Shabba Ranks feat. Johnny Gill – Slow And Sexy

Release Date: Nov 1992
Chart Position: 17

I’m not sure where to start on this. The production is awful, it sounds like a really poor imitation of Soul II Soul, the intro features unforgivable speaking vocals of ‘woooh’ and ‘take it off’ making it sound like a slightly raunchier Pat and Mick.  Then the beat lollops in, kicks would be pushing it too far, an uninspiring, lazy, tinny sound that the work experience boy at Jam and Lewis must have taken a good minute to come up with.

It’s got a bassline of sorts but I can’t even be arsed to waste any words on it. Johnny Gill’s vocal is formulaic and the only interesting thing about it is when he delves into the world of patois, which shows the hours of study to perfect this were worth it, if his study aid was a video of Jim Davidson’s infamous ‘Chalky’ character. Shabba Ranks is a bit of a ballbag, I’ve never liked him since he achieved the near impossible feat of making Mark Lamarr look righteous on ‘The Word’ and I’ve seen better toasters in Dixons. He does however enter into the spirit of the song and has evoked the spirit of the great romantic poets of yesteryear with his cries of ’12 inches and more, push it up, shove it’, seeing a man in bright red pyjamas with a Cartoonz haircut bellowing this out is ‘Slow and Sexy’ personified.
Score: 1/10 because they’ve dressed all the women in the video as strippers.

Well that’s four minutes of my life I won’t get back. Bloody awful.
Neggae and New Jack Swing were the K2 and Everest of human artistic endeavour of the late 20th century. Surely their offspring would provide the listener with a near religious experience, perhaps even change mankind for the greater good?
Not so.
What we get is four minutes of Johnny Gill and Shabba effectively waving their erections (musically and, in the video physically) in the listeners’ faces. All delivered over a flaccid, substandard Jam and Lewis knock-off. By this stage in the game Teddy Riley, Hank Shocklee and even Soul II Soul had toughened the beats of modern soul music and the expectations of its fans. So mid-range sludge like this didn’t cut it then and doesn’t now.
I’ve never really liked Shabba’s foghorn style delivery; much better dancehall toasters achieved less success in the UK (see Cutty Ranks, Ninjaman etc). Unfortunately we’ve got more of him to come on this blog. Johnny Gill’s best days were in New Edition – great voice but his QA is patchy at best.
The sexytime video? Be done before, been done better (see Prince, Madonna, George Michael videos from around the same time).
Score: 1/10
PS – to see how New Jack Neggae should sound, check this out.

Well well, not going to waste a lot of effort on this one chaps. The song and video makes me feel a little dirty. It’s not quite the good times, summer anthem that you can chill to. For me it’s very repetitive and never gets going. I found myself tuning out after about 30 seconds. Typical Shabba rap (which I like in doses) but he does not blend well with Gill.
As far as the video, Shabba on the phone was quite amusing, the seedy club / lounge scene sums it up, two knobheads, dressed like a poor man’s pimps trying to move and groove. I’m running out of things to say. Didn’t enjoy it, had forgotten all about it, wish I hadn’t got it stuck in my head. This needs to be put in a safe, chained to a cement lock and left to fester at the bottom of the Thames.
Score 1/10 – being generous, feeling like I betrayed Marley with 5/10 for Iron Lion Zion.

Utterly atrocious! A waste of time and effort just listening to it. Everything about the song is bad; the lyrics are bad, Shabba is bad, Johnny Gill even worse, was there even a baseline to it? This got to no 17? Higher than Fe Real and was in the charts at roughly the same time? Are you Fe Real?!?
Somehow they have managed the impossible though by making a video that is almost as bad as the song. I struggle to even understand what is going on; dancing on monuments, in empty party mansions, empty theatres, on the phone, off the phone, nuns. It goes on and on. It is the longest 3.52mins I have ever been subjected to. The attractive ladies in saucy get up decked out like strippers show minor recovery, however the production is so poor even they get boring after a while.
This is what happens when Neggae goes bad folks! Beware.
Score: 0.5/10 (the 0.5 is purely on the off chance that there is something worse out there)

Slow and Sexy eh?
I think you’d be hard pushed to find many people of sound mind who would find Shabba Ranks wild gyrating either slow or sexy. Lets face it, he looks like the drunk crazy great uncle that everyone is ashamed of at a wedding. This is an abomination of a song and the video does nothing but condemn it to the realms of Neggae failure. The less footage of Shabba Ranks swinging his hips the better as far as Im concerned. He looks like a slightly more deviant, yet even less funny Martin Lawrence. Opposite Gill’s clean cut woolen waistcoat wearing 90’s Will Smith.
Even Johnny Gill must now see this collaboration as a slight error of judgement and he didn’t mind jumping on a bandwagon or 6. Then again maybe he doesn’t, who knows what goes through his head or that of his agent (if he still has one).
I really cant draw any plus points from this song. The production is bog standard 90’s fodder. The beats remind me of “Too Funky” by George Michael. Its a standard Shabba Bassline and Gill comes in out of R&B swooning and mimicking Shabba Ranks.
Why is Shabba Ranks so overly excitable? Shouting out lyrics like a mad cat lady as opposed to his usual laid back indifferent lyrical approach. I can only assume that the content of this number was a subject close to Shabba’s heart. Not surprising then that in the same year he would upset large sections of The UK public by using passages of the Bible to condemn homosexuality live on Channel 4’s The Word. More Rank than Shabba.
Score: Not Slow and Sexy. Nor is it Big or Clever. 2 from me (1 each for turning up).