Stories on Shabba Ranks, Noise Pop, and the second Home Alive benefit compilation.
Reggae singer/rapper Shabba Ranks, the subject of a recent Sony/Legacy greatest-hits compilation, is recording a new album after a six-year self-imposed hiatus. Slated for early 2002, the as-yet-untitled set will be released through L.O.Y. Entertainment, whose principal, Horatio Hamilton, will also co-produce the project with Ranks.
"I haven't really been away," the Jamaica-based Ranks tells Billboard for the Dec. 8 issue. "It's just that I haven't been rolling on the international level. On the local level, I'm very much alive. I never stopped making music. I just went underground."
Describing the new album, Ranks notes, "It's going to be the same Shabba but with more maturity. Forget the imitators. It's time for the real originality. I also have a couple of local Jamaica acts that I'm getting ready to set down on the American side."
Regarding the recent hits collection, Ranks frankly states, "Greatest hits is for when you're in a wheelchair. I'm still here with the energy, intention, and motivation to do more." Ranks' last studio album was the 1995 Epic project "A Mi Shabba "
Indeed, setting the stage for his return, Ranks has been doing spot dates, including this summer's Sashi Experience 2001 in Jamaica, which also featured Sean "P. Diddy" Combs. The show, the culmination of an annual weeklong series of events benefiting Jamaica youth, is named after Hamilton's daughter.
-- Gail Mitchell, L.A.