The engine which drove dancehall by Howard McGowan
There can be no doubt that the engine which drove the dominance of Dancehall music during the 80s to early 90s was the plethora of stars which emerged during that decade.
Consider the likes of the following; Yellow Man, Shabba Ranks, Admiral Bailey, Cutty Ranks, Brigadier Jerry, Papa San, Lt. Stitchie, Flourgon, Red Dragon, Josey Wales, Charlie Chaplin, Michigan and Smiley, Eeka Mouse, Rapper Roberts and Tippa Lee, Pinchers, Admiral Tibet, Sanchez, Tiger, Frankie Paul, Coco Tea, Chacka Demus and Pliers, Junior Demus, Wayne “Sleng Ting” Smith, Tenor Saw, Ninja Man, Major Mackerel, Super Cat, Cobra, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Shaggy, Buju Banton, Beres Hammond, Richie Stephens, Tony Rebel, Wayne Wonder, Damion “Junior Gong” Marley and Sean Paul.
The females are not to be over looked with such names as Sister Nancy, Lady G, Lady Mackerel (later to be known as Maka Diamond, Sister Charmaine, J C Lodge, Sophia George, Althea and Donna, Lady Saw, Junie Ranks etc.
Back then, it was not uncommon for a DJ voted DJ of the year in December to be toppled from his throne and almost forgotten by March.
Such was the assembly line’s ability to churn out “stars”.
Embedded in this and providing fuel for the engine were the rivalries.
Papa San vs Lt. Stitchie, Pinchers vs Sanchez, Bounty Killer vs Beenie Man, Ninja Man vs Shabba Ranks.
Sister Charmaine vs Lady G, Junie Ranks vs Lady Mackerel. Josey Wales vs Admiral Bailey.
These rivalries paved the way for the infamous clashes at Sting the big Boxing Day show.
Sadly, while this became a hallmark of this even, in many cases it led to bottle throwing and in some cases severe injury.
The rivalry and clashes helped to make Sting the biggest one night reggae show in the world.
Ironically, these same situations (or the lack thereof) in recent years have also hurt this event.
- - qualified & experienced as an Editor in the arts, entertainment and sports, doing reviews and critiques as an active journalist. I worked as the first Entertainment Editor of the Jamaica Gleaner, and also served the Jamaica Observer for over 30 years combined. ... contact me by email here Read more About Howard McGowan
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