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Shabba Who?

How many times have you caught yourself rapping along to song, but in reality you have little to no idea what the lyrics actually meant? We are all guilty of this wether you’d like to admit it or not. If you’re like me, after you finish rapping along to a hot new song, which of course impresses your friends, you immediately go on a rap decoding site to figure out what you just said. My personal favorite? rapgenius.com, there are pictures along with explanations for you visual learners out there.

Time to get to the meat and potatoes to this blog post. A song that has been stuck in my head for the past couple of weeks is A$AP Ferg’s Shabba. Shabba features A$AP Rocky, another member of the A$AP mob and Ferg’s partner in crime, and was released in July 2013 off the Ferg’s album Trap Lord. One particular line from this song that I find myself repeating in my head or out loud when on the CTA irritating the person next to me no doubt, is “Sha-Shabba Ranks Sha-Sha-Shabba Ranks!” Of course when I was pretending to be a member of the A$AP mob and first repeating the lyric I had no idea what or who Shabba Ranks was. This peaked my interest and I decided to do some research on this mythical Shabba Ranks.

Ready for some knowledge? Turns out that Shabba Ranks is not a mythical man or beast but instead one of the most popular Musicians from Jamaica specializing in dancehall type music. Not knowing what dancehall music was I looked it up and the Google definition I found was, “An uptempo style of dance music originating in Jamaica and derived from reggae, in which a DJ improvises lyrics over a recorded instrumental backing track or to the accompaniment of live musicians”. Shabba Ranks, whose birth name is Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon (say that 10x fast!) was an artist who started from the bottom of the industry and worked his way up. Dancehall music was not mainstream at the time, but Shabba’s hit album Raw As Ever proved he could run with the big dogs, and with this he earned his first Grammy for best Reggae album. His iconic raunchy lyrics is what hooked his audience and kept his fans dancing. Ranks’s lyrics are of course not to be out done by his style. Shabba often sported large amounts of gold jewelry while rocking a gold tooth. This is seen in the hook of Shabba, “One gold tooth like I’m Sha-Shabba Ranks”. I have provide you with an extremely brief overview of Shabba Ranks’s music career. Below I have listed the sources I used and strongly encourage you to do some of your own research on this musician. If not for the knowledge, do it for the moment when your friend asks, “Who is Shabba Ranks?” and you can proudly (maybe with a hint of cockiness) drop your expertise on them. 

Sources:

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