‘Dancehall Emperor’, Shabba Ranks, Reigned Supreme in Miramar, Florida with Epic Concert Performance

The much anticipated Shabba Ranks concert in Miramar, Florida was all that and then some with the masses coming out in full-force to witness an epic performance from one of the greatest dancehall artists of all time.  The event, which took place at the City’s cultural center, got off to pulsating and rhythmic start with a pre-party segment that featured Papa Keith (of Miami’s 103.5 The Beat fm radio) alongside the legendary sound system selector—King Waggy T.  And with the Shabba concert being such a marquis event, there was an A-list of attendees and Miramar city officials in attendance, including:  Mayor Wayne Messam, Vice Mayor Alexandra P. Davis, Yvette Colbourne, Eddy Edwards (CEO of Jamaican Jerk Festival USA, Inc.), and Commissioner Joy Smith, City of Westpark.

A Dancehall Icon

Born under the name Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon, Shabba Ranks, is a Jamaican dancehall artist like none other.  In the late 1980s and early 1990s, ‘Big Bad Dutty Stinkin’ Shabba (as he often refers to himself) was one of the most popular Jamaican musicians in the world.  He was raised in the gritty inner-city West Kingston community of Seaview Gardens—which lies nearby the often violence torn region of Riverton City.  An audition platform in many ways, there was an area within Seaview called ‘Superstar Corner’, which was where many aspiring, up-and-coming, and even established artists honed their microphone skills for purposes of deejaying their lyrics in the dancehalls of Jamaica.  And in the wake Shabba’s interantional rise to fame, Superstar Corner’s popularity certainly rose to a new level.

Rooting from West Kingston

Not too far from the Seaview community is Waterhouse, which was home base to the iconic sound systems belonging to King Jammy and King Tubby.  Dancehall titans Buju Banton, Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, King Yellow Man, Vybz Kartel, Dexta Daps all came from West Kingston as well as many other top legends in Jamaican music—such as, Trechtown’s Bob Marley (King of Reggae) and Kool DJ Herc (Godfather of hip hop who moved to the Bronx, New York in 1973 and held a Jamaican styled sound system block party to kick-off the genre in earnest) and iconic deejay toaster, Daddy U-Roy of Jones Town (known as the Godfather of Dancehall and referred to as ‘the Originator’).  And even in the present day, the top reggae singers and dancehall deejays in Jamaica oftentimes are rooted somewhere in West Kingston.

Shabba making his entrance at the Miramar Cultural Center to ready up for his stage performance (Miramar, Florida)

Pre-Party Segment—With Shabba Making a Special Surprise Appearance 

Musically hosted by Papa Keith and King Waggy T, the Shabba concert pre-party was well attended and took place in the courtyard in front of the Miramar Cultural Center.  Miramar Vice Mayor, Alexandra P. Davis, dropped in to impart a welcoming message to all as well as to announce the raffle prize winners (that included tickets to the Shabba show).

Shabba Ranks Concert Pre-Party – (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks Concert Pre-Party patron –  (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks Concert Pre-Party – Vice Mayor, Alexandra P. Davis (Miramar Florida)
A raffle winner claiming his prize at the Shabba Ranks Concert Pre-Party with Vice Mayor, Alexandra P. Davis (Miramar Florida)

King Waggy T Brought “Di Vibes”

The atmosphere was certainly ‘full-a-vibes’, as King Waggy T served up tune after tune that had the masses swaying back and forth to classic songs from Sizzla, Buju Banton, Garnett Silk, Chronixx and, of course, Shabba Ranks, who sent everyone into a frenzy when he made a surprise appearance ahead of his performance later in the evening.

Shabba Ranks Concert Pre-Party – Papa Keith alongside King Waggy T (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks made a surprise appearance at his Concert’s Pre-Party (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks made a surprise appearance at his Concert’s Pre-Party (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks made a surprise appearance at his Concert’s Pre-Party (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks made a surprise appearance at his Concert’s Pre-Party (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks Concert Pre-Party – Veteran Dancehall Deejay Ninja Kid (Miramar Florida)

Concert Segment—Dancehall Emperor, Shabba Ranks Was Sensational

As part of the Shabba Ranks concert segment, Papa Keith handled the on stage MC duties while DJ Supa Switch took the helm on the wheels of steel and certainly kept the jam-packed auditorium lively with his delightful tune selections.

Shabba Ranks Concert Segment – Papa Keith (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks Concert Segment – DJ Supa Twitch (Miramar Florida)

Comedy Prelude

In the run-up to Shabba taking the stage, actor, comedian, and radio presenter, Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley as the opening act, had the audience in stiches and rolling in laughter with his Jamaican patois laced jokes and hilarious gestures.

Shabba Ranks Concert Segment – Comedian Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks Concert Segment – Comedian Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley (Miramar Florida)

History-Making Moment

After an introduction courtesy of Vice Mayor, Alexandra P. Davis, it was time to witness history in Miramar by way of the legendary ‘Dancehall Emperor’, Shabba Ranks, taking the stage while being backed by the ‘Ruff Kutt’ band.

Vice Mayor, Alexandra P. Davis introducing Shabba Ranks on stage (Miramar Florida)

As a top hit maker from the 1980s and early 1990s era and arguably Jamaica’s first international dancehall superstar, ‘Big Bad Dutty Stinkin’ Shabba showed his massive audience that he still has what it takes to deliver a scintillating stage show.  Shabba wasted no time in mesmerizing the crowd with his 90s anthems, such as—‘Gal Yuh Good’, ‘Mr. Loverman’, ‘Trailer Load A Girls’, ‘Caan Done’, ‘Wicked Inna Bed’, ‘Telephone Love’, ‘Twice My Age’, ‘None a Dem’, ‘and ‘Ting-A-Ling’.  What’s more, as a salute to Daddy U-Roy aka ‘the Originator’, Shabba Ranks also performed his song ‘Respect’, in which toasted his famous verse:  “Cool…Cool…U Roy done rule…U Roy is the Godfather of the deejay school.”

Shabba Ranks on stage (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks on stage (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks on stage (Miramar Florida)

At one point during his performance while deejaying his song ‘None a Dem’ (…nuh bad like Shabba Ranking), Shabba flicked down the mic and had it rolling on stage as he made his way to the exit with his entourage (that included his two sons in tow) as if to say he had nothing else left to prove.  But, of course, the crowd roared the Dancehall Emperor back on stage to continue his musical shelling down of the auditorium.

Shabba Ranks on stage (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks Concert Segment (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks on stage (Miramar Florida)

Selena Serrano Shares Stage With Mr. Lover Man

In performing his classic and timeless hits, ‘Telephone Love’ and ‘Twice My Age’, he was joined on stage by the multi-talented songstress, Selena Serrano, who did a fantastic job giving her rendition of the vocals originally performed by J.C. Lodge (on ‘Telephone Love’), and Krystal (on ‘Twice My Age’).

Shabba Ranks on stage (Miramar Florida)
Shabba Ranks on stage (Miramar Florida)

After all was said and done, it was indeed an exciting and memorable evening for all who attended this wonderful event hosted by the City of Miramar in South Florida.  In all music genres, there is typically a select few artists and performers who are a must see, and without a doubt Shabba Ranks is surely a must see artist where the dancehall music genre is concerned.

Photos – Nick Ford