Maxi Priest ft Shaggy – That Girl

Release Date: Jun 96
Chart Position: 15

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.
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.

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.


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.


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.



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.


Shabba Ranks Featuring Queen Latifah – What’Cha Gonna Do?

Release Date: June 93
Chart Position: 21

They say ‘good things come to those who wait‘; and we’ve only had to wait two weeks for another Shabba entry to come along. I’m not sure if this is good or not, but I am sure that this is not his worst effort to date.
No visual effects via a video this time, so we are left with simply to pick apart this rap heavy mix of music. It reached the dizzying heights of #21 in the UK charts, which sounds impressive at first. However when you consider in June 93 thatthe UK buying public would pick up anything even slightly islandic it’s not so great an achievement. That said, I enjoyed Queen Latifah’s entrance midway through the song. It saves the song from drifting into no-man’s-land due to Shabba’s trademark repetitiveness is. In my opinion, she should have been given an a larger role in this collaboration as Shabba’s limitations are exposed fairly early on.
For me, this is more nightclubby than BBQy; more vodka and Red Bull than Malibu and pineapple. By the end of it, I just wanted to bust out with the real  “What ya gonna do (when the come for you)” from the Bad Boys of Reggae, Inner Circle.
Score: Put our Money makin’ Jamaican down for 6.5/10 with a slightly better effort – the no video approach works in Shabba’s favor here!

We arrive at yet another Shabba release, he’s like the cockroach of Neggae, impossible to kill. This time he’s linked up with one of the members of seminal hip hop collective the Native Tongues, however not the groundbreaking De La Soul, pioneering Jungle Brothers or the upcoming A Tribe Called Quest, no he’s gone with Monie Love’s Nan, Queen Latifiah. The song starts off with Shabba chanting ‘what cha’ gonna do?’ repeatedly, my first thought was ‘try not throw myself out the window for the next 4 minutes’. He then goes on to chant nonsense for a couple of minutes, not really sure what he’s going on about and don’t care, pretty sure it’s not a proposal for World Peace. Queen Latifah comes in does a bit of a rap, it probably took her a journey on her stair lift to write it, meh.
The production isn’t neggae, it’s just a formulaic hip hop backing track which to my disappointment was done by Lakim Shabazz, you’ve let yourself down there Laki son. I realise that this is reading like the last ever diary entry of a manic depressive but he’s ground me down, Shabba’s defeated me, I now just grudgingly accept him, he’s the neggae equivalent of Income Tax.
Score: 2/10. Have a day off you prancing pissflap.

God this is woeful. 3 and a half minutes of muted, substandard US produced pop-rap, or as I like to call it; pap.
I’ve never been a fan of this type of dance music; the polished sheen of it has a distinctly US feel. There was a lot of it around in the early 90s, a kind of hybrid between New Jack Swing and US House. If there’s a bit of grit and boogie in the music it kind of outweighs the trebly freshness of the sound – I’m thinking Masters at Work or even George Michael’s Too Funky. Get it wrong, as has happened here, and it all sounds rather like the theme tune from the Ricki Lake Show.
Phoned in raps from Shabba and Queen Latifah don’t do much for the song either. I’m surprised it reached number 21.
Score: 1/10. I never want to hear this tripe again.

Was this on of the Boyz n the Hood soundtrack? Sounds more similar to that type Hip-Hop /Pop-Rap than it does reggae. This is not reggae, neggae or even feggae (fake reggae) and for that reason I am not gong to spend too much time on this. It’s an OK track I suppose but it does not stand out from anything else of the time. Shabba sounds good and his toasting is as we would expect, Queen Latifah also sounds great as she pipes up every now and again, but the bland, tasteless baseline and breaks make it sound just very average and I’ve already forgotten too much detail about it.
Score: A confused and puzzled why its on the list 3/10 from me

I suppose I was tempting fate last week.
There I was, highlighting the gloriously obvious differences between our new runaway kings of Neggae Chaka Demus & Pliers and the far less talented and more self obsessed Mr Ranks. “Take note messrs Ranks & Gill” I said, little did I know that this steaming hot pile of Jamaican Shit Cake would be served up in the week that followed.
Demus and Pliers have triumphantly staked a flag in their own new plateau, leading the way for anyone who dared follow. Ranks it seems has chosen not to, yet again. What goes up, must come down, with every tropical heat wave, there has to be an Edna or Katrina to follow in the Sunshine Isles, this wet season comes in the form of a homophobic sex pest doing his best impression of Foghorn Leghorn.
Shabba seems to turn up again and again like the habitual bad eggae of Neggae. This time with Queen Latifah in tow, obviously this recording was made prior to her epiphany that she can actually make more money from acting badly than rapping badly.

Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do?

Turn you off , that’s what.Before I end up stamping on my laptop, repeatedly. My ears hurt and I cannot be doing with anymore of your b*llshit you rapey oddball. 45 seconds of listening to you repeating the same line over and over again is enough for most, and when it comes to Shabba, I’m less tolerant than most.
Go away.
Score: 1, because I liked Bringing Down the house. Sorry I just did.


Shabba Ranks feat. Maxi Priest – House Call

Release Date: May 93
Chart Position: 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Maxi Priest – One More Chance

Release Date: Mar 93
Chart Position: 40

Neggae to me is all about taking a new approach to Reggae by combining different genres and cultures, this falls badly short in those areas. This is chock full of clichés, very formulaic production (although there’s one little burst of strings that sounds like Soul II Soul) and humdrum ‘I love you baby’ style lyrics. The video has everything you’d associate with an eggy love song, white horse, beach, white horse on the beach, what a load of pony, literally.
Overall this is a downward spike in the neggae linear graph of progression, fortunately it didn’t deliver a fatal body blow to the genre.
Score: 2/10 – More sickly than Tropical flavor Lilt.

March 1993 saw the Neggae momentum continue apace, with this the second of four entries to chart that month. Luckily the two songs that follow were good enough to realign the movement after it was nearly derailed by this wet lettuce of a ditty.
It’s on the Hot 90 because of the artist performing it; but truth be told it’s MOR in Neggae’s clothing. A slushy, 90s ballad created to give people who don’t really like music something to put on in the background while they dine. I heard brief melodic references to Let’s Do it Again, but not enough to save this awful wretch.
As for the video, I have watched it three times now and still don’t get it. Is he the ghost? Is that his Dad? Is he a ghost too? But she vanishes, so she must be a ghost? Someone once said to me “Vince, you can never have too many ghosts in a pop music video”. Well, they were wrong.
I have no idea what the horses represent, but they reminded me of Spirit, a cartoon (and guilty pleasure) I have dozens of times with my son Dylan.
Score: 1 for reminding me of Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.

Pony! An instantly forgettable ballad. It feels as if it were written for a movie soundtrack to be used in that bit in the film when the guy finally realised that after she left he really did love her and he starts to understand how empty his life is without her….total shit!
Although I don’t remember this first time round I feel I’ve heard the melody a hundred times before. It is nothing new; I thought I was listening to a Boyz II Men B Side. This is a lazy and gutless performance that is light years behind the relative genius of some of Maxi’s other conquests, Fe Real, Fe One!
The video is equally pathetic, a predictable slow motion montage of a man mooching about thinking about the girl he’s just lost – at home, on the beach and bizarrely at a school with some kids. “Man up you tit and get back on that horse. There’s plenty more chicks out there! Oh and a word to the wise – stay away from those kids and that school otherwise things are going to get pretty dark and a whole lot worse for you! You Weirdo!!”
Score: 1/10

Not quite sure where to start on this one. Simply put, it’s boring and in my opinion doesn’t meet the criteria for neggae. If we throw this ballad into the mix at a BBQ, we’re all asleep by the end of the song.
I can appreciate Maxi’s vocal ability and is smooth as ever throughout. The video is a bit blah, nice white horse at the beginning, the rest of it, well, I don’t remember. Damn, I’m struggling with this review. Probably best if I stop now.
Score: 2/10

After the creative efforts of the previous Neggae entries, its difficult to view this song objectively. Comparing it to Oh Carolina or even last weeks Apache Indian effort would be unfair. Sadly it even falls down when compared to other Maxi Priest numbers.
The song has no identity, its overly eggy and its not Neggae. The first 2 bars are interesting, a string section which could pass as a Style Council B-Side. Sadly though from then on in it all goes a bit Micheal Bolton. Middle Of the road Power Balad. Not quite Reggae? Not quite anything really!
It smacks of an artist who has a) lost his artistic direction slightly b) let his management team make bad decisions on his behalf or c) both of the above. Its like when a pop Star runs out of gas and decides to churn out a “swing” album. Utter muck.
The video does nothing to redeem this melancholy plodder. No impact, noting to remember, just a moody Maxi bowling about like a mysterious Rasta cowboy who’s just been dumped by his missus. To be honest I’d have been more interested if he’d hung up his dreads, put on a dickie bow and bashed out Mack the knife with Micky Bubble, Robbie Williams or Westlife.
Score: Go away and try again Maxi. Its a 2 from me.


