BY: JODEE BROWN
Just under 48 hours from now, Dancehall legend, Shabba Ranks will appear on a Jamaican stage show for the first time in 11 years and organizers of Reggae Sumfest look to ensure that his return will be memorable.
Shabba Ranks arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Monday, where he was ceremoniously greeted by family, friends several fans who’ve long-awaited his return to Jamaica. Additionally, the iconic deejay visited his native neighborhood of Olympic Gardens where he bonded with fans and has since toured Kingston, with pictures emerging in the last two of Shabba Ranksalongside vaunted Dancehall superstar,Aidonia as well as prominent Alliance diva,Ishawna.
Now, as Shabba prepares to perform on the first of two International nights at Reggae Sumfest on Friday night, the self-professed Emperorof Dancehall music will be recognized by organizers of the stage show for his long-standing contributions to Jamaican music when he takes the stage at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex in Montego Bay.
Shabba Ranks has etched his name within Dancehall folklore since emerging in the late 1980s and subsequently dominating the music scene in the early 1990s with classics like Bedroom Bully, Trailer Load and Ting a Ling. Shabba hails as one of six Jamaican artistes to earn at least two Best Reggae Album Grammy awards and the only local entertainer to boast successive victories at music’s most celebrated awards show, winning for As Raw As Ever in 1992 and X-tra Naked the following year.
Citing artistes like Josey Wales and Yellow Man as some of his inspirations, Shabba Ranks has become a legend for his hardcore lyrical delivery and somewhat eccentric stage antics while later creating his own label, Emperor Ranks Entertainment. Having spent most of the last decade in Miami, Shabba Ranks promises to delight fans who’ve been craving to see him for so long.
Tonight, music lovers will witness ample star power as Dancehall Night takes center stage. Artistes such as Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Lady Saw, Konshens, Tifa, Popcaan, I-Octane, Khago, Baby Tash and Montego Bay native, Tommy Lee will be some of the acts who will grace the Catherine Hall stage on Thursday night.