the producer has lovingly reworked the original and kept a Michael Carrick-like simplicity to the whole piece, unlike last week’s overegged pudding of a rework. Vocally the Cat/Radics combo is as sweet a combination as Shearer and Sheringham v Holland in Euro 96. Without this song I’d go as far as to say this new wave of the new wave of Neggae classic would never have come to light or Nu-Wop as I like to call it.
Lyrically it’s a the Cat Radics combo imploring childhood sweetheart Josephine to remember the good times they had together as innocent youths and follows up with attempts to woo her with their dead Grandad’s possessions which include a car, a helmet, some Cuban cigars and a pocket watch. I’m not sure this is really going to work unless Josephine is in fact Miguel Angel Jimenez but you’ve got to credit the effort. I also have visions of the handover from the Grandad being a Caribbean take on this. The song carries on in this vein and like a David Lynch film there’s no definitive ending and you’re left to draw your own conclusions, personally I think Josephine is in the Black Lodge with Laura Palmer and Agent Cooper.
The video is actually reasonably stylish for a neggae effort with Jack and Super dressed like Bugsy Malone characters. There’s an old bloke in a suit dancing about who’s a bit of a worry, he can’t seem to put his tongue in his mouth and looks like my cat when he’s thirsty, it could be the result of a stroke but he’s smiling so like the end of a massage in Goa it’s a happy stroke. The heroine of the piece is dressed demurely for a neggae video which is refreshingly lacking in misogyny preferring to concentrate on her sunny demeanour and friendly manner, don’t get me wrong though she’s still a right facking sort and given half a chance I’d be up it in a shot. The gist of the video is that Josephine walks round with a rhythmic swagger, like a Jamaican Rooty Tooty, which is infectious and spreads happiness wherever she goes. How charming and harks back to a more innocent time before Shabba was even a potential stain on his dad’s stomach.
Score: 8/10 – A shame this is Supercat’s only entry.

James BC
This is a delight. What we have here is good-time twelve-bar rock ‘n’ roll meets good-time Neggae uptown – possibly the sunniest genre combination imaginable. There’s nothing complicated about it at all: Twist and Shout show-stealer Jack Radics and relative newcomer Supercat pass the mic back and forth over a bouncy Bitty McLean-style groove. Then again there’s no need for fancy stuff when you’ve already got everything you could want – a strong chorus (a Fats Domino cover, a quick poke about reveals), neg ‘n’ roll piano, industrious percussion and a neat horn break in the middle.
Compared to Twist and Shout this is a nicely controlled vocal from Mr Radics – he leaves the adlibs to his accomplice and only shows a hint of the raucousness he’s capable of, managing this time out not to sound like a complete maniac. Supercat has quite a polite deejaying style, which here is as simple and effective as the rest of the track. He might not be the quickest or the flashiest, but he scores big on charm – in fact I’d go so far as to say he’s a worthy successor to Fats Domino in that department.
It’s charm that makes this song: the whole package is just hugely likeable. Impossible to dance well to and impossible to sit still to, it would be guaranteed to unite any room, barbecue or major sports venue in joyous, terrible bopping. Sure it’s repetitive, but if that was a bad thing I wouldn’t have felt the need to keep replaying it as I’ve been writing – I’ve now played it seven or eight times and far from being bored, I’m enjoying myself nearly as much as the old geezer in the video.
I’d never heard this track before having to write about it, which just goes to show how rich the Neggae era was. The Shaggys and Shabbas may have grabbed the headlines but even the subs’ bench was packed with talent – much like the England squad at the time, when legends like Robbie Fowler or Ian Wright could barely get a game. Heady days.
Score: 9 out of 10

NEGGAE SCORE:  9