Peggy from Reggae Report indicated yesterday she’d seen reports that reggae singer Sluggy Ranks was killed in a car crash. If it turns out to be true, it’s a real loss, even though he wasn’t a household name for most.
Sluggy was a dancehall artist who came into his own in the mid-1980s, after he’d come to the United States from Kingston. His voice was unique and his mess was conscious and positive, in contrast to many of his dancehall contemporaries.
I thought I’d share three of my favorite tracks Sluggy’s been involved in. I’d love to hunt out more of his work, but much of it is hard to come by.
First is “Ghetto Youth Bust,” where Sluggy takes shot at the gun culture that’s been prevalent in dancehall and among Jamaican youth for decades:
“Progressive youth must try, / kill dem with positive vibes! / It’s nothing but conscious style. / Just tell me who a go hold it back, hold it back, / hold back the youths from buss!”
Sluggy reused the “Ghetto Youth Bust” hook when he teamed up with Trenton’s Poor Righteous Teachers and X Clan’s Brother J on the fantastic “Conscious Style” from PRT’s third album, The New World Order:
My favorite Sluggy track, “Ethiopia,” comes from his work with the Easy Star label on their debut 1997 compilation, Easy Star Volume One. The track is called “Ethiopia” and really captures Sluggy’s talent.
More here (with some inaccurate info re: his involvement with Easy Star).