Apache Indian Feat. Maxi Priest – Fe Real

Release Date: Nov 92
Chart Position: 33

This is so close to being a carnival anthem, just a shame (like Iron Lion Zion) that from the get-go the song is ruined one by poor production choice. The bontempi keyboard facsimile of a horn section completely cattles the groove. When it’s not there on the verses the groove is tight; the sliding breakbeat will always curry favour with me, as do the fleshy Hammond chords.

Both Maxi Priest and Apache Indian are great vocally, and surely only the John Terrys of the world wouldn’t enjoy the sense of multicultural unity the song creates. Maxi’s cod-punjabi crooning towards the end (“Curiar look so nice in o them sari”) is I think a great British pop moment. The song is like Ebony and Ivory’s cooler, less showbizzy younger brother. Can’t help but think about that horrible clip when Darcus Howe was started on by Asian yout’ on a channel4 documentary. The complete opposite of what this song is appealing for. Very sad.
I honestly think this is crying out for a Nextmen remix (I hear similarities in this recorded 15 years later). Fe Real could easily be this good!
Score: 7/10

I see this as the first original neggae tune, although Iron, Lion, Zion charted first it was an old song remixed, this was a true mould breaker. I love some of the production on this, the bassline and beat sound like they’ve been nicked off Teddy Riley and having the tabla in the background is nice touch. Apache Indian is fairly pony as MCs go but he gives it a go and doesn’t offend whilst Maxi Priest’s vocals are as sweet as ever.
Not one for the purists, but that’s the whole point, this is just a feel good summer pop song which has been influenced by other genres which were popular at the time. I can’t find the video and the mists of time have clouded my memory of it but if I were making one now it would include a multi cultural street party, children dancing and some kind of water fight, like a Benetton advert with added Vimto. One to stick on at your Gran’s barbeque.
Score: 7/10

Now, we’re on to something here. This song is FE REAL. I like it, for me this is where it begins and is the epitome of chilled out summer music. For me it is essential to have a fast paced rap intro that you can’t really understand until the last couple of words then transitioning into chilled vocals. This qualifies.
Apache Indian has a unique voice and for some reason I like the cheesy rap with Maxi’s vocals. The song has a good blend and it doesn’t take too much effort to listen to it.
Thumbs up for me.
Score: 7.5/10

I simply don’t get how this only got to number 33 in the charts, especially given how early it was during the neggae movement. It was new, it was fresh, it was the future (for the next four years anyway) and has everything that makes neggae great. Simply a brilliant summer tune that is dead easy to listen to – both must have’s when it comes to basic Neggae requirements.
I am trying to find weaknesses, but keep on thinking of more positives….the horn style intro, the chorus line, Maxi’s vocals…..I like it all even the Apache Indian MC’ing (which typically I struggle to warm to). This was the catalyst and although I feel there were better tunes in the years to come this paved the way for neggea artists to follow in.
A must have for the record collection!
Score: 8/10 (purely as I know that there are bigger tunes coming)

Is it reggae ? Is it Neggae? Remove the bass line and this sounds like the demo track on the keyboard I got for my 10th Birthday. As much as I enjoy listening to Maxi Priest I don’t think that is one of his finer moments. The “Bontempi” horn section sounds a bit like a karaoke backing track. It does give this one a “music by numbers” feel.
In later years other Afro-Asian Neggae acts would follow in the footsteps of this single. As much as I would like to rank this up with China Black’s Searching (guilty pleasure) , I cant seem to help but draw comparisons to the UK’s 1995 Eurovision song contest entry from Love City Groove.
Although there were some bad decisions made in the production process, there are a few nice touches. The subtle tabla gives it Indian character. The break is solid and the bass line carries it home. Apache Indian is Apache Indian and Maxi Priest gives a complementary variation on vocal styles.
A for Ambition yet D for delivery on this one for me.
Score: An indifferent 5/10