Rexton Ralston Fernando Gordon, born 17 January 1966, in St. Ann, Jamaica, West Indies. Ranks’ family moved from a country parish to Kingston when he was eight. By the age of 12 he was learning from DJs such as General Echo, Brigadier Jerry, Yellowman and Josey Wales. Ranks served his apprenticeship with the Roots Melody sound system with Admiral Bailey, and recorded his debut, “Heat Under Sufferers Feet’, in 1985. Josey Wales took him to King Jammys, for whom Ranks recorded 1986″s “Original Fresh.” When he first started out, Ranks’s focus was on “reality” lyrics–those intended to raise social consciousness. Soon, however, he discovered “Sex sells,” as he states in the opening lyrics to song “Fist-
a-Ris.” From that point on he began producing raunchy, sexually explicit material or “slackness.” In the “Mr. Loverman” video, he cruises by a pool with his sensual pelvic gyrations during the performance, prove the point. He told USA Today, “Love is what made me. If it wasn’t for love, I wouldn’t be here.” His reputation for “slackness” confirmed with “Needle Eye Punany”, recorded for Steelie Johnson while at King Jammys in 1988. He joined Bobby Digital’s new label shortly after this, and had considerable success with “Peanie Peanie”, “Must Love Reggae”, “Live Blanket” and “Wicked In Bed”. The special partnership between Digital and Ranks propelled at this time. “Who She Love” orchestrated by Bobby Digital and Mike Bennett was Shabba Ranks first worldwide number #1 song recorded with Cocoa T and Home T for Jammys. Gussie Clarke later produced the same collaboration for the album “Holding On”, which generated big hits “Pirates Anthem”, “Stop Spreading Rumors” and “Turn It Off”. Many other major hits followed under Gussie Clark’s productions such as “Telephone Love (with JC Lodge)”, Twice My Age (with Crystal)”, and “Mr. Loverman (with Deborah Glasgow), just to name a few. Shabba Ranks recorded for other producers outside Bobby Digital and Gussie Clarke, and became a dominating force in reggae music during the 90’s, which attracted interest from the hip-hop scene.
Epic Records signed Ranks to a major label contract in the early1990s. Ranks talent sweetened success when remixed versions of “Mr Loverman” and “Housecall”, the latter a duet with Maxi Priest, and “Slow And Sexy” featuring Johnny Gill, became major crossover hits during the 90s. Shabba Ranks” first album for Epic, As Raw As Ever, had hits such as “Trailor Load A Girls”, “HouseCall” (with Maxi Priest), “The Jam (with KRS One)”, and “Watcha Gonna Do (with Queen Latifah)”. With well over 500,000 copies sold worldwide, created a reggae-rap fusion that proved highly successful and earned Ranks his first Grammy Awards. The follow-up album, X-Tra Naked, features hits such as “Ting- A-Ling”, “Slow & Sexy” (with Johnny Gill), and “Muscle Grip”, which sold another 500,000 copies worldwide, Mr. Shabba Ranks become the first DJ to win two consecutive Grammy Awards. Ranks further released numerous #1s HITS after HITS such as, “Shine And Criss” and “Respect”. With his baritone, triumphant record-breaking dancehall-style, delighting loyal fans around the world. This enables the Dancehall Emperor to tour the continent of Africa in meeting President Nelson Mandela and performing in South Africa’s Johannesburg stadium in front of well over 100,000 screening fans. He was back in loverman mode for the single “Let’s Get It On’, which preceded 1995″s album A Mi Shabba.
The legendary Jamaican dancehall DJ Shabba Ranks has been instrumental in gaining prominence for reggae and reggae-influenced music. He led the craze of drum machine-driven, dancehall, reggae-styled rap in the 1980s and 1990s throughout Jamaica and the United States, and became the first reggae artist to win back to back Grammy Awards. Ranks became the creator of Reggaeton (Dem-Bow spanish reggae) and also pioneered the way for American rap. He has collaborated with rappers, R&B musicians, and other reggae artists, among them KRS-1, Queen Latifah, Eddie Murphy, and Maxi Priest. Shabba Ranks currently holds the #1 song on the charts in Jamaica titled “None a Dem Nuh Bad
Like Shabba Ranking”. This song took just two weeks after its debut to head up the charts and reached #1. Shabba Ranks is currently working on an album, under his self- owned production banner “Emperor Ranks Entertainment” and Publishing Company “Shamichshasha Inc”. Legendary, iconic, immortal Shabba Ranks still tours each year to sold out stadiums across Europe and the Caribbean. His most recent performance was at Kensington Oval, Barbados (the first ever dancehall event), December 3, 2011, with mesmerized turn out fans of over 30,000 people.